High Tech Center Training Unit

Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes

Friday, December 12, 1997



Myra Lerch, Darren Luvaas, Carolyn Fiori, Janice Emerzian, Laurie Vasquez, Ray Lovell, Sherry Goldsmith, Susan Tillman, Albert Salgado, Carl Brown


Carol Toppel, Steve Sellitti, Sherrean Carr

10:00 AM Meeting Opened


Members of the new HTCTU Advisory Committee introduced themselves and the regions they represent. They are as follows:


Region 1: Myra Lerch
Region 2: Darren Luvaas
Region 3: Carolyn Fiori
Region 4: Carol Toppel (absent)
Region 5: Janice Emerzian
Region 6: Laurie Vasquez
Region 7: Ray Lovell (interim)
Region 8: Sherry Goldsmith
Region 9: Susan Tillman

Purpose of the Advisory Committee:

Each Advisory Committee member is the representative for the High Tech Centers in their regions. The HTCTU tries to use the AC to move in a direction that suites the needs of the field. Advisory members should share information from these meetings with their regions and bring back any questions/concerns from the regions they represent. The AC may suggest additions or deletions to the services the HTCTU provides or make policy suggestions to the Chancellor’s Office concerning assistive technology. The HTCTU has set up a listserve to facilitate communication among AC members. Carl can also set up a listserve by region.

The HTCTU would like to reinitiate its participation in regional meetings. Carl has been in contact with Latitude Communications about doing quarterly town hall meetings. Once a quarter, the HTCTU would hold an audio conference for any HTC people that want to join. This conference would include a one-hour presentation with a question/answer session. Subject matter may be focused to concentrate on specific interests/needs. Participants who are deaf will need an interpreter. Latitude digitally records the interactions and puts them on-line where participants can play them back with real audio. This is an additional possible way of doing regional meetings and it is still in progress.

Laurie and Carl will co-chair the AC. The chairperson is responsible for getting the agenda together, keeping the meeting on track, and parliamentary procedures. Laurie and Carl will email a draft of agenda items for the next meeting to AC members. AC members have two weeks prior to the next meeting to give feedback on additions and deletions to that agenda.


Proposed Changes to HTCTU Operations:

  1. Phase out Macintosh Trainings

Carl would like to propose that the HTCTU phase out formal Macintosh trainings. Hardware/software and access tools are produced primarily for the Win 95 environment. The quality of assistive technology produced for Windows and Macintosh are worlds apart. The HTCTU will continue to support the Macintosh and the access tools that people have in the field, but will no longer offer Macintosh trainings. AC members should take this proposal back to their regions, share it with their constituents, and let the HTCTU know how people feel about the proposed change.

  1. Continue with Win 95

The HTCTU is proposing to support Win 95 as the platform of choice for assistive technology. A great majority of college campuses have been transitioning to Win 95 and it has been very successful.

  1. Proceed to Windows NT

Many campuses are going to Win NT primarily for security issues. The HTCTU is committed to students with disabilities being participants in any computer resource on campus. Therefore, the HTCTU has reason to become involved with the implementation of Win NT and how accessible it’s going to be. It is possible, in a Win NT environment, and on a campus that has fairly sophisticated networking, to set up an account for a student with a disability in such a way that no matter where they are, the appropriate array of access technologies are immediately available to them. DSP&S people will need to be involved in deciding what networking environment their campuses are going to use because it’s going to affect student access. The upcoming CAPED conference will focus on this subject. The HTCTU would like to know how many colleges are seriously considering implementing Win NT or have already done so.

  1. What Percent of Trainings Should be Field Based for 98/99

It has become apparent from a variety of sources that it would be much more advantageous to the field if the HTCTU did a lot more regional trainings. These trainings would need to be "free standing," such as JAWS, ACT Win 95, ABI/LD, Presentation Tools, and Math Tools. The HTCTU could not do any of the Internet or network-based trainings, or any trainings that require scanners. We would like one location in northern California and about three different locations in southern California that we could use regularly. The HTCTU could not use the technology available in existing labs for remote trainings because we have to have absolute control over the software on the computers in order to do a training that works and that is consistent and well-integrated. Besides, there is tremendous variability in the technology being used in the HTC labs.

