Articles

AQIP and Accessibility — Like Peanut Butter and Chocolate...

Added May 12, 2014: In addition to tools and materials that can be used by Colleges and Universities to help cultivate and maintain an accessible web presence, GOALS has also developed a set of resources that can be used by Regional Accreditation Agencies and their constituent institutions to leverage institutional web accessibility efforts during the reaffirmation process.

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Go Tell It On The Mountain— Spreading the Word about Your Accessibility Work

Added September 30, 2013: So you have been working on your web accessibility plan — you have administrative buy-in and an accessibility steering committee, you have a timeline and a scope of work, you know your priorities and have identified important metrics and milestones, you even have a budget and training schema. It is bound to succeed! You will have success with your accessible web presence in no time, right?

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Importance of the GOALS Cost Case Studies

Added December 13, 2012: There are many reasons why institutions are working to improve the accessibility of digital content for faculty, students and staff with disabilities. Those in postsecondary settings have often heard in the past two decades, “it's the right thing to do”, “it's the smart thing to do”, and “it's the law”.

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Legal Costs Can be Big to Defend Inaccessible Web Content in Postsecondary Education

Added November 16, 2012: There are many reasons why institutions are working to improve the accessibility of digital content for faculty, students and staff. Federal law requires institutions that accept federal funds, to provide equal opportunity for persons with disabilities. Today that equal opportunity includes equal access to content in web and other digital media.

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GOALS Assessments Lead to Positive Change

Added October 13, 2012: GOALS staff are currently working on collecting cost case studies with diverse postsecondary institutions. The experiences shared by staff during focus groups at two participating institutions are shared below to illustrate the power of getting divergent individuals together to discuss institutional web accessibility. In these examples, those conversations resulted in significant change in practices and policy related to web accessibility for their campuses.

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Creative Captioning for Increased Web Accessibility

Added September 13, 2012: GOALS staff conducted focus groups with postsecondary institutions across the country over the past year around issues related to ensuring web accessibility. These focus groups typically included staff from Disability Student Services, Human Resources, Instructional Technology, the Library, web developer, central administration, and at least one individual with a disability. Of the many challenges mentioned, providing captioned media to students who are Deaf or hard of hearing surfaced as a significant concern. Campuses are working to develop ways to both deliver caption media and determine how to pay for it.

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Accessibility, Accreditation and the Evolution of Digital Technologies

Added August 1, 2012: The evolution of computer and internet technologies has had a profound effect on modern higher education. Nowhere has this effect been more apparent than in the field of Distance Education. What was once a niche domain used only by those who were unable to attend school as traditional students has now, thanks in great part to the web, become a common part of most students' curriculums.

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Emerging Cost Issues

Added August 1, 2012: GOALS staff are working with diverse postsecondary institutions on case studies that will illustrate cost issues faced as web accessibility becomes institutionalized. GOALS staff are currently conducting focus groups on cost issues at Universities, Community and State colleges nationwide. The focus groups revealed both diverse issues and issues of commonality for institutions that are challenged to deliver millions of pages of web content in ways that are accessible to all.

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The Institution's Web Accessibility Study Team

Added August 1, 2012: We often get the question, “who should participate in our institution's self-study team or task force committee on web accessibility?” This resource sheet is intended to walk you through the logic for selecting the most representative committee, to help you begin to identify the best individuals, and then provide some strategies to enlist and sustain their participation.

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The Times, They are A Changin’

Added May 17, 2007: It has been almost a decade since Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to require that electronic and information technology used, purchased, or maintained by federal agencies be accessible to persons with disabilities. However, Section 508 has remained largely misunderstood and, while some efforts have been made to comply with the standards set forth in the amendment, enforcement has proven to be problematic. Most products and websites still have a long way to go before they can truly be considered accessible (or usable) for persons with disabilities.

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Wish List and Beyond

Added August 28, 2006: In January 2006, the International Society for Technology and Education (ISTE) published an editorial in the E-School News describing its education technology Wish List for 2006. It was an intriguing list of ideas to consider with respect to improving the accessibility and usability of technology in our nation's schools. Among those items of interest to the disability community was a call for a systemic national conversation regarding the essential elements of technology in schools and national education technology standards. There was a recognition of essential 21st century literacies for our nation's students. Modern teacher preparation, including highly qualified teachers and “effective use of modern digital tools and resources” were among the highlights of the list. Those of us concerned with access to educational technology by children, youth, and adults with disabilities agree that this wish list is important, in fact, we want to make it our own and suggest several additions.

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Let the Buyer be Aware: The Importance of Procurement in Accessibility Policy

Added April 24, 2006: Education entities are making the important move to create policies that cover accessible technologies in general, and Web accessibility in particular. However, very few of these policies explicitly include procedures for the procurement of accessible goods and services. This is vital for any group that wants to adhere to their policy and avoid expensive accommodation if newly purchased materials pose barriers to access for persons with disabilities. A brilliant aspect of the Section 508 regulation is that procurement is tied to the overall federal strategy to transform, over time, into an environment supporting accessibility. This article discusses the importance of procurement language in policies to encourage accessibility. It also provides sample language that others can use in their own policies and recommends links to those who have already included accessibility requirements. In this age of technology procurement, let the buyer be aware!

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Issues in Accessing Distance Education Technologies for Individuals with Disabilities

Added September 6, 2005: Participants in the Technology Strand of the National Summit are asked to focus their thoughts and efforts on three key issues important in accessible distance education. This discussion paper will be used to frame workgroup topics and time allocations. The first issue is the potential to produce, procure, and use natively accessible hardware and software. The second issue moves beyond accessible technology to the promise and barriers of the design, layout and delivery of accessible content in distance education. The final issue for participant consideration is the importance of education and ongoing support of divergent stakeholder groups, including technical staff, instructors, and end-users with disabilities.

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Other Articles

Added July 2009: Web Accessibility System Change: The Myths, Realities, and What We Can Learn From Two Large Scale Efforts
Added January 16, 2007: Accessibility of Education in 2007
Added January 16, 2007: Democracy in Action - The Wiki Way
Added December 15, 2006: TEITAC Invites Input on Standards Change
Added October 25, 2006: Web Captioning and Education
Added June 27, 2006: Cognitive Disabilities and the Web: Where Accessibility and Usability Meet?
Added September 6, 2005: Issues in Distance Education Technology and the Preparation of Professionals to Serve Persons with Disabilities
Added September 6, 2005: Access to Electronically-Mediated Education for Students with Disabilities: Policy Issues