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Posted: 5/26/22

TAMIU Gets Top Ten Ranking in Global ‘Fix Your Content Day’ Competition

 

Dr. Patricia Abrego
Dr. Patricia Abrego, TAMIU director of Academic Technology  

If things are broken, you fix them…but once a year, the world has a hand in that fix.  On May 19, “Fix Your Content Day,” Colleges and Universities around the world entered into a global competition focused on making digital course content more inclusive for students.

This year, Texas A&M International University’s (TAMIU) Instructional Technology Team won 10th place out of 173 worldwide participants that collectively generated 110,248 fixes. TAMIU was the highest-ranked Texas institution in the competition, and repeated as the highest-ranked Texas A&M University System campus participating.  Last year, the team placed 16th worldwide

Now in its third year, the worldwide 24-hour challenge is hosted by Blackboard, Inc. on Global Accessibility Awareness Day. It provides an opportunity for TAMIU faculty and staff to demonstrate the University’s mission to improve access and equity for all students, said Dr. Pat Abrego, TAMIU’s director of Academic Technology.

“Making sure that the digital classroom and course content meets students’ personal needs is a critical element in our continued commitment to building an inclusive community,” said Dr. Abrego, “ ‘Fix Your Content Day’  is a great opportunity for us to demonstrate the importance of creating accessible learning environments.  Although the competition is over, the work to maintain accessibility is constant, and ongoing.  We truly appreciate the support, and partnership of our TAMIU faculty and staff.”

TAMIU team members utilized Blackboard Ally, a digital accessibility solution, to assess course files and fix those with accessibility issues.   The team fixed 4,102 errors that impacted 6,100 users.

Enhancing accessibility provides solutions that can ease access for differently abled users.  For example, a “fix” could include adding a description to an image so a screen reader can describe it for a visually impaired user. 

Team members uploaded fixed files to the Ally Instructor Feedback panel to improve the content’s accessibility score. TAMIU’s focus on digital course content accessibility took on increased importance after the COVID-19 Pandemic prompted a quick transition to learning online, Abrego noted. 

“As we transitioned to an online learning environment, we identified areas that could benefit from accessible alternatives.  While we’ve returned to a vibrant, on-campus learning environment, exercises like Fix Your Content Day provide a competitive barometer for us to ensure that accessible learning at TAMIU remains our gold standard,” she explained.

Lorissa M. Cortez, TAMIU’s director of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, noted that Fix Your Content Day participation helps TAMIU stress the University’s Equal Opportunity and Diversity commitment.

“The University is committed to ensuring our campus is accessible to all members of all communities. This commitment spans all facets of TAMIU’s campus culture, operations, programs, resources and services. 

“This commitment is integrated in all areas, including information technology, and we work diligently to provide a 100% accessible digital environment to include University websites, web applications, and online content. TAMIU’s participation in ‘Fix Your Content Day’ offers a fun and practical way to embrace and celebrate that commitment,” Cortez observed. 

Lydia Harkey, TAMIU's program manager for Electronic and Information Resources (EIR) Accessibility, said the University's involvement in the global competition is exemplary and is being emulated by other A&M System members.

" ‘Fix Your Content Day’  helps move the accessibility needle in the right direction. It is a mindset to encourage everyone to provide accessible content all year long. This important initiative meets one of our accessibility goals: to provide accessible content for our students. TAMIU set a great example to encourage all System members to participate in the challenge. With their encouragement, two other System members joined TAMIU in the ‘Fix Your Content Day’ challenge. These System members worked hard to improve student access to accessible content -- not just in one day but every day," Harkey said. 

Blackboard Inc. launched Fix Your Content Day in 2020 to spotlight the need for accessible digital content. Blackboard, now part of Anthology, is a leading EdTech company serving higher education, K-12, business and government clients around the world. 

In that first year of the competition, TAMIU earned Silver Club status by completing 1,753 fixes in the competition. More than 400 institutions participated in the 2020 competition, improving 57,252 files during Fix Your Content Day.

To see this year’s Fix Your Content Leaderboard, visit:  Fix Your Content Day’.

For additional information on TAMIU’s Instructional Technology commitment, contact Dr. Abrego at 956.326.2302, email pabrego@tamiu.edu or visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 259.

To learn more about TAMIU’s commitment to Equal Opportunity and Diversity, visit its dedicated website at tamiu.edu/diversity, contact Cortez at 956.326.2857, email lorissam.cortez@tamiu.edu, or come by offices in the Killam Library, room 159.