High Tech Center Training Unit Advisory Committee Meeting

High Tech Center Training Unit – De Anza Community College

Friday, June 6, 2003





Carl Brown                  HTCTU, De Anza                    HTCTU Director          present


Myra Lerch                  Butte College                            Region 1                       present

Thad Selmants              Sierra College                           Region 2                       teleconference

Carolyn Fiori                College of San Mateo               Region 3                       present

Judy Lariviere               Skyline College             Region 3                       present

Kathleen Allen  Chabot College                        Region 4                       present

Laura Ingram                Merced College                        Region 5                       absent

Laurie Vasquez Santa Barbara City College       Region 6                       present

Lyn Clemons                El Camino College                    Region 7                       present

Mike Bistany                Irvine Valley College                 Region 8                       resigned

Brian Brautigam            Victor Valley College                Region 9                       present

Carl Fielden                  Grossmont College                   Region 10                     present




Peggy Tate                   Chancellor’s Office                                                       present

Bob Martinengo           ATPC                                                                          present



New Business


Carolyn Fiori, Region 3 representative and current Chairperson of the HTCTU Advisory Committee from College of San Mateo, announced her replacement, Judy Lariviere of Skyline College starting fall, 2003. Nominations for the new chairperson as well as a list of duties and responsibilities of the chairperson will be posted electronically during summer.



Staff Reports


Distributed Scanning Network (DSN)

The DSN has 16 locations up and running that are strategically located throughout northern and southern California. There are more than 1000 titles listed in the database and growing. A replacement 5080C scanner was purchased by the High Tech Center Training Unit for shipment to any of the 16 locations should equipment failure occur.




Site Issues

There has been a drop in enrollment for trainings in the HTCTU. Factors include travel restrictions from colleges affected by budget constraints and job instability.

Summer training schedules have been posted. Training requests seem to be returning to normal levels. Almost half of all available trainings were filled 2 days after announcement of Summer trainings was made online. If low enrollment continues to persist during the summer and into the fall, contingency plans are already in place to offer more of the types of trainings which can be presented at an offsite locations. Trainings that involve extensive hands-on will still have to be done at the High Tech Center.


Laurie Vasquez discussed an online training manual for JAWS and ZoomText produced by a company in New Jersey and geared for trainers and faculty.  Carl Brown commented that he was aware of the manuals but was concerned by their expense and frequent changes in the software for which they provide training. Laurie forwarded  the sample files from the company to Sean for further HTCTU review.


Carl Brown announced that Career Development and Employment Program  and Assistive Technology Training Center would be leaving the Hoeffler Building where the HTCTU is currently housed  and returning to campus.  For the time being, the HTCTU will be the only occupant of the building. Carl also shared with the committee that Martha Kanter, current De Anza President, has accepted the position of Chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District starting July 1, 2003.


Logo/Web Design

Committee member's were introduced to the new HTCTU logo and web site design.  Members received T-shirts with the new logo and web site address (www.htctu.net). Committee members also received samples of new letterhead and business cards.

In order to introduce the new logo and web site address to HTCTU participants,

marketing materials such as CD holders, caps, mugs and T-shirts with the new logo and web site address have been produced and will be made  available to people attending trainings at the HTCTU. The new HTCTU homepage website design was introduced to the committee and will soon be online. .


Laurie Vasquez reported on the Distance Education Advisory Committee (DETAC), updating advisory committee members CVC regional centers status which includes ongoing CVC funding (waiting for state budget allotment) and examining the  realignment of core services, such as  trainings in online instruction and hosting course management systems.


Alternate Media

Over 35 video titles have already been captioned through the Folsom Prison Project. Colleges are taking advantage of this resource by submitting videos for closed captioning. Gaeir Dietrich encouraged campuses to send in videos, complete the necessary paperwork and provide for the cost of shipping and video tapes.


The HTCTU BrailleNote Loan Program has a total of 15 BrailleNotes, 3 of which have *GPS.  The systems are presently with students and have received excellent reviews. GPS BrailleNotes feature navigation of points of interest based on global satellite positioning. GPS system will be loaned to applicants based on their specific needs and experience with the regular BrailleNote. Gaeir stressed that an orientation and mobility specialist’s support is extremely helpful and highly recommended when considering the request for loan of a GPS system.


