Digital Accessibility Nationally

... particularly as relates to Higher Ed

UM is not unique in its policy and focus on digital (electronic and information technology, EIT, or information and community technology, ICT) accessibility. (A list of current activity is available from University of Minnesota Duluth.)

In addition, the Federal Department's of Education and Justice work through their Offices of Civil Rights appears to be becoming more expansive. 

  • Harvard & MIT's captioning
  • Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act provides “[n]o individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations of any place of public accommodation."  Previously, a “place of public accommodation” referenced brick and mortar.  Several recent court cases move beyond this interpretation to include websites and other electronic  resources even when no physical location exists.
  • "With regard to online learning, websites, captioning, course management tools, kiosk services, etc., a new more robust concept of equal enjoyment appears to be emerging, one that takes into account ease of use, hours of service, independence, and self-sufficiency."
  • In a recent letter to University of California, Berkeley, the DOJ states: "In addition, UC Berkeley’s administrative methods have not ensured that individuals with disabilities have an equal opportunity to use UC Berkeley’s online content. While the University of California’s Information Technology Accessibility Policy adopts the WCAG 2.0 AA technical standard ... UC Berkeley has not ensured compliance with its policy. For instance, we appreciate that the Berkeley Resource Center for Online Education is available to assist faculty in developing accessible courses, *but UC Berkeley does not require faculty to work with the center*. Similarly, Berkeley’s Educational Technology Services is available to provide captions for YouTube and iTunes U content, *but there is no routine practice of doing so*. 

Any employee can complete an EITA 2016 employee questionnaire to enter your name for a chance to receive:

  • free emergency captioning
  • free emergency document remediation 
  • alt text production work