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Community is the Key to Accessibility with Mark Nichols

Welcome to Episode 97 of the Think UDL podcast: Community is the Key to Accessibility with Mark Nichols. Mark Nichols is the Senior Director of Universal Design and Accessible Technologies at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. Mark’s team has had great success in implementing accessible learning materials campus-wide with the help of many offices and fellow advocates on campus. In today’s conversation, we will talk about how to create a culture of accessibility, how he has been able to improve and think systematically about accessible materials at his university, and the various tools, ideas, and programs Virginia Tech is employing to help students achieve their goals and succeed in their academic pursuits. Mark mentions Virginia Tech’s C. A. L. M.  campaign which stands for Choose Accessible Learning Materials in which his team introduces a new accessibility idea periodically on campus with the slogan, “Keep C. A. L. M. and use accessible slides…” (or PDFs or some other tool). He would be happy to share the templates they used if anyone would like to borrow this campaign or learn more. Just reach out to Mark via email which is linked on our resources page for this episode at


Find Mark Nichols on Twitter @TheTechFlash2, or via email at

If you are interested in the C. A. L. M. (Choose Accessible Learning Materials) campaign, please contact Mark!

Mark mentions these resources in this episode:

Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education (2018)

By Tom Tobin and Kristin Behling 


Radio Shack

Blackboard Ally

WCAG (Web COntent Accessibility Guidelines)

Read and Write


Orbit Note






students, accessibility, tools, accessible, Virginia Tech, faculty, learning, university, campaign, universal design, thinking, digital, helping, UDL, efforts, opportunity, create, support, captioning


Lillian Nave, Mark Nichols

Lillian Nave  00:02

Welcome to Think UDL, the Universal Design for Learning podcast where we hear from the people who are designing and implementing strategies with learner variability in mind. I’m your host, Lillian Nave. And I’m interested in not just what you’re teaching, learning, guiding and facilitating, but how you design and implement it and why it even matters. Welcome to Episode 97 of the think UDL Podcast: Community is the Key to Accessibility with Mark Nichols. Mark Nichols is the Senior Director of Universal Design and Accessible Technologies at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. Mark’s team has had great success in implementing Accessible Learning Materials campus wide with the help of many offices and fellow advocates on campus. In today’s conversation, we will talk about how to create a culture of accessibility, how he has been able to improve and think systematically about accessible materials at his university, and the various tools ideas and programs Virginia Tech is employing to help students achieve their goals and succeed in their academic pursuits. Mark mentions Virginia Tech’s C.A.L.M. campaign which stands for Choose Accessible Learning Materials in which his team introduces a new accessibility idea periodically on campus with the slogan keep C.A.L.M. and use accessible slides or PDFs or some other tool, he’d be happy to share the templates they used. If anyone would like to borrow this campaign or learn more, just reach out to mark via email, which is linked on our resources page for this episode at think I may have a slightly stuffy voice on this episode as I was finishing off losing my voice for a week. But mostly it sounds okay. So thanks so much for listening to this conversation. Thank you to our sponsor Texthelp, a global technology company helping people all over the world to understand and to be understood, it has led the way in creating innovative technology for the workplace, and education sectors, including K 12. right through to higher education for the last three decades. Thank you for listening to the think UDL podcast. So welcome, Mark, I am so happy to finally get to talk to you. We’ve worked together a bit on some UDL and higher ed stuff. So thank you for being on the podcast with me today.

Mark Nichols  02:52

Absolutely. I’m really excited to be here and converse with you about all things successful technologies and UDL. So thanks for the opportunity to come and join your podcast today.

Lillian Nave  03:03

Yes, I am always on the lookout for more accessibility features. And so when your name came up, I thought, Oh, yes, here we go. I’m excited. So I’ll start off with my usual first question, and that is Mark, what makes you a different kind of learner?

Mark Nichols  03:20

That’s a great question. I love that question. Um, you know, the first thing that I’d say half what comes to mind when you when you mentioned that question, is a quote that I have on my it’s a bulletin board actually, yes, I’m in technology. And I use bulletin boards. But on my bulletin board is a quote from Mahatma Gandhi. Live is live as if you were to die tomorrow and learn as if you were to live forever. So I’m a very passionate learner. I’m a lifelong learner. I love learning whether or not it’s new, new things in my professional career or whether or not it’s new things on a personal level. I’m always investigating learning, tinkering, trying things. It’s you know, so learning is a passion of mine. And I very much like to be have learning be hands on. That’s the type of learner that I am I really like to get engaged and use my hands and, and dive in that way. That’s where I feel like I have the biggest retention of those skills is when I’m able to apply them in the hands on environment and learn that way. I like to tinker on cars and painting and things outside of out of outside of work. So those are all very hands on sort of things that that capture my attention. But I would say you know, one of the things as I’m thinking about this question, when I think about what makes my learning unique and different, or maybe just unique is that I heavily rely on notes. I am an avid note taker, and I do this I wouldn’t say that I have a long term memory issue. But I Okay. I think I say I like to be able to leverage notetaking to be able to organize everything that happens within my life from a personal level and a professional level, you know, there’s so many one off conversations or, oh, yeah, things to follow up with. And if I don’t get that written down and structured and organized, then it falls off my radar. And so I leverage Evernote, you know, this is not an advertisement for Evernote. But yeah, since like, 2006, I think it has been an absolute lifesaver for me, and I do keep track, you know, like, when was the last time we had the technician out to repair our AC because our AC is not working, or, you know, I had a conversation at a conference with an individual about this, and I can’t remember their name, I go back to my notes, and I find that so I’m a very structured, maybe overly compulsive note taker. But, uh, me that’s how I’m able to organize and manage. Like I said, both my professional in my in my work and my personal lives. So. Yeah, that’s my that’s what am I unique and as a different learner?

Lillian Nave  06:27

Okay, well, I can already sense our resources are going to be pretty large for this episode, I know because we’re going to talk a lot about accessibility. So we’ll start with Evernote. And people can learn more about that, when they look at the resources for this episode. And I must say note taking as a as a professor, right, as a teacher in higher ed, there’s, I have seen in the last 25 years, how different it has been for my students. And of course, that’s really influenced me with universal design for learning, because I remember lecturing, like 25 years ago, yeah, oh, my gosh, that long ago, and like really long Art History lectures, when we thought that was the right thing to do. And, and then just having students, like, their fingers were just numb, you know, by the end of it. And that’s what I thought was like, Haha, this means they’re really good students. And then I had students who would doodle? And I was like, oh, no, this is, what am I even doing here. And then I’ve learned since then that some students need to doodle, they need to do that. And everybody needs something differently. And I found that I take notes all the time. I’m taking notes during our conversation. And I take notes, when I’m teaching, I take notes all the time. And then so many of those times, I ended up like finding them three weeks later, and I hadn’t used them, you know, right, or them. But it’s the actual, like, my head during that time taking the notes is the important part for me. Not that I’m going to use them later. So my whole idea about oh, these students have to be taking notes. Now. What if they never looked at them? Maybe they just needed to process it that at that time. So anyway, notes, I think can be used in a bunch of flexible ways. And we just have to figure out what works for each one of us.

