Higher ed still lagging on digital accessibility

Dive Brief:

  • Higher ed institutions are behind in ensuring accessibility for all students with digital material and platforms, as detailed by a new 3PlayMedia whitepaper.
  • According to eCampus News, 11% of students have disabilities, but the shift to digital has left them in a particular bind as multimedia materials have expanded faster than accessibility initiatives designed to comply with federal and state laws.
  • When working to establish accessibility for all students, institutions should consider compliance across hardware, software, digital text documents, web design, audio and video, and course design.

Dive Insight:

When transitioning to digital materials, a proper accounting for the specific needs of students across a range of disabilities is critical. For example, hearing impaired students will need tools including transcripts, captions or audio descriptions for audio and video content, while vision impaired students will need documents that are compatible with screen reader software, and color blind students will require their own design considerations.

And addressing these issues is imperative: As the Campus Computing Project's Casey Green has pointed out at Educause over the past few years, assessments of digital resources and services for disabled users continue to show a "lawsuit waiting to happen" over accessibility at many colleges and universities.

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Filed Under: Higher Ed Technology Policy & Regulation