Solutions for Education
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Educational groups face a number of unique challenges when creating an accessible web presence:
- Management of web content is often decentralized. Many educational groups have multiple web sites with various designers. Some institutions rely on students to develop and maintain web content. This creates a unique set of problems because web designer turnover may be high, control over sites may be decentralized, and the amount of content may be not be known.
- The scope of an educational site can be tremendous. There may be multimedia-rich online courses, registration systems, recruiting material, news articles, content management systems, and administrative applications, to name a few.
- There are a number of laws and regulations that affect educational groups. These include Section 504 and the ADA. Also, those in K-12 systems must adhere to IDEA. Those who provide education services for the federal government must also comply with Section 508. Moreover many states have laws in place that would affect the accessibility of educational content.
- A great deal of web content may be created by teachers, professors, staff assistants, or other non-technical individuals. Some content may be created in Microsoft Word or PowerPoint.
Because there are a number of laws that may apply specifically to educational entities, it is very important that you establish an accessible web presence and develop a system for monitoring your accessibility. Although educational institutions still benefit from site audits, the number of individual sites and developers may make it difficult to evaluate and repair every possible page. In fact many educational groups, especially universities, may not even know how many sites are hosted from their institution.
That is why it is especially important that educational groups work to create an accessibility policy, train their web designers, and have a plan to monitor conformance. It may also be necessary to train content creators such as teachers as well as webmasters. To get you started in this process, see WebAIM's 8-Step Implementation Model.
WebAIM can help you...
- Develop and implement an accessibility policy.
- Evaluate the accessibility and usability of your existing site.
- Provide technical assistance and assessment of new site designs.
- Train faculty and staff in all aspects of accessibility - from basic concepts to advanced multimedia accessibility techniques.
- Monitor the accessibility of your site over time or certify the accessibility of your site to legal and technical accessibility standards.