Mark Nichols  08:19

Absolutely. Yep. Yeah, I would love my life would be lost if I didn’t have my my notes, and access to those notes across multiple devices. Yeah. And, you know, it’s like I said, it’s how I organize my life, and it’s how I think I can stay on top of things.

Lillian Nave  08:36

That’s good. That’s very good. Okay, so you’ve got a great role there at Virginia Tech. So I wanted to ask you, what is your role there? And how did you kind of get into doing this role at Virginia Tech?

Mark Nichols  08:51

Yeah, great question. So my official title here at Virginia Tech is Senior Director of universal design and accessible technologies. I’m really fortunate to be employed here at Virginia Tech, the culture and community around accessibility, especially in the digital space is a very positive one. I mean, just the fact that the University created this particular position says a lot right there. And I’ll talk a little bit more about my, my team that I work with, I have a phenomenal team. But I got to go back to one element of your question, How did I How did I get started in this field? So yeah, I grew up with a sibling who had a severe disabilities, and was a very important integral part of my life. Growing up as having a sibling with severe disabilities and coming up and helping support my family with adaptations to the environment for for my sister, and you know, back in the day when I’m going to date myself a little bit here, but when we actually had radio shacks, and they were so yeah, we had a small All RadioShack and you know, we we would get a switches and photo plugs and we would battery adapt toys, we create our own custom switches at home using plastic spatulas and ice boxes. And it was really kind of a, an introduction to me into the field of assistive technology before it was really even recognized as a field. I mean, occupational therapists and, and, and physical therapists and speech language pathologist had been doing this for a number of years, but at that time in the field of 80, wasn’t fully recognized yet. And so it was a really cool introduction for me to, to understand disability, understand assistive technologies, and that grew to me going to school and pursuing a degree in special education and psychology. And then immediately after that, obtaining my master’s in assistive technology, and, and, you know, sort of continuing to expand upon my passions as as a student and helping support individuals with severe disabilities with different types of assistive technologies. And it’s been it’s been a wonderful career path I out of, out of my master’s program, I, I worked for an at company for about a year, local at company in Northern Virginia. And I was sort of a jack of all trades, I was a salesman, I was a consultant, I was a home installer, I was a technical troubleshooter, which gave me a fantastic opportunity to, to see all sides of at provision and support and, and structure and then, and then my home school division where I grew up in Northern Virginia, I got a call and said, Hey, we’re trying to start a new assistive technology team in the county, are you interested in coming on board and, and, and submitting an application? I was like, Yeah, let’s that’s that’s a really exciting opportunity is to potentially start a new team. And so so that was in Loudoun County Public Schools. And I had an opportunity to work for Loudoun for 15 years, working with a phenomenal team of educators and occupational therapists, and speech language pathologists and, and we were responsible for all assistive technology services across the school division. And then in 2017, this opportunity at Virginia Tech opened up and you know, I’ve been very, very interested in life after k 12. You know, that whole transition process and higher education? And what does that look like? And are we building the collective community the shared responsibility for accessibility among the higher education community, so completely different ballpark than the K 12 space, but it’s been an awesome journey. And here I am five years later, still at Virginia Tech.

Lillian Nave  12:54

Wow, wow, that’s a fantastic origin story. It’s like a hero origin story. Exactly. I’ve seen so many, and when I talked to so many people, there’s such a personal element to it, like, you really have to know its importance. And and to kind of live it and understand how important universal design for learning is how important learning difference is, and learning disabilities, and disability in general. Because if I’ve just in my contact with a lot of higher ed, folks, it’s those folks who are really, really engaged and interested. And that’s others who need a lot more convincing of how important it is. And so, there’s, there’s just a great little group of us that, that sees its need and are spreading the word. So I really appreciate it. Yeah. And see how important it is to you. It is

Mark Nichols  13:56

yeah, it’s really, it’s a it’s a passion of mine, you know, this is a field where it’s constantly changing. It’s constantly evolving in the assistive and works and or accessible technology space. And so it’s exciting because it’s, it’s never static, it’s always dynamic. And there’s always opportunities for improvement or opportunities to try new things or, or, you know, just to continue to see the advancement in this field has has been phenomenal, just in my journey. And it’s been neat to see Yeah,

Lillian Nave  14:25

and it’s not just for some students, it’s it’s benefits. Every student across the board is what I see everywhere. And I remember this is years ago, talking to being in the car with my older brother, and he’s actually also in Northern Virginia, or Honda Central Virginia. And I remember being in the car with him, he’s a lawyer, okay. And he was just he just started talking to his phone, and then start saying, period, comma, dear this whatever and I was completely floored. I was like, what a century like, have I just gone into the future. So this is clearly I had young children at the time, I don’t even know if I had a cell phone or something like it was, it was a while back. And, and I thought, I can’t believe my brother, you know, my brother is doing this. And guess guess who uses that every day, me, I’m using it all day, every day, my children use it all day, every day, like all of this that may have been really helpful for maybe a small segment of the population is actually incredibly helpful for all of us all the time. That makes life just so much easier and accessible for me to multitask and do, you know, remind myself things, you know, that I never even thought was possible. But now I kind of need it every day, right? That’s how I survive. Yep.

Mark Nichols  15:55

I love that. In fact, I was just just yesterday, I was conversing with some folks in the class that I was teaching. And we were talking about the curb cut effect, and how the curb cut effect, you know, when you design for folks in the margins, that is that there is universal benefit to that type, that design thinking mentality. And we were all brainstorming about different examples of Curb cuts of curb cut effects. And one of the one lots of great examples that were shit that was shared, one of the ones that I had some people that their jaws just kind of dropped on when I mentioned it was that so with with a cell phone, you have vibration capabilities, right. And that was specifically designed for certain populations of individuals, where they were unable to either hear or see notifications, or new text messages or phone calls at the vibration as a way of alerting them. And so I had said, well, so an example of a curb cut effect is that I use this vibration pattern, custom vibration patterns on my phone that I set up so that when my phone is in my pocket, I get, I get a vibration pattern that’s tied to my wife that’s tied to my arm that’s tied to my daughter. And so I know exactly who’s trying to contact me when my phones in my pocket, and I don’t have to pull it out to see who it is, you know, sometimes you’re in meetings, like you don’t want to pull your phone out. And, and so you know, and we just went round robin have all these different, you know, best practices, you know, everything from, you know, door hand door handles, you know, as a very simplistic way that of looking at Universal Design, and that everybody benefits, you know, then we went into the classroom environment looks specifically at strategies with some of the tool sets that are available that we have here at Virginia Tech. And it was really neat just to kind of have this brainstorm with folks. And it was kind of, you could see, they had that aha moment like, oh, yeah, right. Like if I think this way and design to the margins, by making my materials accessible from the beginning, it takes more time and effort. Yes. But the return on that investment? Yeah, you get a huge Yes. And it was nice to see those light bulbs. It was like, yes. All right. We’re building more champions here.

