CSU Ventures aims to provide accessible technology

Dorina Vida

Colorado State University aims to further implement inclusivity into their curriculum through technology that allows students with disabilities access to alternative means of technological learning wrote Todd Headley, president of CSU Ventures, in an email to The Collegian.

CSU Ventures, the technology commercialization agent for the University, started in 2006 as a part of the CSU Research Foundation. Since its formation, CSU Ventures has seen an increase in student and commercial participation.

Ad

CSU Ventures licenses software and other such programs that are the intellectual property of the University that can be commercialized, Headley wrote. Educational videos made by and for CSU are uploaded to their online store, providing other institutions access to collegiate-level learning materials.

“Their role is to move technology and discoveries out of the university into the marketplace,” Headley wrote. “Currently, we receive roughly double/triple the number of invention disclosures, license agreements, startups, etc.”

Headley wrote that he believed a reason for the participation increase is a greater awareness for the lack of — and need for — accessibility to technology.

“Traditionally, CSU Ventures has been more heavily into patent based licensing and commercialization,” Headley wrote. “Software and program kind of things that can be delivered in a different way is something we’ve been thinking about.”

In 2018, CSU Ventures took on a whole new project that sent them down a path of inclusivity, said Marla Roll, an assistant professor and director of the Assistive Technology Resource Center.

According to their website, the Assistive Technology Resource Center “ensures equal access to technology and electronic information for Colorado State University students and employees with disabilities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.”

Roll enlisted the aid of CSU Ventures to spread awareness on how necessary it is that students with disabilities have access to equal learning materials to their classmates.

Roll said she realized that it is equally important that the University is aware of the needs of these individuals, their rights as students and how to better create an inclusive environment for them.

“We realized that there is a gap, and the gap is that you need people to tell the story about why this is important,” Roll said. “So we thought if we could do storytelling, faculty and administrators and staff, and maybe other students, understand why this is important.”

Roll said through the videos created by CSU Ventures, faculty, staff and students may be finally able to better understand that not all students read the same or process information the same.

Ad

While Roll and her team did attempt to hold presentations for faculty and administrators to educate them on the needs of students with disabilities, a lack of appearance and participation made them realize that they had to get their message across a different way, Roll said.

Roll and her team collaborated with CSU Ventures to create a series of videos, funded and marketed by CSU Ventures, to explain how and why students with disabilities require alternative means of learning. This team included Allison Kidd, Anna Walker and Craig Spooner.

Through intimate storytelling with affected students, Roll said her team and CSU Ventures were able to establish that connection between professors and the students they teach.

By placing the videos on the CSU Ventures store, other learning institutions have purchasable access to this material with the intention that this will raise awareness on the issue of inclusion and how inclusivity includes disability, Roll said.

“This isn’t an issue just on our campus, this is an issue across higher ed,” Roll said.

Dorina Vida can be reached at news@collegian.com or Twitter @simply_she_.

Editor’s note: We have added some clarifying context about what the Assistive Technology Resource Center does as to further explain their connection with the project. We have also added the names of the team members that worked on the videos.