February 2013 Newsletter

Writing a solid web accessibility policy: Cornell gets it right

One of the most common requests we get from the field is for information and resources on policy creation. Most often, people want to see samples of what good web accessibility policies look like in higher education. A couple of months ago we provided an article on this topic, Looking to the Work of Others as You Create Your Institution's Web Accessibility Policy. This month, we thought it would be a good idea to profile the complete policy from a single institution so we are featuring a draft policy from Cornell.

http://ncdae.org/resources/tips/cornell.php

Evaluating the Evidence

In previous newsletters, GOALS has outlined Best Practices for Institution-Wide Web Accessibility and provided a Template and Examples for documenting web accessibility efforts as part of regional accreditation within postsecondary education. Over the next few months, we will be developing materials to assist Accreditation Review Teams to understand and evaluate institutional evidence of web accessibility efforts. These documents may also serve to assist institutions in reviewing and enhancing their reaffirmation materials as they are developed.

Here is the first of the series: http://ncdae.org/goals/accreditation/reviewer1.php

GOALS on the Move

GOALS will be presenting two sessions at the California State University, Northridge Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference (CSUN) this week:

If you are attending CSUN, please stop by and say hello!

WebAIM Training and More...

GOALS partner WebAIM will offer another of their highly rated web accessibility trainings on May 21-22, 2013. These trainings provide hands on guidance on accessibility techniques, legal guidelines and international standards. If you are interested in attending or learning more, visit http://webaim.org/training/.

In other news, WebAIM is gathering information on user preferences for using the web with low vision or motor disabilities. These are two more in a series of surveys designed to learn what is needed to better serve web users with disabilities. To learn more about the surveys, visit http://webaim.org/blog/lowvis_and_motor_surveys/.

In the News

The Department of Justice may propose new accessible website regulations as early as July 2013

The US DOJ has announced that it will release a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on web accessibility for state and local government websites this coming July. This notice separates state and local government rules (Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act) from the public accommodation rules (Title III).

'A Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age' creates controversy but gets some things right

Last December, a group of educators met in Palo Alto to discuss the future of higher education in the age of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The document has created some controversy due to the participation of the founder of one for-profit MOOC aggregator and the sense of some in the academy that it is biased toward the interests of those who developed it.

However, after the preamble, the first right it cites is the Right to Access:

"Everyone should have the right to learn: traditional students, non-traditional students, adults, children, and teachers, independent of age, gender, race, social status, sexual orientation, economic status, national origin, bodily ability, and environment anywhere and everywhere in the world. To ensure the right to access, learning should be affordable and available, offered in myriad formats, to students located in a specific place and students working remotely, adapting itself to people's different lifestyles, mobility needs, and schedules. Online learning has the potential to ensure that this right is a reality for a greater percentage of the world's population than has ever been realizable before."

This is a sentiment which has driven NCDAE from the beginning. We hope this conversation on MOOCs can serve as yet another discussion point across academia to ensure access for all.

Things I learned by pretending to be blind for a week

Blogger David Ball used the web as a person who is blind for a week and talks about what he learned from the experience (hint: it was hard).

http://blog.silktide.com/2013/01/things-learned-pretending-to-be-blind-for-a-week/

Web usability, accessibility to be enhanced at Purdue University

Purdue University is working to ensure that their web presence is usable and accessible to all students, including those with disabilities.

http://www.pucchronicle.com/web-usability-accessibility-to-be-enhanced

Bookshare Adds Two New Accessibility Features

For those of you who use Bookshare as a way to get accessible digital textbooks to students, you might like to know that they have announced two new reader support products. The first will allow readers to open any book in the catalog within a web-based browser and find specific pages, all without having to download the book. The second allows educators or other content providers to assemble material in one specific and easy to use location in a way that can be easily searched and categorized.

http://goodereader.com/blog/electronic-readers/bookshare-adds-two-new-accessibility-features/

Web Accessibility Higher Education Project Fall 2012 - Fall 2016

GOALS and WebAIM are proud to be working with Oklahoma ABLE Tech to assist Oklahoma's Higher Education Institutions to increase the accessibility and legal compliance of their institutional websites.

http://www.ok.gov/abletech/wahep.html