Lillian Nave  18:08

Exactly. Yes. And we just we need to get that message out, you know, more podcasts, more conversations like this. So people can really see why it’s so important. And that work at the beginning, like that design work at the beginning. Yes, it takes some time. But my life, my teaching life is so much easier, because I have those things already in the design. So that when I have students who miss our synchronous zoom, that’s right, I already have everything recorded, and you’ve got a way to make it up if they had, you know, for and they don’t have to tell me the reason, you know, oh, I had a cup test or I, you know, I had to go to a funeral does, right doesn’t have to tell me, you know, we have all of these fail safes in the in the class for this flexibility. And I didn’t, you know, it kind of started with well, what if, and mostly it was like, you know, what if we’ve got students who can’t be in class because of COVID, COVID, testing or quarantine, and now I’m like, Well, does it have to be that? No, it doesn’t have to be that there’s plenty of other valid reasons. So let’s, yeah, so let’s have all these different ways that we can be flexible. I love that. antastic Yeah. Okay, so here’s a big, underhanded softball question that you can hit out of the park. I hope I love it. Yeah. And that’s, that’s about well, why Mark, do you have a job? Why do Universities need accessible technology? And I bet you have a bazillion reasons and I’ll just ask for maybe 47

Mark Nichols  19:41

Yeah, absolutely. No problem. Gosh, yeah. Where to start? Yeah. Access to accessibility is definitely a civil rights. And I think part of our success with Virginia Tech and scaling awareness and adoption of accessibility is the carrot approach versus the stick approach. And we’ve really focused in on that we are all consumers of digital content, and that we do not know some of the needs or preferences of our consumers of that digital content. So we need to make sure that what we’re designing or developing what we’re purchasing, what we’re creating hits the largest percentage of users that largest snapping of users, so that we can have those effective communications and that effective information transmission between party a and party B. And so that’s everything from websites to internal applications that are used to guide university business, whether our HR applications or yeah, we’re reporting and leave applications, um, you name it, all the way to things that are implemented inside of the classroom as well. accessible educational materials are a huge part of our day to day operations with my team and making sure that we’re providing the right tools necessary for faculty and staff across the university to design excessively, making sure that the training is provided in offering multiple modalities of that training that is sit and get training doesn’t work for everybody that some need to have one on one consultations or prefer to have asynchronous or synchronous learning opportunities asynchronous so that when it’s 2am, in the morning, and somebody wants to learn more, there is a way to do that. I’m not suggesting that folks wake up at 2am. And I’m watching accessibility training of ours. But again, not knowing, you know, given our current climate of flexible online learning that we need to model that and accessibility is an important part of not only modeling that, but providing guidance and awareness around how to create accessible learning environments. And so I think a big part of what universities need is they need to have a team or an individual even that’s devoted to that, you know, we when we started, I said, I’m very fortunate to work here. And I’m 100% believe that because many universities do not have an accessible technologies team, many universities, the responsibility for captioning, the responsibility for accessible materials, the responsibility for web content, lots of accessible web content, lots of times that falls on the ADA Coordinator, or falls on the Student Disabilities team, there’s not a team that like my team that looks at accessibility through the Universal Design lens, and trying to proactively build a culture of shared responsibility to the creation of accessible materials. And so, you know, I think every university should have my position and more to help with with those efforts. You know, in the state of Virginia, we have a couple of of peer institutions that do have some semi similar structures, not exactly similar to ours, but they do have folks that are responsible specifically for digital accessibility that are outside of the either faculty and staff or student disability services offices. Now, that’s not to say those offices can’t manage that. But gosh, I mean, we collaborate with those offices, frequently here at Virginia Tech. And I know how much work and effort goes into supporting accommodations and having meetings and consultations with individuals that need those accommodations. And that whole process, that interactive process takes a long time. And so while while that’s an N Ave and n a path for those that choose to self identify, my team looks at accessibility from the larger viewpoint of let’s get all those folks that are choosing not to self identify, or just have a different preferred learning, preference for consuming information. And let’s make sure that we’re building a community that is aware of this need and this and the benefits of this universally.

Lillian Nave  24:20

Yeah, you know, when you’re talking about that whole process, right for accommodations or, and Disability Services, which is different than a Disability Cultural Center, which I talked to somebody another episode about that. But that there’s you said a lot of time, there’s also a lot of money that has to go into getting pretty much a doctor’s note or an actual diagnosis. And then there’s proof that goes into making kind of all these gears start turning. And yes, there’s a good outcome, but there’s a really high bar that students have to get to, that faculty also have to kind of engage in this process of And it’s a really different approach that you and your team are doing. Which is to say, if we can do at least some things like making all of our PDFs accessible, meaning that a screen reader could read that anything that the professor wants to give to the students, we want to make sure that they know that there’s a way to make it accessible, that it’s pretty easy, and that they won’t have trouble meaning that a student won’t have to come to them or go to an office and then they get some back channel email that says we need you to fix this. Like you. Can you just sort of cut that off at the pass at the very beginning. And it’s this very proactive part tackling Yeah, right.

