One of the main benefits of twenty-first century educational technology is its ability to increase opportunity for students to learn and grow academically. Learning Management Systems like Blackboard allow students to earn college credit at any time and from anywhere, while supplements like Khan Academy, Coursera, and EdX allow students to master skills without even paying for traditional education! Oftentimes, though, when using technology to deliver content, we forget that crucial groups of students with disabilities are not always able to access this content on a level playing field.
Accessibility for Americans with Disabilities is a crucial, but often overlooked, piece of the academic technology puzzle, and refers to the removing of barriers that prevent people with disabilities from having access to web-based content. When a site, document, or video is correctly designed with features such as captioning, proper headings, or good use of color, it allows for all users to have equal access to needed material. Careful attention to a few simple guidelines can help you to ensure compliance.
The Educational Technology Department has curated a few resources to guide you along the way! The .pdf below provides detailed instructions for maintaining the accessibility of all types of electronic files and systems. Please feel free to download and share it, as needed.
Additionally, if you are looking for assistance with making complex images (such as graphics or flow charts) accessible, or with adding accessibility components to mathematical expressions, we have found that the non-profit Diagram Center has a number of useful resources that can provide guidance.
It is important to remember that, under the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 and sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, it is required by federal law for emerging use of technology in the classroom to be easily accessible to students with disabilities. The responsibility for complying with this federal law rests on all members of academic institutions who are creating and putting out content. Any content that relates to testable course objectives must meet federal accessibility guidelines. , If you have specific questions about accessibility, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.