- Federal standards require colleges and universities make website content accessible for citizens with disabilities and impairments, a move that has prompted the University of California - Berkeley to announce an initiative which will remove more than 20,000 publicly accessible videos and podcasts from its digital repositories to meet compliance rules.
- Officials said making the videos and audio more accessible would have proven too costly in comparison to full removal.
- Inside Higher Ed reports on the project, which will phase out the content and make it available only through sign-on access beginning Mar. 15. The university will continue to offer online learning and MOOC programs, but officials say the move also protects the content from infringement by unauthorized access.
Budget considerations for federal compliance is emerging as a primary topic for federal lawmakers, who are considering broad changes to the Higher Education Act to hasten deregulation in the sector. Cal-Berkeley is one of the first schools to take a full-removal approach to compliance, but it is a route which other schools may soon take.
Alternatives could include a deliberate re-release of content with ADA-compliant technologies, or a paid service which provides the content to users at costs for reproduction. Colleges may not want to sacrifice SEO and branding opportunities because of federal regulations, but there could be other workarounds to preserve the resources while accommodating students and faculty with dignity.