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The CCC Information Security & IT Accessibility Workshops were held July 24-25, 2017.The California Community Colleges (CCC) Technology Center would like to thank everyone who participated in the summer CCC Information Security and IT Accessibility Workshops, which were held July 24-25, 2017.

More than 180 staff and faculty attended the workshops, comprising the largest group to date for the bi-annual gathering. The summer event was hosted by Mt. San Antonio College, which has generously provided meeting facilities for several past IT workshops organized by the Technology Center.

"It was a pleasure to continue our relationship with Mt. San Antonio College as the host college for the Summer Information Security and IT Accessibility workshops,” said Sean Keegan, Director of the CCC Accessibility Center, who co-organized the workshops with Jeff Holden, Chief Information Security Officer of the CCC Information Security Center. “The Mt. SAC staff were welcoming and always willing to assist with any presenter or participant need."

Feedback Provides Insight

A post-workshops survey provided valuable feedback to the organizers as they plan upcoming events. About 30 percent of attendees completed the survey, which was sent by email earlier this month.

"Feedback from participants is an important aspect to these workshops as it provides us with a better understanding as to subject areas colleges want more information about or the resources they are seeking,” Keegan said.

Of attendees who responded to the survey, 66.7 percent attended the information security workshop, while 54.8 percent attended the accessibility workshop. IT administrators made up the majority of survey respondents, at nearly 63 percent. Approximately 20 percent identified themselves as being in web development, web design or web content roles, while 9.3 percent identified as faculty training and support, 5.6 percent as IT accessibility specialists, and less than 2 percent as disability services.

Information Security Workshop

A strong majority of information security workshop attendees indicated that the topics were on target for their work. Vishal Amin’s keynote exploring “the human side of information security” seemed to resonate most with attendees, with 73 percent saying they strongly agreed and 20 percent agreed that the information was relevant to their professional roles.

Amin is a decorated U.S. Marine Corps fighter pilot and business security expert who spoke about digital identity security, drawing on his personal story of how his identity was compromised.

When asked what they would like to hear more about at future workshops, survey respondents suggested topics such as incident response planning, institutional security auditing, hybrid cloud, and forensic data collection, among others.

IT Accessibility Workshop

Accessibility workshop attendees also found the topics to be mostly relevant to their work, with the strongest positive responses – more than 81 percent strongly agreed – around understanding Section 504 and 508 accessibility standards and evaluating websites for accessibility. Sessions that had more role-specific information – such as including accessibility as part of procurement and PDF document remediation – received a wider mix of responses, though more than half of respondents strongly agreed the content of these presentations was relevant to them.

"While there is no question that community colleges are supportive of diversity and access, understanding the intersection between accessibility and accommodations for students can be challenging,” Keegan said. “Through these presentations, such as the Section 504 vs. Section 508 session, we hope that college participants recognize their role in supporting access broadly throughout the campus environment for students with disabilities."

Some of the suggested topics for future IT accessibility workshops included a deeper dive into website accessibility evaluations, organizing an accessibility response team, raising awareness among stakeholders, navigating politics, and a closer look at Canvas accessibility.

Overall Positive Experience

While attendees of both workshops indicated the presentation content and materials were relevant, organized and helpful, as many as 20 percent said they would like more opportunities during the workshop to collaborate with and learn from their peers. Others said they would have liked more table space and power hookups for their electronic devices.

The accessibility workshop has been held in conjunction with the information security workshop since 2016 in order to help college IT professionals better understand the intersection of accessibility and information technology. More than half of survey respondents said they prefer that the workshops are held together, while just under 40 percent were neutral, and a total of about 9 percent either disagreed or strongly disagreed.

The next Information Security and IT Accessibility Workshops will be held in January 2018 in Northern California. Keep an eye out this fall for a “save the date” announcement.

Crista Souza is the TechEDge News Editor