U.S. Department of Education Alert on Accessibility
As part of our ongoing effort to provide our clients and associates with valuable accessibility information, The Paciello Group wants to let you know of recent activity by the United States Department of Education.
Elaborating on Online Accessibility
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,
This activity is related to specific instructions to college and university presidents that their online content and courses be rendered accessible for students with disabilities. The notification was in the form of an addendum to an earlier letter encouraging schools to provide assistive technology devices for classroom students and extended that original letter to include online courses.
The addendum made it clear that online courses and their content also must be accessible to disabled students — even if none are currently enrolled.
Because of the Section 504 requirement of the US Rehabilitation Act of 1973, educational institutions that receive federal monies must provide equal access to courses and materials for students with disabilities. We are now seeing instances of the Department of Justice as well as special interest groups filing legal briefs and lawsuits to “encourage” compliance.
Where does this put you?
Without a plan to inventory and audit your online materials and courses, you do not know the scope of the issue that might be in front of you. Call us today… there is no obligation. Find out how The Paciello Group can help your institution, as we continue to help many others, identify your options, advise you on solutions and work with you and your authors, developers and instructors, on providing a level playing field for all your students.
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- Elaborating on Online Accessibility article from Inside Higher Ed web site.
- Original (PDF file) “Dear Colleague” letter from the Department of Education.
- Addendum from the Office of the Assistant Secretary.