Mark Nichols  25:45

Yeah. Yeah, no, faculty member. I mean, we have, we have students that self identify, they get accommodation letters, and they present those letters to the faculty, the first week of school, the second week of school, sometimes the week of school and no faculty member wants to be in a situation where they feel like they’ve been caught off guard or that they aren’t prepared, right. And so we look at this from a standpoint is how can we guide you to be prepared, it’s the Boy Scout Motto. I’m a Scoutmaster here in Blacksburg. So, you know, that motto, be prepared. It’s like how can we build? How can we align efforts so that faculty are prepared, just as you said, so that when that student comes in and ask for accommodations or support, that faculty member can say, You know what, great news from day one, since you since you enrolled in my course, the first day you entered, we’ve done a, b, c, and d, I think we’ve got everything that you need, and you can be successful right out of the gate. I don’t have to go. Okay, well, now, let me think about how do I do that? Who do I need to contact to do that there’s a time delay. Right. Timely provision of accessible materials is a legal requirement for those students with disabilities. And so how can we proactively address that and, and, you know, that I would just add to that, what you said about having access, one of the one of the ways that we’ve looked at providing timely access to students here at Virginia Tech is leveraging the ally software program inside of our environment. And that was a tool that we had been piloting prior to the pandemic, the pandemic hits, and that really was a catalyst for more even more scaled awareness of accessibility needs, and adoption of tools. And we were able, we already had a critical needs request in the queue to scale ally across our entire LMS. And we were able to accomplish that, in the end, the rationale there is that any student, I won’t say any format, because it is limited to specific formats, but a large number of formats. immediately, as soon as that student gets access to that course, no need to self identify, no need to visit any other offices. And you know, we have a lot of students again, that’s a curb cut effect, because we we talk with a lot of students that are like, oh, yeah, I took that 12 page PDF, and I turned it into an mp3 file, and I listened to it on my phone while I was walking across campus, or while I was working out in the gym, you know, yes. Like, it’s, it’s that that level of support that flexibility, modeling UDL best practices to be able to convert into a format that you prefer to consume and engage with is extremely valuable.

Lillian Nave  28:29

Yeah, and it serves our students better. So like two things. If we go back to that scenario about a student who brings their accommodation letter, so that means they’ve already had to have a doctor, they’ve already had to pay for a diagnosis, they’ve already had to have documentation, they’ve already had to go to ODS, or whatever the Disability Services is, they’ve already had to do all this, then their very first encounter with a professor is, I’m that student, and honestly, it’s like, it’s not here, I am ready to learn here. I am excited to be, you know, to rock this whole class. It’s like, here’s some things I need you to know about me that are different. And you’re gonna have to, you know, do X, Y and Z. That’s not a great students don’t want to do that. That’s not their favorite thing. Right? Yeah. That’s, that’s not what they want to be doing. And so this is a way that’s going to, you know, having accessible materials. An accessible like educational environment, stops that from you know, from the get go and it does have, you know, maybe it doesn’t, it doesn’t have a an outcome that you can absolutely see. But when that happens, you’ve got an outcome that the student feels from the very beginning and that the professor feels like okay, here’s, this is how our relationship is starting. And it’s from this kind of bump in the road rather than let’s get go and then I’m really excited to learn and be in This process or, you know, any number of things, so,

Mark Nichols  30:03

absolutely, yeah, that first impression is very critical, right? You know, you can lose a student and their engagement levels, that first day of class, I mean, yeah, you’re setting the stage for the rest of the semester. And so by modeling some of those best practices with UDL, and and including the larger subset of students by creating a inclusive syllabi, and having access and flexibility in your course, access to different accessible technologies, tools that the university might make available, and in offering flexibility where you can in your course, I mean, that that is, that is essential to really set the stage for learning over the course of that, you know, that semester, or that, you know, that period. So,

Lillian Nave  30:50

right, and that you’ve said, inclusive. And I totally agree that this is really part of our diversity, equity, and inclusion principles, and in whatever university should be thinking about, if you don’t have accessibility in your dei initiatives, you don’t really have a dei initiative, because you’re totally shutting out a large segment of our students. And the more I learned about neurodiversity, and, and learning disabilities, and who is coming to college campuses, and who was taking online classes, you know, from their home, there’s just a huge amount of students that need accessible documents. And so we don’t want to exclude and there’s, it’s such a vital part. And that that extra letter in dei that I see now, more and more is be belonging. Yeah. And so if you’re on the first day of class, and you’re a professor that says, Hey, everybody, you can look over all materials, you’ll notice that you can find them, you know, in the PDF form that if, you know, if you want to listen to them, you can just press this button, and then you have all this. That’s when the student is like, Ah, I can make it here are this this looks Yeah, this is an another wall I have to climb over. It says, it’s ready. I can take this path. And they feel like they belong.

Mark Nichols  32:16

Absolutely. Yeah, I love that.

Lillian Nave  32:19

Okay, so one of the things you mentioned was about Accessibility Coordinators, and helping our instructors and our disability services and so many players in this. But what about instructors? So sometimes it falls to the instructor to think about how accessible in fact, every time it falls to the instructor, how can they make their course accessible? So are there pitfalls that you’ve probably seen in your line of work a lot more than I have? That are there and what instructors can do?

