Panel to tackle pandemic-related problems with accessibility, technology | Texas A&M University-San Antonio


Panel to tackle pandemic-related problems with accessibility, technology | Texas A&M University-San Antonio

The Office of Disability Support Services is giving students the opportunity to be heard through a virtual event 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 9 on Zoom.

The panel discussion, “Accessibility and Equity Experiences During a Global Pandemic,” will consist of three students and two faculty members discussing possible improvements to accommodate students at Texas A&M University-San Antonio.

The event will consist of three parts. Sarah Ramseur, the director of DSS, will open the discussion by explaining what DSS is along with accessibility and equity issues in relation to technology for the students.

Afterward, the discussion will be focused on the students’ individual experiences with accessibility using the resources provided by the university.

“I will be asking the students about the challenges they face during the pandemic,” Ramseur said. “Also how the transition to the online learning environment affected them and impacted their access to the learning environment.”

Lastly, faculty members on the panel will speak about some of the obstacles they may have experienced with accessibility through technology.

Ramseur said the event is both for the students and the faculty; she believes that for the university to grow, everyone needs to look at new obstacles sparked by the pandemic and discuss it proactively.

“The pandemic has brought awareness to many more people about what the virtual environment entails for individuals who might have any access barriers or issues.” Ramseur said. “I think the discussions need to be broader than disability services, I think it affects more people than that.”

History senior Amanda Castillas-Gallegos is one of the three students who will be on the panel. Castillas-Gallegos said she feels as though she has an important role to shed some light on the difficulties older students may be having with technology during this pandemic.

“We are getting a lot of students that are in their 40s and 50s that never got a chance,” Castillas said. “I am an older student and I can kind of relate to other individual students that are older,”

Castillas-Gallegos said there should always be some form of instruction to explain how to use resources that are technology based compared to just expecting the student to know how to transition completely from in person to virtual.

“I want for Texas A&M to understand that there are some students out there that are having a difficult time to go on the computer and figure things out,” Castillas-Gallegos said.

Her fellow student panelists are psychology senior Gilbert Luevano and information technology senior Brandon Godinez. The faculty panelists are Dr. K.C. Kalmbach, Associate Professor of Psychology and Licensed Clinical Psychologist; and Dr. William Bush, Professor of History and Chair of the Department of Communication, History, and Philosophy

To attend the panel discussion, visit JagSync. For more information, contact DSS at 210-784-1335 or email them at dss@tamusa.edu.


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