Accessible Technology Resources
Most faculty and staff understand that college programs, services, and activities must be accessible to people with disabilities. The same level of commitment needs to be applied to web-based and other technologies. The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights addressed this issue in a letter sent to all college and university presidents in May 2011. This letter is not based on new laws or changes in existing law but laws that have been in place since 1973 and 1990.
The Department of Education’s intent is not to discourage institutions’ use of emerging technologies but rather to ensure the accessibility of such technologies before incorporating them into class requirements and other programs and services. Recent legal actions taken against other colleges and universities can serve as a reminder that access to the rapidly increasing use of technology in the classroom and beyond must be provided. Although the recent legal action dealt with individual incidents at specific universities, the message for all of higher education is clear: Students, staff, faculty, administrators and visitors must be afforded equal access to the same information, engage in the same interactions and enjoy the same services as people without disabilities.
The use of technology without regard to accessibility may inadvertently hinder access for some people and may be construed as discriminatory regardless of intent. If accessibility is not considered when creating or directing students to a PDF, for example, the process of converting to an accessible format can be a time- consuming and formidable experience. And there may be no “quick fixes” if the instructor is asked to retrofit or it may be impossible for Disability Support Services to make it accessible.
The University of Washington has compiled a list of information technology (IT) accessibility policies in higher education. This list is not intended to be comprehensive but to serve as a resource for institutions who are developing or considering developing their own policies.
Bluegrass Captioning Resources
BCTC has limited funds to assist instructors who need assistance captioning videos. Contact Kevin Dunn (email@example.com / 246-6716) for additional information. In most cases, we ask that digital content be uploaded to a college YouTube account.
YouTube And Captioning
YouTube remains an excellent option for storing and captioning multimedia content. Captioning Directions
Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat
Not all Adobe Acrobat (PDF) files are usable by text-to-voice readers. Learn more about these documents.