Mark Nichols  32:53

Yeah, you know, a lot of it boils down in my collaborations with faculty, a lot of it boils down to time, resources and training. Those are three areas. You know, sometimes we have faculty that are just like, just tell me what I need to do. Just tell me what any I’ll do it. And, and we’ve got other faculty that are a little bit more resistant, like I don’t have time, or I’m going to I’m going to ask my my graduate teaching assistant to do those responsibilities. We’ve really well. So one of the things that we’ve tried to do to address this is that under understanding the load that faculty have, and all the responsibilities that faculty have, that led us to looking at how we were connecting with faculty, and it just one example of that was in 2018, we started a program, a campaign at Virginia Tech called C.A.L.M. C.A.L.M. is an acronym for choose accessible learning materials. The whole idea behind this was that we’re going to we were going to create every year and we still we have to date every year a new campaign. It’s that sort of a bite size way, if you will, that faculty can make improvements in with accessible educational materials on a specific topic. And those topics are always back in aligned to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. So for instance, our first year our first two campaigns, we started with two, and then we decided know what we’re gonna go with one every year instead of two. But we did captioning. And we did contrast and we focused on the value of captioning for both live captioning and post production captioning and having transcripts and using an interactive transcript inside of our video management system. We were building awareness as to why captioning was beneficial. We connected faculty with tools and resources, and we had training structure set up and so we were able to scale awareness and we’re still continuing to use all these campaigns. These and pains don’t sunset after a year. We’ve just continued to add on. And it’s a way that you know, when faculty can say, I don’t know where to begin, well, we can say, let’s have a conversation, let’s figure out where some of the bare the consistent barriers are in your course. And you might not be ready to tackle PDF remediation yet, but if you’re not, well, let’s look at another area, maybe it’s alternative texts, one of our campaigns is keep C.A.L.M. and, and, and keep C.A.L.M. caption on, keep C.A.L.M. contrast, keep C.A.L.M and use meaningful links, keep C.A.L.M. and describe images, which is where the alt text comes into play. So using the describe images campaign, with the training, the guidance, the best practices, we could get faculty on board with taking one step forward toward accessibility, right, let’s let’s start with the alt text, then if you’re not ready to manage PDS, and so this, this, understanding that accessibility is a journey, yes, there is a legal requirement. If I come to a faculty member with all the legal requirements and say, here are the 15 things, let’s just say random number that need to be done in your class, they’re going to shut down, they’re not wanting to proactively understand why they need to do this, and take the time and effort in their schedule to do that. And I shouldn’t, I shouldn’t put everybody in that group. In my experience, most faculty are in that. But if you go to a faculty member and say, Okay, let’s figure out where the barriers are. Or if they say, you know, what my barriers are with, with with links, like I don’t use descriptive links. And I’d like to do that. Okay, well, here’s the campaign. Here’s the reason why you need to do it, the legal requirement for doing it. But let’s, let’s focus on how you can do that hear the tools and the resources and the training mechanisms that are in place to guide those efforts. And that’s been extremely powerful, I think, across campus that folks find a new campaign every year that they can connect with this year, our campaign is focused on accessible slides, we actually have a community of practice here at Virginia Tech called the accessibility network. And it’s made up of faculty, staff, and students that share a common passion for digital accessibility. It’s anybody can join, we meet quarterly. And that network said is approached my team, my team facilitates these meetings, and said, you know, what, we’re seeing a lot of presentations where it’s not accessible, super, a lot of tech loaded slides with texts, and slides loaded with text slides with terrible color contrast, slides where there’s no alt text on images that are being shared with students or shared with the greater educational community. So we then decided to Okay, so our focus this year is going to keep C.A.L.M. and simplify slides. And so we develop this campaign, great collaborative effort with some of our colleagues from across the university, we updated the master Virginia Tech PowerPoint template that used to include a whole bunch of additional layers of accessibility. It’s not perfect, but it’s a vast improvement from where we were previously. And it was an effort by multiple teams, not just my team, to be able to work toward this improvement. And so, you know, building that community and having that resource and that So these, these comm campaigns have been a great way for faculty to hop on board with accessibility, and, and become proficient in those areas that they feel confident exploring more, because some of the more is complicated, like, I don’t care how you cut it, when you talk about PDF accessibility is complicated, right? It’s not an easy thing for most folks. And so, you know, we actually have a newer tool that we deployed this fall to help support PDF remediation of image only PDFs and and, and so that’s a pilot that we have going on this this semester with a number of different faculty, but, you know, it’s about scaling and moving that accessibility gauge in the right direction. And so I think, by having a manageable way for faculty to connect with digital accessibility, it affords the opportunity to establish that community buy in that, yes, I can do this. It’s not an unmanageable task. It might be a little bit of a time commitment, but I see the benefit.

Lillian Nave  39:35

That’s great. Yeah. Oh boy, so much. You said there resonates with me about accessible slides. Let me say that that I love that you’re really emphasizing that because as many of my listeners know, and as I’ve learned, when we become professors, I Um, we rarely get any pedagogy like, nobody tells us how to teach, right? That’s changing. So now like younger and newer professors are getting, like, how do you teach? The other thing we don’t get is how to, you know, create slides how to, you know, make a how to be great speakers, right how to engage your audience. And so some of them are, you know, some people are just fantastic at it anyway, there’s a lot of people who are absolutely brilliant. But then they go out and talk about whatever engineering concepts and they put like an Ikea how to put a desk together picture with 47 screws all going in, you know, go through this nut and bolt and I’ll, and tell you what I can’t at all tell what’s going on. Right, right. They know, they know. Absolutely. It’s, they’re brilliant, it’s incredible. But that ability to then transfer that knowledge to students is it’s hard. It’s just it’s an art and a science. It’s really hard. And so even just knowing, you know, like, I, you were talking about links, accessible links. You know, there were so many of my slides that I would have, like the length of what we needed to go to maybe we’re looking at an artist or a museum. And it’s like, http://www.xp, ll whatever. We don’t don’t do that anymore. Yeah, yes, you’re going to the Museum of Modern Art, and then you just click on it, and you see it’s underlined, you can go there, but things I didn’t, at all, I just fumbled through, and you’re helping people to kind of recognize the problem before it becomes a problem actually, for their students. Right? Yeah.

Mark Nichols  41:43

Yeah, it’s, it’s really, um, I think my, my boss might have coined this term, but it’s in my, it’s in my vernacular, now. It’s about franchising, accessibility. It’s about taking that responsibility. And, you know, we often talk about, you know, in golf, you’ve got the Masters tournament, which is the end, you’ve got the green jacket that’s awarded, right. And so how do we get folks energized about digital accessibility, so they want to be they want to wear the digital accessibility green jacket, right? That they feel nice, confident, you know, they might not be on the same level as myself or some of my staff members, but they are making steady progress and moving forward, and they feel they understand the commitment, they understand the need, and it makes it manageable, rather than, you know, the approach. We’ve tried the approach where it’s like, okay, well, we’re going to come in, and we’re going to work with you, and we’ve got these, you know, 15 things that need to be adjusted. And then it’s like, okay, you can see them get deflated. When you’re when you when you talk about that. And using the ally tool, we have the ability to drill in and look at institutional reporting, we can see what file formats are, are used the prevalence of inaccessible file formats, and which colleges are, you know, have, where they fall on the scale of accessibility across all of our nine colleges, that Virginia Tech so we can do all of that, and we can proactively reach out to faculty, but we have to have this this shared commitment. And, and the column campaigns have been one way that we’ve at least been able to have that conversation and say, Yeah, you can do this, you know, this is some of it’s not easy, but we’re here to support you, and you’ve got the resources, the tools and the trainings that you need. In order to, to build capacity here. And, and they do it and they feel they feel a level of success. Like they feel empowered, like okay, I can do this. And that’s really, you know, that’s where I think the the successes is empowering faculty around digital accessibility and, and leveraging students. I know this is like slightly on a slight tangent here. But this just came to my mind, sorry, my mind is like a rabbit hole, multiple rabbit holes. Please feel free to pull me out of the rabbit hole if I’m

Lillian Nave  44:06

going, oh, let’s go. Let’s go.

Mark Nichols  44:09

But you know, I think this is an untapped area of most institutions is really harnessing really leveraging the collective student body to help build awareness and scale digital accessibility. And so we have only just scratched the surface here at Virginia Tech around this. One of the things that we’ve done is that we’ve got, we’ve got a partnership with a comm 4304, which is a capstone communications class, and this class that these are generally generally seniors there are some students, some juniors in this particular class, but the class is essentially the function of this class is to create a marketing campaign as a final project. So we said we connected with these professors and said, How about if we do marketing campaigns around access? ability a digital accessibility here on campus that this is an authentic learning opportunity because the students are learning why digital accessibility and how it’s important, their design helping to design campaigns, marketing campaigns. And that’s all part of their final project. And then they submit their final product. They give us the pitch of how they want the campaign to go through. We have multiple feedback sessions throughout the semester, where they connect with us and ask questions and propose different ideas. But I mean, wow, it’s been amazing to see some of the like, oh, wow, I wish I knew that like this software existed when I was a freshman or sophomore here, or, or I had no idea that, you know, that flyer that my student organization made had barriers for some students, I now see that. So we’re building a new culture of, of digital accessibility awareness among our students. But we’re also empowering our students to help us market and campaign related to digital accessibility. And so, you know, I think there’s a huge opportunity here that any institution could take advantage of, and connecting with students to help expand the adoption of digital accessibility best practices.

