North Carolina State University: A Promising Practice on Web Accessibility Policy

A growing number of postsecondary educational entities are drafting web accessibility policies and guidelines. Typically these policies include a broad policy statement regarding the university's commitment to accessibility, followed by a declaration of how web accessibility is defined by the institution (usually institutions simply adopt the Section 508 web accessibility standards). Many policies additionally include a timeline by which accessibility must be attained, exemptions to the policy, and links to internal resources that are available for support and training.

California Community Colleges: A Promising Practice in Alternate Media Accessibility Guidelines

One of the greatest challenges that students with print disabilities face in higher education is gaining access to alternate format materials such as Braille, large print, or electronic text. Higher education entities are often large and decentralized and sometimes have inadequate systems in place for responding in a timely and efficient manner to alternate format requests. Such was the case in 1996, when the U.S.

California Community Colleges: A Promising Practice in Distance Education Accessibility Guidelines

In the spring of 1996, the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), notified the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges that it was about to begin a statewide review under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Specifically, the focus of the review would be on whether or not the community colleges were meeting their obligation to provide students with visual impairments access to print and computer-based information.

Is it reasonable to use an ad hoc approach to accessibility of electronic and information technology?

It is unlikely that electronic resources in educational institutions, libraries, and other organizations will be accessible to students and employees with disabilities without the establishment of specific policies and/or procedures. As technology applications become ubiquitous and multimedia is the norm, an ad hoc approach to accessibility becomes increasingly less effective.

How might information technologies present barriers to students and employees with disabilities?

A disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, caring for oneself, and performing manual tasks. Examples of disabilities include AIDS, cancer, Cerebral Palsy, Diabetes, Epilepsy, head injuries, hearing impairments, learning disabilities, loss of limbs, Muscular Dystrophy, psychiatric disorders, speech impairments, spinal cord injuries, and blindness.

Where can I find information on the digital divide?

The term digital divide refers to the gap that exists between those who have and those who do not have access to technology. The term gained popularity in the late 1990s, fueled in part by a series of reports from the U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The first of these reports, Falling Through The Net: A Survey of the "Have Nots" in Rural and Urban America, was released in July 1995.