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Introducing myself to EOWG

From: Langston, Christopher <christopher.langston@pearson.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2016 17:06:45 -0400
Message-ID: <CABokoQ8Yb-ShufN_oTR8CEV_=n-Zj-LOk4ghasRQDVVww5eoYA@mail.gmail.com>
To: w3c-wai-eo@w3.org
Good afternoon EOWG members!

Thank you for allowing me to join the Education and Outreach Working Group
as a representative from Pearson. Brent and I work in different areas of
the company, but we have a great deal of overlap in terms of priorities and
responsibility for our teams. I look forward to bringing an insight into
the platform and design side of our digital products, and applying that
perspective to education for W3C.

I currently serve as a User Experience Researcher for Accessibility under
Lee McNeill, Director of User Experience Research at Pearson. Our team is
positioned within the Learning & Experience Design group which brings
together visual, interaction, and learning designers from within Pearson to
develop our next generation digital service platforms. As a dedicated
accessibility researcher, it is my responsibility to ensure that our
designers are informed about the needs and opinions of students with
disabilities. I provide answers when they have specific assistive
technology questions, conduct user studies that are inclusive of users with
disabilities, and ensure that design is considering multiple means of
interaction for all of our next gen products.

I began working in accessibility about a decade ago in the Center for
Assistive Technology & Environmental Access at Georgia Tech. Over the
course of my time there, I advanced a research track career working on
federal and state grants at the intersection of education and
accessibility. My research focus was predominantly on reducing barriers
during the transition from secondary to post-secondary education. Our
projects were largely digital, and provided resources for students,
instructors, and administrators on low cost accommodations and learning
strategies that could improve student success. The Georgia STEM
Accessibility Alliance “BreakThru” virtual mentoring program was our
flagship achievement, along with the SciTrain and SciTrainU programs for
NSF and the Department of Education. Credit also goes to my wonderful PIs
and Co-PIs on those programs: Drs. Noel Gregg and Nathan Moon, and Robert
Todd from the University System of Georgia.

Georgia Tech also provided me the opportunity to develop and teach a
graduate level course on accessibility and usability for the industrial
design program in the College of Design. To my knowledge, it remains the
only design course at the university which emphasizes accessibility equally
with usability. My absence from Tech this year has prevented me from
teaching it again, but I’m working with colleagues at AMAC now who are
interested in returning it to the academic calendar. With any luck, I’ll
have a chance to visit a classroom again.

As BreakThru wound down in 2015, an opportunity to leap to the private
sector with Pearson came available. I saw this as a chance to apply my
skills in accessibility in digital media on a much larger stage, and so far
the experience has been very rewarding. I think everyone reading this would
agree that accessible online education has come a long way in the last few
years. However, as an industry there is much more to be done. I’ve
undertaken several internal initiatives to raise awareness and skill level
for accessibility among our own designers, and we’re looking to scale that
program up through a dedicated training series later this fall. I welcome
any questions or recommendations from the group about that effort.

I am deeply appreciate of the opportunity to connect with other
accessibility professionals in the EOWG. Though growing, accessibility is
still a small professional community. I am positive I’ll be learning from
each person in the group, and I look forward to a successful collaboration!

Chris Langston
UX Researcher, Accessibility
Pearson Higher Ed
Received on Thursday, 25 August 2016 21:08:20 UTC

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