[Athen] Sensis Access

Sean Keegan skeegan at ccctechcenter.org
Wed Apr 3 17:41:37 PDT 2019

I did something similar to Carly's example when we rolled out the Sensus
Access tool at my previous campus...although I like Carly's page a bit more

In terms of educating students, it was something I demonstrated to them
when we met for an assistive technology and/or alternate media assessment.
We noted that it was intended for "quick services" but it may or may not be
fully accurate as much of the OCR accuracy was dependent on the submitted
file. We also had a website and short overview of the tool.

We positioned it initially as a tool for students to obtain converted
documents or audio files as not all students had powerful machines that
could run the latest AT software or handle OCR applications seamlessly. So,
we wanted to provide a solution in which it did not matter if a student had
a lower end system, they could still get quality OCR for a document or
offload any text-to-audio conversions. A number of students would also
upgrade their computers as soon as a new OS version came out and that could
break some AT solutions. The Sensus Access tool was nice because it offered
a platform-independent solution to getting materials in an alternate

There was also a side-benefit for faculty in that the system could convert
old PDF documents faculty had into MS Word or text-based PDFs. Yes, there
may need to be a bit of clean-up, but it made it MUCH easier to do that
clean-up than to try and recreate the whole document again. Also, we could
also focus on providing guidance on how to creating accessible MS Word
documents and then refer people to the Sensus Access tool to convert that
document into many different formats (ePub, tagged PDF, audio, DAISY, etc.).

One of the parts that I really tried to communicate to all users was that
it was a "garbage in-garbage out" model in that if you uploaded something
that was a very poor scan or of highly complex layout, then the system
would likely not deliver you the results you wanted (particularly if you
tried to go from scanned image directly to MP3). This was an important
aspect to communicate to upper management as it was NEVER intended to
replace the alt format production program, but rather augment and support
students who needed something "right now." Students live a 24x7 life when
at an institution, but alt media programs are not always open that many

One thing that I felt was very cool about the tool is that we could get
metrics on how the system was being used (not sure if that is still
available). But it really helped me understand what formats students tended
to use more than others.

Hope this helps.

Take care,

On Wed, Apr 3, 2019 at 10:41 AM Melanie P. Thornton <mthornt at uark.edu>

> I agree with Carly. (Nice page describing the limitations, BTW, Carly.)


> I just wrote a piece for our Explore Access Update on the limits of

> automation in achieving accessibility. It includes a section on

> documentation conversion.


> http://exploreaccess.org/updates/explore-access-update-february-2019/


> All the best,


> Melanie


> ------------------------------



> coordinator of access and equity outreach

> Initiatives on Access and Justice

> Partners for Inclusive Communities

> University of Arkansas


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> Partners for Inclusive Communities <https://uofapartners.uark.edu/>

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> On April 3, 2019 at 10:23:36 AM, Carly Gerard (gerardc at wwu.edu) wrote:


> Hi Leyna and ATHEN,


> Western Washington University also uses Sensus Access. A student can do

> the conversion themselves if they want, or faculty/staff could do the

> conversion on request. It could also be used for accommodation I suppose,

> but I imagine disability/accessibility service offices have alt format

> tools that can do the job better. Sensus Access is an automated conversion

> tool, so from what I've seen, the conversion isn't always 100%

> better/accessible.


> We have a Sensus Access page

> <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__access.wwu.edu_sensus_&d=DwMF-g&c=7ypwAowFJ8v-mw8AB-SdSueVQgSDL4HiiSaLK01W8HA&r=4xs5XdFl4BYq5E_PfT2ZCA&m=GcNRlXteLgzsZTFR21ya-gaJjwrE6ILsL8JIWPcVfTw&s=AihCbnBm_oOXvycXE9n6RQCIX0_tQjGyEHS3r_jnYiw&e=>

> that describes what it does and includes an introductory video to the tool.


> Best,


> Carly



> Carly Gerard| Web Accessibility Developer, WebTech

> P: 360-650-3944 | E: gerardc at wwu.edu <Carly.Gerard at wwu.edu>

> access.wwu.edu

> <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__wp.wwu.edu_accessibility_&d=DwMF-g&c=7ypwAowFJ8v-mw8AB-SdSueVQgSDL4HiiSaLK01W8HA&r=4xs5XdFl4BYq5E_PfT2ZCA&m=GcNRlXteLgzsZTFR21ya-gaJjwrE6ILsL8JIWPcVfTw&s=P0dpDZhMnbfSZmYPe7bcKHfvhQ3SM73n5JzhFS_6zso&e=>

> [image: Western logo with blue lines depicting mountain, with text Western

> Washington University]

> How did I do? Please leave feedback

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