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Enhancing Collaboration via Accessible Virtual Communities

Screenshot image of Dr. Cogburn's NSF GSE presentationDr. Derrick L. Cogburn, Executive Director of COTELCO/the Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP), delivered a keynote address on 19 October 2011 entitled “Enhancing Collaboration through Accessible Virtual Communities” at the National Science Foundation’s Gender in Science and Engineering Extension Retreat. The retreat was held at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia.


Screenshot image of presentation offered virtually via Blackboard Collaborate
 
Dr. Cogburn, who has been studying and practicing cyberlearning and collaboration laboratories for over 14 years, discussed how globalization has increasingly created a demand and need for accessible virtual community spaces in which individuals across the globe can build relationships and interact with each other efficiently. His presentation addressed how this growth in globally distributed communities also requires new skills with which individuals can effectively work with others across cultures, time zones, technologies, disciplines, and institutions.
 
The Executive Director asserted the need for accessibility and universal design within these virtual communities so that all individuals may participate in geographically distributed collaboration. He stated that accessibility is crucial as virtual communities continue to grow around the world. As one example of how countries across the globe are realizing the importance of making societies more accessible, Dr. Cogburn called attention to the news that the largest country in Southeast Asia – Indonesia – ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that same day.
 
COTELCO and the IDPP were highlighted as examples in which collaboration is facilitated through geographically distributed accessible virtual communities. Dr. Cogburn examined how accessible virtual communities related to NSF-funded projects as well. His presentation was offered virtually to a geographically dispersed audience.
 
Access the Blackboard Collaborate recording of keynote address
(Captions available via Window>Show Closed-Captioning once in virtual session)