Excellence in Access and Accommodations
2020 Larine Y. Cowan Make a Difference Award
An innovator, problem solver, and invaluable campus collaborator, Ann Fredricksen strives for excellence in all aspects of her work to better serve students with disabilities at the University of Illinois. During the last eight years, Ann has transformed the DRES Accessible Media Services into a center of excellence for captioning on campus, and until recently she was the sole full-time employee responsible for ensuring the captioning of videos for students with functional diversity in Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES). As an advocate for universal design that includes everyone, Ann has developed a culture of rigorous, sustainable processes that is committed to a level of accuracy for captioning at Illinois which exceeds the Federal requirements of 95% accuracy.
Recognizing the lack of industry standards for captioning mathematical equations, notations and chemical formulas, Ann created new captioning Math Standards and best practices to ensure access to academic materials that prioritizes equity and fairness and meets the academic needs and rigor of a research university. She has also recently extended her work to audio description to provide low vision and blind students, faculty, and staff a full and meaningful experience of videos produced by the Office of the Chancellor.
Since remote learning began in March, Ann’s workload has more than doubled to ensure accessibility to course materials for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students during the COVID-19 Pandemic. During the Spring 2020 semester, Ann stepped up as a campus leader and successfully trained and managed 43 extra workers from across campus to meet the higher demand for video captioning of courses. During this time, she oversaw the captioning of 246 hours of video in 21 courses. In the first 16 school days of our current Fall 2020 semester, she had already overseen the captioning of 220 hours of video, almost exceeding the number of captioned videos for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 academic years. Ann’s unending dedication to the access need of students, staff, and faculty at the University of Illinois allows our university to continually improve access services that strive for full and equal inclusion for all members of our community.
Ann Fredricksen has her BA in Physics from Carthage College and has her MS/LIS degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She has been working for Disability Resources & Educational Services in the Accessible Media Services Office since 2008. She now serves as the Coordinator of Accessible Media Services, which provides accessible learning material for courses being taught within the University’s system.
Ann has been focusing her career on media accessibility and not only is the captioning expert on campus but is also responsible for responding to inquiries and information about audio description. She
is has recently created a captioning training course to serve as a resource for the University of Illinois’ faculty and staff on how to meet accessibility standards with free to low-cost software already available to this population.