Lillian Nave  46:17

And there it is a universal design for learning. A principle is making authentic assessments, right? You got it. Real World? Yep. real world applications. Perfect.

Mark Nichols  46:29


Lillian Nave  46:30

Oh, that’s a great idea. I hope that, that some folks listening also can take that into consideration. I mean, it sounds like it’s just perfect. You’re helping the students to help you and to help more students. So what, what could be better?

Mark Nichols  46:46

Absolutely, yeah. And that could apply into so many different areas doesn’t have to be communication and marketing, you know, each engineering program here. And I’d love to, you know, engineering students have final projects to Well, I’d love to make sure that those engineering students that are, or maybe a computer science students that are designing applications, or designing applications, apps, and things that all aligned to what CAG best practices, so that when those students graduate, and they enter the workforce, they’re helping to build our society’s awareness of the importance of universal design. And thinking, the left hand side of the thinking process of proactive design and inclusive design instead of the right hand side of tacking it on at the end, once the product has already been developed. And, you know, then hits the accessibility review at the very end of the product cycle, which is the absolute wrong place where it should be right. So yeah, we’ve got tremendous possibilities here and, and to any of the listeners, I would I would love if you take this, this idea, and you build capacity in your areas, I would love to hear the results and learn more about what you’ve done with those students. So please, please reach out to both of us both literally. Yeah,

Lillian Nave  48:01

I’ll make sure that yeah, that your email and how to reach you is going to be on this episode, web web page with all like the wicked guidelines and all the things you’ve mentioned so far. But I know you’ve got more, because I also want to talk like institutionally, we talked about what individual professors need to be thinking about. But at Virginia Tech, you’ve got a lot that the university or or let’s say an entity in general, you know, a company or something can do to make courses and or resources more accessible, and you’ve got some great things that you’re using there.

Mark Nichols  48:33

Yeah, so we do have a part of our part of our role here is focused on the entire team, the foundation of our team focuses on universal design, Universal Design for Learning, everything that we do is through those lenses. And, and we recognize that we, as a university needed to look at a variety of different tools and technologies that could be deployed across the university to any student, faculty or staff member. And so, you know, I’ve mentioned ally as one of those tools. We have a captioning model set up. We’ve we’ve built upon a lot of the the efforts of our peer institutions, George Mason University was one that, you know, they had a fantastic captioning program set up and so we’ve, we they’re a frequent collaborator with us in helping to expand services, but we have a cat a centralized captioning model set up so that faculty and staff whether or not your teaching faculty, or not can utilize our service delivery model for post production, captioning of video content or live captioning services for events and things like that. And so we’ve got, we’ve got resources like that we’ve set up tools available to all students Like the Texthelp tool set is a fantastic tool set that we’ve been able to leverage with students and that includes read and write in equation to. And more recently, we’ve we’ve made orbit note available and orbit node is an interactive tool that allows students to engage and interact inside of a PDF. Read and Write is a text to speech tool, it’s a it’s a floating toolbar, it’s got a ton of different resources on it, but the premise behind it is providing text to speech of anything that’s on the screen. So websites or PowerPoint presentations, or Word docs, or etc, etc, PDFs, it reads that content aloud and equation shows an accessible math tool. And it helps with the creation of accessible math, using creating math using your voice using handwriting recognition using keyboard shortcuts. This, these tools in our toolbox have been very effective in students being able to feel a level of independence and support in their classroom environments by being able to leverage these tools in every year. You know, I struggle with this because it’s like every year we’ve got 5000 new students coming to the school. And I was just talking to someone about this yesterday. It’s like, Yeah, we haven’t, we need to go back and remarket these things again. Yeah, yeah. Why didn’t we just do that? And it’s like, oh, yeah, right, we’re, you know, we got a new subset of students coming in in January that we’re in. So we need to continue all we continuous with, with the marketing around these particular tools. We have we’ve utilized glean, glean is a cloud based note taking tool. This has been something that started as a tool that was primarily for students that chose to self identify with their disability services office. And again, great partnership between my team and that team, we said, You know what this tool has benefit beyond those that choose to self identify. And so my team has a subset of the licensing that we make available first come first serve to any student across campus. And then the disability service office has licensing that’s available to any student that chooses to self identify. So we’re, while we don’t have licensing for every single student here at Virginia Tech, we do have licensing, a substantial amount of licensing to meet some of these needs, outside of the outside of the scope of folks that choose to self identify. And so, you know, it’s it’s, it’s a, you’ve got to have these tools available to not only because some of these tools are used for students to engage with inaccessible content, you know, we still have a solid track in front of us to decrease our quantity of inaccessible content, especially legacy content content that’s been used for years, and there’s no, there’s no alternative formats available. That’s really hard. And so that’s where some of these tools come into play, where faculty don’t have the native files in order to to address the inaccessibility in those, they’re having to do that, like in a PDF remediation program, or they’re having to recreate the content, which takes time, we understand that, but in the meantime, we’ve got students that need to access these, these these formats. And so that’s where some of these tools come into play, and that they help students remove those barriers. But we also have tools in play, that help both students and faculty create excessively, on the new content that they’re creating. So you’ve got to kind of approach both of those angles.

