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NCDAE: The National Center on Disability and Access to Education

Joining together to improve the accessibility
of electronically-mediated education

NCDAE Accessibility Newsletter - September 2012

Featured Article: Choosing a Technical Web Accessibility Standard

In the path toward improved web accessibility, one of the most important steps is the creation of an accessibility policy, and at the heart of an accessibility policy is a technical accessibility standard. This technical standard outlines the minimal level of accessibility for the web content that your group will create and purchase.

Featured Resource: Best Practice Document Available from GOALS

Project GOALS is proud to have the prestigious regional accreditation body SACSCOC (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges) as one of our project partners. With their help, the GOALS Consortium is identifying ways in which web accessibility can be included in the reaffirmation process. Also, accessibility efforts can provide value-added benefits as components of Quality Enhancement Plans.

To this end, GOALS has created a Best Practices for Institution-Wide Web Accessibility document based on the validated Institutional Indicators of Web Accessibility developed by the project in an earlier grant.

Are We Measuring That Which We Value?

Lately I've been struck with this phrase; “We value what we measure rather than measure what we value.” In a postsecondary culture of measurement and transparency, it is good for us to think about the ways in which our own institutional data help us measure those things that we value. For us at the National Center on Disability and Access to Education (NCDAE), something we value dearly is the education outcome for any student with a disability. However, it is unclear that these data are available at most postsecondary institutions.

Creative Captioning for Increased Web Accessibility

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.

Newest Accessibility "Cheat Sheet"

GOALS continues to introduce more resources dedicated to creating accessible content for faculty and staff in higher education. The latest handout reviews the steps needed to create accessible PDF documents in Adobe InDesign CS5.5.

In the News

CourseSmart and STEPP Conduct a Study on the Accessibility of eTextbooks

Students with special needs who rent digital textbooks are finding they are easier to obtain and use, as well as more affordable, than print textbooks.

Not All Students Are Treated Equally in Today's Digital Era

As the use of technology continues to grow in higher education, institutions have a responsibility to make these advancements available to all students.