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Welcome to John Slatin Virtual AccessU 2021.

AccessU 2021 Attendees Guide

John Slatin AccessU is one of the highlights of our year. We reconnect to our origins, recommit to our mission, and learn tons from our community. We usually manage to have some fun along the way. So welcome, thank you for joining us and for your own commitment to accessibility.

Tools for AccessU

You might notice that AccessU is not using a conference app. Accessibility is our number one priority and we have not yet found a one that fully satisfied our access requirements. The good news is that we have seen improvement this year and expect to have better choices very soon. In the meantime, we mashed up some accessible tools to serve the AccessU community. Essentially, the entire event will occur on Slack and Zoom.

  • Slack will facilitate instant communcation between all participants, including links to sessions, announcements, and personal networking and connections during the event

  • Zoom is the presentation platform. With 7 tracks, the movement between classrooms is not seamless but should not be difficult using this guide.

Links to Conference Sessions

Zoom links are unique to each of the AccessU dedicated rooms and change each day of the conference. AccessU fees cover event expenses and help us support our community programs. Please do not share the links.

  • You will receive secure Zoom room links by email shortly before each day's sessions. If you do not see the email; please check your spam folder.

  • You will also find the links in the AccessU Slack workspace pinned in the #announcements channel.

  • Finally, you will also be emailed a web page with secure login containing the day’s session links.

And of course, we are always here to help if you have problems. Use #help on Slack or reach out to us at for immediate support.

AccessU Schedule Highlights

There is plenty to do at AccessU, be sure to look into all of them:

  • Deep Dives: May 13 Pre-Conference has several hands-on workshop experiences from which to choose

  • Virtual AccessU: 80+ sessions of various topics in 7 tracks, May 18-20

  • Keynotes: are spectaular this year:

  • Evening Events:

    • May 19: Game Night

    • May 20: Happy Hour (after Joe Devon's Closing keynote)

Check the AccessU Schedule for more details.

Slack Messaging and Communications

Slack is an instant-messaging and communication tool used by teams and communities. AccessU will use it for communications with and between attendees. Slack is not required to attend AccessU sessions, but is our attempt to provide a version of the hallway conversations that have made AccessU so great in past years.

Slack invitations for Deep Dive attendees will be sent by May 11. AccessU standard attendees should look for those invitations starting May 14. Ping us if you don’t get the invite – we don’t want to leave anyone out!

While you can use Slack via the web-browser, you may find the app (desktop or mobile) more to your liking.

Note that we will provide any urgent communications in Slack and near the top of this page.

A few tips and notes:

  • #announcements channel is used to send you announcements from AccessU staff

  • #help channel is used for you to ask questions regarding AccessU and is monitored morning to night

  • There will be pinned messages in both #announcements and #help channels

  • other discussion channels are for general use and discussion amongst attendees; questions asked of AccessU staff in these channels may not be immediately seen

  • you may also create ad-hoc small group discussions using Direct Messages (DM) - with 1-8 persons

  • If you've not used Slack, this How to Use Slack video may help introduce basic usage

  • Mute channels judiciously if it becomes a little noisy (note: we don't recommend muting #announcements)

Zoom Webinars and Meetings

We will use Zoom for all of our sessions. You can attend Zoom events using a web browser, but we recommend using the desktop or mobile app whenever possible. If you've not used Zoom before (can that be?!), please visit Zoom and run the Zoom meeting test. We recommend you update to the latest version of their application. Links to the conference sessions will be shared as noted above in the Links section.

A few tips and notes:

  • Controls: Is most Zoom windows, user controls can be found at the bottom by moving the mouse - or your finger in the mobile app.

  • Captions: AccessU is providing live captions for all classroom sessions. To enable captions, find the CC / Closed Captions button in the Zoom controls and you will be able to Show Subtitles - or you can instead choose Show Transcript to see the entire caption transcript to the side of the presentation.

  • Chat: Zoom chat window can be turned on and off using the Chat button in the controls. In webinar (most sessions) you can choose to chat with Everyone (all attendees & panelists) or just the Panelists. In meeting mode, you can also chat with individuals. Screen reader users should note that if the Chat window is open, in most cases it will be read.

  • Q&A: To ask questions, use the Q&A control and type your question there. You can also select it to be an anonymous question. Screen reader users should note that if the Q&A window is open, in most cases it will be read.

  • Breakout Rooms: In a few sessions - and in the Commons Room on May 19 (Wed), we will use breakout rooms. Please make sure your client is updated (5.3.0 or later) so you can choose and move freely between breaktout rooms yourself (otherwise the host has to move you into a breakout room). You choose a Breakout Rooms using the Breakout Room button in the Controls and then choose the appropriate room. Note: If you need captions in breakout rooms, please use the chat to let the presenter know, so our captioner can follow.


Knowbility is committed to providing accessible experiences and acommodations. Knowbility provides live captioning for all events including AccessU. Captions may be accessed using the CC / Closed Caption button at the bottom of the screen. Other accessibility needs can be accommodated as needed. Requests are made during registration and at least 72 hours prior to the event. If you have any questions, please contact us at


All sessions will be recorded and made available approximately 4 weeks after the conference and will be available for your viewing for approximately 1 year. We will provide accompanying materials and ensure they have been remediated for accessibility. We will email you the good news as soon as it’s all ready!


Still have questions? - email us at or post to the Slack #help channel.

Thank you from the bottom of our purple hearts for joining our annual AccessU conference and for all you do to support our shared mission of making the digital world more accessible and inclusive for all. And if you’re up for some history, here is why we call it John Slatin AccessU.

Featured Sponsors:

Additional Sponsors:

  • Verbit
  • Deque
  • Monkee-Boy
  • Oklahoma ABLE Tech
  • Swantner Ventures
  • Big Ten Network / FOX
  • Teach Access
  • IAAP
  • codemantra
  • Pearson