Beta Testing. How does the HTCTU choose what software and hardware to Beta Test and what not to Beta Test?


Carl Brown explained that the program makes these decisions based on professional judgment, generally looking at hardware and software which seems to have the greatest potential for improving the academic performance of students with disabilities. Gaeir Dietrich and Sam Ogami are currently exploring many aspects of the Daisy book standard, the national file format and Audio Book Creation. Advance Duxbury training will be offered during fall, 2003.


Web Accessibility

Sean Keegan discussed two web accessibility evaluation tools: LIFT for the Dreamweaver platform and InFocus.  These products are intended for use by Webmasters and are currently offered through the HTCTU training series. The HTCTU provided scholarships so that 100 California community college faculty and staff could attend an extensive, Web based training offered by WebAim in the production of accessible web-based resources. Training CDs are available for pre-order. Flash training CDs will be available sometime July which will present a model set of guidelines to be use for training college level faculty using MacroMedia Flash to deliver content.


An organization based in Austin, Texas called Knowbility which produces an accessibility internet rally was also reported by Sean to the committee. This organization partners with web developers from major corporations or companies with nonprofit organizations for the purpose of producing public value web sites.  Participants receive two days of training on the production of accessible web sites.  Participants then have three weeks in which to work with their nonprofit partners to understand their needs.  In a single 24-hour period, participants construct their web sites.  The results are then judged for design and accessibility. De Anza plans to host the next year’s competition sometime during the summer.


Window-Eyes training will also be offered through the HTCTU.  A Window-Eyes video will be shot this summer with Doug Geoffrey and added to the "Tools of the Trade" library collection as the eighth video in the series.  Unlike previous videos, Window-Eyes will be released in captioned DVD rather than VHS format. The Web Accessibility 101 series continues with the latest CD featuring an Introduction to Accessible PDF, MagPie 2.0 Version1 as well as an overview of A-Prompt, a free web accessibility evaluation tool.  These discs will be distributed at no cost to all California community colleges in the late fall.


Assistive Technology

Sam Ogami, HTCTU assistive technology trainer, demonstrated for the committee new products and technologies previewed and introduced during the last CSUN conference. Among them were ZoomText version 8 and Kurzweil 7 which is still under review and will undergo tests for workability and accessibility. HTCTU is using the network version of Kurzweil 7 which works fine with Windows XP.


During the summer, Windows XP will be installed in the training lab and on all computers in the HTCTU offices. This transition will include extensive testing of software applications to make certain Windows XP is fully compatible with assistive technologies.


Sam discussed the National File Format.  Based on his experience with MP3 trainings, he feels that the Daisy application will be a convenient text navigation tool. Sam presented several examples of the application.


Sam presented hardware examples of both the Flextalk and Victor Reader.  Sam demonstrated some of the functionality of this hardware including the ability of the Flextalk to record meeting, class or lecture to Daisy format, breaking it down into sections by adding chapter breaks or page numbers then saving it to CD format. This new technology is available at Flextalk for $995 compared to the Victor Reader that costs $495. A CSUN CD was given to the committee, which contained the 3 free readers, the TPB, a free downloadable Daisy reader which unfortunately doesn’t read RFB&D books, the E-clipse Reader and the Victor Reader. Prices for these readers range from $50 to $100. Sam also demonstrated to the group how the TPB player works.



ATPC Status


The ATPC completed their Program Review in May, 2003. The Chancellor’s Office has received the first draft which will be modified based on input from Ventura community college and Chancellor's office recommendations. This will then be sent to Ventura college which will be given a period of time for response. Another modified draft will then be created based on the college input. The final draft will be sent to the college President. The same process that was applied to the High Tech Center Training Unit will be used with the ATPC Program Review.


Bob Martinengo discussed with the committee beta testing the ATPC has been conducting with Acrobat 6. More features have been added according to Bob, for example a simplified read aloud button feature. He also gave a brief summary and views on his trip to New York last May 13 for the Association of American Publishers Conference.