Lillian Nave  53:34

Yeah, and, and I love that you, you’ve said that, you know, it’s kind of whatever student comes and asked for it, that flexibility and choice, again, UDL principles, because not every student is going to want it or need it. And so having all of these options, they might choose, you know, I, I try to avoid math after my first year in college, you know, but, um, and so I might not need the equation to write in the way that math major is, is going to be using it. And that was actually one of the first questions I got was in math about how to make their math like homework and things accessible early on, and I didn’t have an answer way back when in my, the beginning of my UDL, you know, career. And so having these new technologies, we have to let the students know, we also have to let the professors know. Because, yeah, there’s, I think there’s plenty of faculty that don’t realize ally there that’s there to like be an accessibility checker, or that, that the university actually has all of these, or has the option to or has accessibility to these accessible tools for them and for their students. And I found that one of the biggest things I could do for my students was to tell them that they have these free tools for them at you know, their tuition is paying for, you know, not only earning incredible library and the database is there. But also like all these things like the speech to text, or read and write or, you know, if they knew that was there, wow, that made their life so much easier. But it’s the marketing, right? It’s like, how do we get let them know,

Mark Nichols  55:18

it cotton constant marketing? Yes. And that’s where we, we’ve, we had, we had a student campaign of specifically on read and write, and they came up with the idea of developing like yard signs, you know, like you have for sale signs or open house signs, yard signs was specific strategies on them that were that were targeted to students. And we were going to put them across our drillfield, which is the common area in our university, the center of our university. And, and so they it was great, I love the the the text that they came up for each of the slide for each of the signs, we had all signs printed, we put them up on the drill field. And wouldn’t you know, like, three days later, we had a massive windstorm. And it all of them got blown away. There was like one side left of the 20 that we had printed and set up and it was, you know, who would have thought we would have had a major windstorm, right that, that pulled them away. But the concept was great. I love that out of the box thinking, you know, from the students, and thinking that okay, well, we walk across this so many times a day, why not have one of those paths with signs every you know, 10 to 12 feet on either side. And of course that came with, Okay, well, you just can’t drop a sign on the drill field, like you got to go through the approval process. So they learned about, Okay, I gotta go talk with this group where I’ve got an email this group, I’ve got to fill out this form. And so it was, you know, it took some of that some of the, the back end support off of myself and my team, because the student team was doing that, you know, it was great to have them a part of it. So they were sort of an extension of the accessible technologies team. And, and it’s great that, you know, we can, we can, like I said, there’s such an untapped potential, I think, with our students and helping to build that community and awareness. And so I’m really excited to see, you know, the next campaign ideas that in fact, in three weeks, and we’re meeting with students, and their pitching, they’ve been working this whole fall on both orbit note, and prep is our new PDF remediation tool that, that we’ve brought to the university. And so they’re developing the campaigns for us on both of those tools. And, and they’re thinking about how they can connect with local businesses, and, and having QR codes on some of the flyers to some of these tools, and, you know, at the local pizza joint in places like great, great, right, it’s, it’s, it’s, you know, young creative minds, that are seeing that they’re developing something that we’re gonna take, and we’re gonna run with at the university, and they’re gonna go, Yeah, I helped with that campaign. I, you know, it’s, it’s what it’s a neat, neat opportunity to see the fruits of their labor.

Lillian Nave  58:11

Yeah, just, just knowing that it’s available is a huge barrier. And I must say that for years, I talked about read and write, and that’s, which is really fantastic tool, I use it, you can like highlight things, and it’ll pull it over to a different document, if you want to rearrange things, and you can click on, you know, a paragraph it can read to you. And so all this great stuff, I had no clue until very recently that that was, you know, produced by Texthelp. And, and like, where it came from, I it was just an add on. I was like, really, I’ve had that on my computer for three years. And I never knew, yeah, so it’s just that kind of making those connections. I’m hoping our listeners will will hear you know, how important that is, if we can make those connections for our students. If our administration can make those connections for our faculty, then we’re connecting these dots that really allows our students to succeed, because they’re getting the help that they need are getting the flexibility and the choice that they need.

Mark Nichols  59:17

Right. And the next phase, you know, it helps them become they’re a strong advocate for themselves so that when they enter the workforce, that they know, the tools that they need to be successful, and they can be an advocate for that. And that’s, that’s been an exciting part of my journey is that throughout my career so far, is that you know, I saw the K 12 aspect and the K 12 aspect, you know, that’s it’s very heavily driven by the IEP team, the Individualized Education Program team. It’s the student is involved in that but there are no IEPs in college and so once that is 18 and hits the college ground you Know, it’s their responsibility to make sure that they have the tools that they need. So if we can build their awareness and connect them with these tools, and they can be successful with these tools, then we’re increasing their chance of being successful in the workplace when they when they leave the Virginia Tech campus and move on to the next phase of their professional careers. And so I think that’s an important element that, you know, by by students becoming their own self advocates for the tools they need, you know, we’re helping to advance that.

Lillian Nave  1:00:39

Absolutely, I’m, and that I appreciate your connection to the workforce too, because that’s also where my heart is, as well as how, what are we doing for our students to have them ready, and, and really be superstars when they get into the job world. And, yeah, this is a way that they can kind of bring that knowledge and technology into transform companies, they’re really bringing some skills that are really needed and really important. And like a university that’s been around for a long time. Some companies who’ve been around a long time, they kind of have a same way of doing things. And they could really benefit from, you know, this new technology and our students now who are pretty quick to learn and apply and find new and creative ways to apply that technology. Yeah. And I must say, a brief story, because when I my very first job out of after graduate school, I was able to teach as an adjunct, I was like 24, and teaching at a state university up in New York, but it was at night, it was that long, long, six, like three hours, on a Tuesday night, I’m teaching our history, the lights go down, it was awful, awful. And I would, you know, make sure they’re all writing their notes, right. Like I said, at the very beginning of our conversation, I had to write all the notes. Well, during the day, I was a secretary at the hospital. And it was in an office where they recruited physicians, so I would just, I would pretty much sit at an office desk. And, and I alphabetize the files or like, I’d like put all the files in order, because they had this archaic way of making sure that every new prospective visiting doctor who wanted to, you know, get a job had to meet with this person, that person, this person, that person, you had to call this person, that person. And it was just like a real archaic way of doing it. And so I kind of organized, just, I just thought it was natural. I just organized it. And wouldn’t you know, the Chief of Surgery comes down and says, This is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to this office. And I’m like, I think I just alphabetize the files, like, it was totally nothing for me to do, right. But it made this huge difference. Like, I don’t know, I had no clue how like world changing my alphabetizing. I don’t know exactly what it did. The files was, but it’s 25 years later, I still remember that feeling like that I brought in something. I was a Kelly girl. I don’t know if people know what that is. But that’s a temporary worker. Like I just signed up with a temporary service to be a secretary because I needed to make money. One of my four or five jobs coming out of graduate school. Sure. Yeah. But that was like this huge thing, this small skill that I brought in, that I thought was kind of nothing ended up being transformative for whatever the thing we were doing. And this is the kind of thing that our students now who are graduating, and we’re coming into a company and can bring this like knowledge and accessibility that we need to have. That hasn’t actually been like, kind of put in place in all the places we need it. So anyway, that’s wonderful. Bravo. Oh my gosh. Story. Yeah. Never could figure out why it was so amazing. But So my last question is about advice. What advice you have then for faculty for administrators who do want to improve accessibility on any level individually, or corporately or somewhere in between?