Carolyn suggested that the HTCTU offer advanced trainings (a level up from basic core trainings) to the regions along with adding on the responsibility of the person hosting the training, to spend half a day or so on curriculum development.

Carl would like the AC to explore the percentage of trainings that should be field based. He will put together a one page survey to be sent out to all of the colleges to see what kinds of on-site regional trainings they would be interested in, if they have the resources to host them, and what training configuration they would like (one-day, two-day, or three-day). Carl will send a draft to AC members before disseminating to the field. This survey will be sent along with a cover letter, stating the names of the HTCTU Advisory Committee members. Carl will also draft a letter to DSP&S people to see if anyone knows who the HTCTU could contract with for training support. This letter will be sent under Albert’s cover.

Proposed Advisory Activities 97/98:

  1. Development of DL Access Recommendations

California Virtual University and Western Governor’s University are examples of the movement to formalize and institutionalize and expand distance learning (largely web based). Essentially what we’re doing is spinning off a virtual community college environment. There is little conversation about assistive technology and access to these virtual environments. This is an opportunity for us to take everything we’ve learned about what makes community colleges work for a diverse array of students and build access into the design of virtual classrooms from the onset. In order to do that, we need to start the process of developing training for faculty and staff and to start thinking about drafting some language or starting the process of policy development through the consultancy groups at the Chancellor’s Office (these include the statewide Academic Senate, Faculty Association, etc.) It’s relatively easy to make distance learning accessible if it’s done from the beginning.

The issue of universal access is not just about students with disabilities. It’s about making web sites more accessible to people with slow modems, people that don’t have graphics capability, and people that don’t want to download all the plug-ins.

There is language in title 2 of the ADA which clearly spells out the obligations of the college with regards to access in their labs/classrooms. So, by extension, the same obligations would likely apply to virtual classrooms as well. However, this is something that’s happening so rapidly and so broadly that time is of the essence as we raise the issue of access and distance learning. At the very least we need conceptual buy off from the consultancy groups that this is in fact important and critical and needs to be considered.

Carl will draft an informational letter that the AC might want to send to the consultancy groups to look at. He will write a FAQ sheet for the AC to work with locally, describing the process and simplicity of implementing access into distance learning. The AC should ask their regions what thought they’ve given to, or are they aware of creating web sites that are universally accessible. Just get a sense of where they’re at right now.

Myra suggested a video conference that can be attended by all colleges and administrators, with Sarah Hawthorne who could present a legal background, Larry Toy (he is in charge of the virtual university project at the Chancellor’s Office) who could talk about the concept of the virtual university, a technology person, and maybe a slide presentation by Carl to show how simple it is to fold the idea of universal access into the process.

  1. Development of Student Outcomes Study Process

The Chancellor's Office wants an outcome study for the community college High Tech Centers. This is in line with a general legislative in DSP&S program outcomes.. They want to know that the money going into these programs is being well spent. At the simplest possible level, the legislature is going to look at the mission of the community college: Transfer and course completion and certification. However, there are dozens of mitigating variables that would impact how a student with a disability did on any community college campus. Therefore, it’s going to be very challenging to isolate exclusive HTC outcomes. Given the complexities of doing a HTC student outcomes study that is meaningful, a research model needs to be very carefully thought through. Carl suggested bringing in a very good educational researcher to help the AC think about designing an evaluative model. He suggested an educational research consultant named Dr. Rose Sera who has had extensive experience developing outcomes studies for the TENAT program in Texas. She will be invited the to the next AC meeting to help the group begin thinking about a research model. Ultimately what would be developed would be a set of proposals for doing this research that we could submit to the Chancellor’s Office for consideration.

On another note, the HTCTU will begin producing a quarterly newsletter. This letter will be sent to all DSP&S directors and High Tech Center staff via "snail mail."


2:30 PM Meeting Adjourned