Accessibility, Equal Access, and the ADA (part one)

Just to get us started, check out these simulations that let you experience the web as a person with a visual disability would: blindness and colorblindness.

If a simulation isn’t your thing, you can check out the Web Accessibility Initiative’s draft paper on How People with Disabilities Use the Web.

Or you can read this wrap-up on how instructors should respond when a student has a speech impairment.

You can also take a quick glance at an article reviewing the accessibility of different college and university websites:

And here’s a table ranking schools on their ease of accessibility to blind students.

Wow, huh?

So, all of this invites the following question: How do you make sure your online resources / your online course meets the needs of all your students?

One of the most common questions we get regards how to give a student extra time on an online exam. For LearningStudio users, we’ve posted a little tutorial.

But going beyond exams, what should one do? For whom? And how?

According to the MIT Assistive Technology Center, here are some different groups of individuals whose needs merit consideration:

1.  Visual disabilities: Difficulty accessing unlabeled graphics, icons, buttons, multimedia. Info may be lost in poorly marked up tables, forms and frames. May use keyboard navigation rather than a mouse. Use screen enlargement, screen readers or Braille displays. Problems with font sizes, color contrast or other display problems.

2.  Hearing disabilities: Need captioning for audio and video.

3.  Physical disabilities: May need to substitute mouse use with keyboard, voice input, or other input methods.

4.  Cognitive disabilities: Need consistent navigation structure. Overly complex presentation can be a problem. Flickering or strobing designs can be a problem.

As an aside, if the moment presents itself, you can direct your students to We Connect Now, an organization founded in 2008 focused higher education and employment access for college students with disabilities.

(This is part of a series of posts on this topic. Future posts will cover design tips, assessing the accessibility of your content, and additional access resources.)


One thought on “Accessibility, Equal Access, and the ADA (part one)

  1. Pingback: Accessibility, Equal Access, and the ADA (part two) | tcuelearning

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