Learning Disability Research Study

As follow-up to a research study proposed during the last meeting of the advisory committee, Carl Brown identified for the committee the membership of the Learning Disability Research Team that will consist of Marcia Krull, Susan Matranga, Ellen Cutler, Pauline Waathiq, Rose Asera as the principal researcher and Carl Brown. Based on several initial discussions, studies and evaluations, the research team selected social science courses as the subject area that will be used for the research. Subjects will be students with difficulties in reading fluency since the study is about reading technology. The research group has identified four criteria that will be used to select students for participation in the study. Participating colleges were selected from an overall statewide sample based on enrollment size and population density from small size/low density to large size/very high density. Initially, 12 colleges were identified from this group as potential candidates. Ultimately, six colleges were selected based on their size, location, ability and willingness to participate.  All data and reports from these colleges will be kept anonymous.  We are hoping to collect approximately 300 transcripts from students who meet the selection criteria.  These transcripts will provide baseline data for determining student performance in social science based courses prior to the "treatment" of the research study.


Each of the colleges will receive a free campuswide site license for the assistive reading technology used in the study (PDFaloud) as well as the opportunity to install the software on the personal computers of students.  The High Tech Center Training Unit has contracted with Stacey Kayden to develop curriculum materials for the study.  Learning disability specialists from each of the six colleges will attend a one-day training on the use of these materials.  Every student who participates in the study will receive the same training in the use of PDFaloud.  Learning disability specialist trainings will be conducted in mid-July.


All identified students will be invited to participate in the study.  Any student who can benefit from access to PDFaloud software will also have the opportunity to install it on their personal computer although they will not be participating directly in the study.  During the Fall semester, students will learn to use the software.  During the spring semester, 2004 students will continue using the software.  At the end of spring, 2004, transcripts from participating students will be again collected and sent to the High Tech Center Training Unit for evaluation.  The research project will evaluate any differences in GPA and persistence between students taking social science courses before and after the research intervention.


If the research study shows measurable improvement in academic performance based on widespread availability of a reading technology, we would hope to use this information as a mechanism through which, in cooperation with the California community college Chancellor's office, to craft a budget change proposal soliciting more funding for large-scale implementation of reading technologies on California community college campuses.


 Evaluating Software for Campus Use

Laurie Vasquez shared with the committee an email she sent to a project director at the University of Buffalo who is working with the Oracle Student Information System. She wanted to learn more about their experiences, feedback and suggestions regarding use of an online registration system by students who were blind or who had mobility impairments.  The University Project Director indicated that they are using Access 101 as a training mechanism for the use of screen reading systems or are simply reading the screen content to the students.


Laurie raised the question of how far a campus should go in testing a third party product for 508 accessibility requirements when the vendor through procurement, should provide a VPAT and sign a legal contract with the campus stating they will make every effort to make the product accessible.  Discussion took place re: different scenarios where problems can arise for the campus and the vendor if the campus is taking responsibility for something a vendor should provide that is a state mandate.


Myra Lerch asked for the committee’s input re: an Evaluation Station Checklist she and Dan Keys developed at Butte college specific to a vendor called Datatel .  Discussion continued re: who checks vendor products and the double-message sent when DSPS checks a vendor product the campus has contracted with.  Does a DSPS check mean it is O.K?  Who is actually programming the product and can make the changes for accessibility?  Is it written in the contract that when issues are found that such changes will be part of the procurement contract, by when?


Carl Brown briefly discussed the possibility of using third-party providers to evaluate complex software applications for the California community college system.  He stressed that maintaining an "arm's-length" relationship with these companies provides a higher degree of credibility when reviewing programs such as student registration systems, student record-keeping systems and the like.  The committee discussed possible solutions.

Handouts Provided

Advisory Minutes, March 7, 2003

New HTCTU Web Page Sample

Learning Disability Research Study Materials

            Web Accessibility Evaluation and Support

            LD College List

            Enrollment Size and Population Density Survey

Evaluation Station Checklist

HTCTU Summer Training Schedule

Next Meetings: October 3, 2003 Friday

                          February 6, 2004 Friday