Home > Educational Technology, Higher Education, Teaching & Learning > Elaborating on Online Accessibility

Elaborating on Online Accessibility

By Steve Kolowich

The Department of Education on Thursday elaborated on a 2010 letter urging college and university presidents to make sure that the “emerging technology” on their campuses squares with federal laws protecting disabled students from discrimination.

While the original “Dear Colleague” letter focused on recent controversies over the accessibility of classroom devices such as electronic readers. Thursday’s addendum made it clear that online courses and their content also must be accessible to disabled students — even if none are currently enrolled.

“All school programs and activities — whether in a ‘brick and mortar,’ online, or other ‘virtual’ context — must be operated in a matter that complies with federal disability discrimination laws,” said the addendum, which was written as an FAQ.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the 1973 Rehabilitation Act together prohibit public organizations, and those that accept federal funding, from excluding people with disabilities. This category includes nearly all colleges and universities, public and private, which are expected to accommodate disabled students either by making resources accessible via assistive technology, such as screen readers and entrance ramps, or by providing them with alternative services that do not leave them at a disadvantage.

Continued at: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/05/27/education_department_elaborates_on_guidelines_against_

  1. June 2, 2011 at 1:41 am

    I enjoyed reading this article. Thank you. I had the pleasure of touring the CATEA offices at GA Tech today with Susan Perlman. They are doing excellent work and promoting accessibility on the campus there at Tech.

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