Results: 2004 Survey on Access Technology in Higher Education

Prepared by Terry Thompson, University of Washington
for Access Technologists Higher Education Network (ATHEN)


This report gathers and consolidates the practices, experiences, and professional development needs of people supporting assistive technology and information technology accessibility on college campuses. The survey instrument was designed by members of Access Technologists Higher Education Network (ATHEN). Their goal was to conduct an unprecedented thorough study of how higher education entities are addressing their assistive technology and information technology accessibility needs.

The survey was based in part upon Terry Thompson's Assistive Technology in Higher Education Survey, conducted while at North Carolina State University, and upon Todd Van Wieren's survey titled Managing Assistive Technology in the Postsecondary Educational Setting: Disability Service Providers' Input and Perspectives.


The survey was administered online using a custom-developed interactive survey application. The survey, like this report, was organized into five main sections. The first section, on administrative issues, was further organized into eight sub-sections. Each participant was required to establish a login name and password. No other fields were required. Questions were presented in small groups for manageability, with a mean of 3 questions per screen. Participants could save their responses by selecting "Save and Continue" or "Save and Exit" at the bottom of each screen, and could complete the survey in multiple sessions if needed.

The survey was highly interactive, and many of the questions asked were dependent upon participants' previous responses. For example, a user who answered "Yes" to the question "Does your institution have a web accessibility policy?" would be asked follow-up questions about that policy, whereas participants who answered "No" would not. For this reason (and because of participant attrition) the number of responses varies per question.

The survey instrument was made publicly available in mid-June 2004, and announcements were posted to three relevant online discussion lists, EASI, ADTECH-PS, and DSSHE-L. A follow-up announcement was posted to these same three lists on August 26, 2004, and participants were given until September 3 to complete the survey, with some allowances granted to stragglers.

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