Mark Nichols  1:04:13

Sure, sure. Um, you know, I think I have my compliance hat and I have my reality hat when working with faculty and so this might not be a shared perception, but my my rule of thumb is aim for progress, not for perfection. Okay, and to, you know, to continuously move forward with digital accessibility. I know, Thomas Tobin and Kyrsten veiling, have the book, teach everyone reach everyone, and I love the whole plus one mentality, which is find that one thing and do it and execute it and take data on it and evaluate it. And then move on to the next thing. And I think that’s a, that’s a scalable way of improving digital accessibility, yes, my accessibility, how to put that on, I want everything to be accessible right out of the gate, everybody should do what they need to do to make content accessible. But the reality of that is just not feasible, given the workloads, given the tools that are available. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s a challenge. And so let’s let’s unpack that challenge and make it into manageable chunks for improving digital accessibility. You know, again, I would say, again, we all share that, that we all have a shared responsibility, I should say, for supporting transformation and digital accessibility. And so in order to do that, some folks are going to be able to devote a massive amount of time and energy into creating things accessible, and that’s great, I certainly am not going to not going to persuade folks from doing that. But we’re going to have folks that it’s a bit of a challenge for them whether or not because it’s a comfort level or whether or not it’s because of a time level or whether or not it’s because they don’t have access to training and support to accomplish that. And so, figure out, you know, where are the barriers in your university and and involve the community, find your champions, there are people out there that are passionate and want to do the right thing and want to create accessible content, find those champions, bring them together, listen to their needs, you know, unite them, learn with them, grow that community, to help be an advocate for the right tools, the right training, maybe even the right positions that are necessary to scale that that level of commitment, and align that to strategic efforts are already in place at the university. We’ve done that, within our IT transformation plan, we’ve done that with other strategic efforts across the university in excess of that digital accessibility has been baked into those elements. So there is that widespread awareness, communication, understanding and transparency, that, you know, accessibility is digital accessibility. Specifically, I keep saying refer to digital accessibility, we have other great efforts related to accept physical accessibility going on, but my team will, manages digital accessibility, but it’s about that transparency, that, you know, efforts are underway that the university values and commits to this and that it is everybody’s responsibility to help to help improve this environment. And so yeah, I mean, it’s some, like I said, some universities that don’t have an accessible technologies team, they have one person might maybe that this is an other duties as a sign, well, you know, we’re, we’re there with you fine, start start with one thing, you know, maybe it’s built building that that network, you know, find 234 other people, maybe somebody from the library or somebody from a STEM field or somebody in anybody in the university, pull them together and start building that community because I think that’s the value of, of some of the success that we’ve been able to achieve here at Tech has not been because we’ve had an accessible technologies team, it’s that the community has come together, and they’ve they’ve they’ve had a voice and the university has listened to that voice and they’ve executed new projects, funding availability, personnel based on that voice and that’s been that’s been very powerful and people see that and I’m like, okay, yeah, we said we needed this we couldn’t do this. And this was the response and we now have it we have this tool we have this resource or you know, we have we have a new five oh wait a newer 508 digit five await compliance and Digital Accessibility Officer, there we go, I can spit out the right title there. And you know, this position was was the same way it was recognized as a need, looking at helping to analyze tools that were being created in house and acquired and being able to have conversations with somebody and the university for procurement and this position has been a phenomenal role in helping to continue our journey in the right direction with with accessibility and all that stemmed from those voices in the community. And sharing the needs and and and so yeah, so I think the community is is the key that’s my Abby my takeaway if there’s one thing you walk away from this podcast on, it’s you’ve got to develop the community whether or not it’s in your work specifically in your role as as whatever your title is at a at an institution. It doesn’t matter you can still connect racked with others pull that group together. Even if it’s very small strategic planning at the 10 foot level, that’s great. You don’t have to hit that the 10,000 foot level right out of the game. Start at 10 feet and build your way up.

Lillian Nave  1:10:13

That’s fantastic. Yeah, I think that that might have just got the title of our podcasts for this episode. Exactly. Community is the key to accessibility at least here. Yeah. That’s fantastic. I mean, you’ve given me so many wonderful resources that I will make sure we’ve got it all for our for the Resources page on our episode. Web page. Yeah. And thank you so much. Thank you so much for your time, your enthusiasm, the what you’ve done already at Virginia Tech, and just kind of explaining how it’s gone. So well. And kind of the the ways that it’s gone well for for you. So I hope we can replicate it many times over. So thanks, Mark.

Mark Nichols  1:10:55

Absolutely, yeah, it’s been an absolute pleasure here. And, and I’ll just, I’ll just end with, you know, we’ve been successful from so many different community members that have contributed to this success. You know, this has not just been my team, this has been a campus wide effort. And thanks to all the champions that are involved with our group to help scale this. And so, you know, this, I think this is a model that can be replicated. And I will just end with if anybody has questions or wants to talk further about this. Let’s connect, you know, look me up on Twitter, or look me up, send me an email, or I give my phone number, but honestly, for many spams that I don’t answer my phone anymore. So email and Twitter are probably the best ways to connect with me. But I’d love to continue the conversation both with you, Lillian, and any of your listeners that want to just brainstorm some ideas. You know, we’re all That’s what love about education, right? So many of us, yeah, education background, you know, we want to share, you know, we want to, we want to share these resources. And so, we want to brainstorm together. And so I welcome opportunities like this. So thank you for having me on to give that opportunity to share and hopefully connect with some new new listeners and new opportunities.

Lillian Nave  1:12:12

Well, for sure, I’ll make sure that your Twitter and your email or on the episode, page and thank you very much, it’s been really amazing to listen to what you’ve been doing. So thanks a lot, Mark. You bet. You can follow the think UDL podcast on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to find out when new episodes will be released. And also see transcripts and additional materials at the think website. Thank you again to our sponsor, Texthelp Texthelp is focused on helping all people learn, understand and communicate through the use of digital education and accessibility tools. Texthelp and its people are working towards a world where difference, disability or language are no longer barriers to learning and succeeding, with over 50 million users worldwide. The Texthelp suite of products include Read and Write equates to an orbit note, which work alongside existing platforms such as Microsoft Office and G Suite, enabling them to be integrated quickly into any classroom or workspace with ease. Texthelp has changed the lives of millions worldwide, and strives to impact the literacy and understanding of 1 billion people by 2030. Additional support for the podcast is made possible by Appalachian State University where if you call it Appalachian, I’ll throw in Appalachia. The music on the podcast was performed by the Odyssey quartet comprised of Rex Shepherd, David Pate, Bill Folwell and Jose Cochez has an I am your host, Lillian Nave. Thank you for joining us on The think UDL podcast

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