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Accessibility Policies in Higher Ed


From: Karen Sorensen
Date: Apr 20, 2011 7:54PM

Hi Giovanni-
Regarding policies, we are working on crafting an Accessibility Policy for
Online Courses right now. We found that our general ADA accommodations
policy wasn't sufficient for online courses (it just says accommodations
will be provided). But we would really like to have accessibility standards
followed in the *development* of online courses.

This WebAIM article
<http://webaim.org/articles/policies/policies_pilot/>;says that
specifying a standard is important to do in the policy. My concern
is that we make sure the standard is attainable. For example, both 508 and
WCAG 2.0 standards require audio descriptions on all media. I don't think we
can do that with the limited resources we have. What are other schools
doing? Anyone out there doing audio descriptions? I noticed that with the
handful of colleges and universities that I could find with web
accessibility policies, many had developed their own list of standards.

Sounds like you might be working on a policy to encompass more than just
online courses, but here are some links that have helped in our policy

http://webaim.org/articles/policies/postsec/ (lots of broken links here

http://www.access-board.gov/sec508/refresh/draft-rule.htm (draft of new 508





OK, i'll stop now. I'd really like to hear from anyone who is working on an
accessibility policy for their higher education institution. I'd love to
share implementation ideas. We are planning to organize a group of
stakeholders to guide the implementation process, but we are anticipating a
lot of resistance.


Karen Sorensen
PCC Instructional Technology Specialist
Coordinating ADA Compliance of Instructional Media

You bring an important point - policies. I agree that those are very
important but I am not sure how to start creating those. What is the
difference between those internal policies and following section 508? Isn't
section 508 all the policies I need? Are the different levels (A,AA,AAA) of
section 508 the type of policies I need to defined?

I also agree that educating the stakeholders is more feasible than trying to
fix problems but I still need experts in the team who know how to approach
the different technologies and systems.