Author: Sharon Kerr (page 2 of 2)

Sharon Kerr CEO GAP – USA & Canada webinar

In March this year Sharon Kerr, CEO of Global Access Project presented at the world’s largest assistive technology conference – CSUN in San Diego USA. The response to her presentation was such that she has been asked to present again – this time via webinar to universities and colleges across both Canada and the United States of America. Continue reading

Harvard, M.I.T. – Who will be next?

Two of the world’s top universities, Harvard and M.I.T. are both looking down the barrel of federal lawsuits, for failing to provide captions and transcripts of online learning material.  The New York Times reported on February 12, 2015 that:

“Advocates for the deaf on Thursday filed federal lawsuits against Harvard and M.I.T., saying both universities violated antidiscrimination laws by failing to provide closed captioning in their online lectures, courses, podcasts and other educational materials.”

Globally, disability staff and community organisations have hesitated to press the compliance button and instead focussed on human rights, the value of social inclusion and diversity for the entire student cohort.

Now however, in the United States at least, it would appear that the gloves are off in the fight for accessible education for people with a disability.

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Excuse me, is your university access-friendly?

This is the question that all students need to ask before choosing where to study.

Uncertain students standing with question mark cards

A university that is access-friendly:

WILL have all learning materials developed and delivered in such a way that you can access them using your mobile device and personal applications. Many students choose to listen to their readings while exercising or working. By having all learning materials accessible, you will have the choice to use text to speech and other apps.

WILL have Continue reading

Thank you Stella

The Global Access Project team would like to take this opportunity to recognise Stella Young for the person she was, the changes she made and the leadership she gave.

Stella changed our world by challenging attitudes and introducing humour where others could just not laugh.

This TEDX presentation of Stella’s provides an insight into the person she was , her dynamic personality and her passion for life.

What is the Cost of a Free Product?

by Tim Connell –
First published by the Braille Monitor November 4,  2014
Image of Tim Connell in casual blue shirt facing the camera

Tim Connell

Introduction by the Editor of Braille Monitor: A longstanding debate has flourished among blind people about the technology we use. One objection is its cost and, closely related to that, its difference from what people who are not blind are purchasing and using. All of us are looking for bargains, and it is never easy to ignore a sentence in which the word “free” figures prominently. Also attractive is using the same technology that sighted people use, because it is usually less expensive, readily available, and easier to replace if it fails.

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Griffith University – A shining light for access and equity

Sharon Kerr talks to Cathy Easte, one of the outstanding disability service officers in the Griffith University Disabilities Service Team

In a recent article for the L. H Martin Institute I highlighted the achievements of Samantha Alexander, a young Darug woman who graduated from Griffith University with a Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at a grade point average of 6.5/7. Samantha started to lose her sight at 21 and if it were not for outstanding support, guidance and training in the use of assistive technologies that she received from Cathy Easte and the university’s Disabilities Service, her dreams and hopes for an education and career would have been diminished.

Why was it that Griffith University was able to support Samantha on her pathway to success and achievement, while other universities appeared unable to offer similar backing?

In many ways, Cathy Easte’s own story supplies a large part of the answer. During our talk it became clear that Cathy had walked the path of being both a student and an employee with a disability. With a severe hearing loss, Cathy was in the first group of deaf people in Australia who graduated as teachers in the 1980s. Her aim to be a teacher, however, was thwarted by regulations and administrators of the day in Queensland who were not open to having deaf people be teachers of the deaf.

In short, Cathy’s sense of understanding and commitment to serving students has grown out of her personal, lived experience. She knows what it is like to have others act as the gatekeepers to life opportunities, their focus only on a disability, and closing their eyes to ability, potential and the human right to participate fully in society. Continue reading

Are the doors of your uni open or shut?

By Sharon Kerr  and Kylie Colvin

First Published on the L H Martin Institute Insights Blog (based at the University of Melbourne) on the 1st September 2014

Samantha Alexander wearing her graduation gown and Darug colours

Recently Samantha Alexander made international headlines. Stories in Australian and British media told how the young Darug woman started to lose her sight at 21, and battled through disadvantage to excel academically, graduating with a Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice from Griffith University with a GPA of 6.5/7.

We, like others, were inspired by Samantha’s story, and after an interview with her came away even more impressed by her wisdom, tenacity and intellect. For what the headlines and inspirational articles did not reveal was how Samantha had been denied the opportunity to succeed at another Australian university, which failed to provide her with accessible versions of her learning materials.

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