Information and Technology
Ensuring equal access to information and technology takes more than the application of appropriate accommodation - it requires proactive planning and design. For example, while Assistive Technology (links are available in the accommodation section) can provide alternate input, processing, and output methods to make computers themselves more usable, the online services and information that are encountered must be in a format that the assistive technology can recognize.
With increasing use of online services and information it becomes absolutely critical that best practices are honored. The links below are focused on three essential areas: web accessibility, distance education, and accessible course materials.
- Web Accessibility
- Distance Education
- Accessible Course Materials
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) develops interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to lead the Web to its full potential. W3C is a forum for information, commerce, communication, and collective understanding.
Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
The Web Accessibility initiative provides strategies, guidelines, and resources to make the web accessible to people with disabilities.
Web Accessibility in Mind (WebAIM)
The WebAIM site provides an incredibly rich collection of information, training, resources, guidelines and standards for Web accessibility and disability access to the Web.
AccessELearning provides free tutorials for the design of accessible content.
AcessIT from the University of Washington features an Accessible University mock site which includes a companion guide to present problems and solutions in a very user friendly format.
Adobe Accessibility Site
Provides information on how to create accessible PDF documents.
Apple’s commitment to accessibility is evident throughout the Mac OS X operating system which is by design, easy to use, but also includes a wide variety of features and technologies specifically designed to provide accessibility to users with disabilities. Apple refers to these features collectively as Universal Access and has integrated them right into the operating system so they can be used in conjunction with a variety of applications from Apple and other developers.
EduTools provides independent reviews, side-by-side comparisons, and consulting services to assist decision-making in the e-learning community including review of Course Management Systems, Online courses, and Research Projects.
Free tools to create captioned video and/or audio.
Microsoft Accessibility Site
Product information to make the computer easier to see, hear, and use as well as tutorials and hands-on training tools.
Accessible Course Materials
AHEAD E-text Solutions Group
The E-text Solutions Group focuses on policies, procedures, and best practices in providing the accommodation of digital text for those students who have disabilities that limit their ability to access print in standard ways: blindness, visual impairment, learning disability, and certain mobility impairments.
The group is committed to finding solutions to the issue of providing students with print disabilities access to books and other media in a manner that is timely and accurate and, as nearly as possible, allows the disabled student to obtain the information needed for his or her education in a manner equivalent to that of nondisabled peers.
The Advisory Commission on Accessible Instructional Materials in Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities, established by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, has brought together government leaders, representatives from the publishing industry, individuals with print disabilities, representatives from two-year and four-year institutions of higher education and leaders in accessible technology. The Commission will study the current state of accessible materials for students with disabilities in postsecondary education and make recommendations to the U.S. Congress for improving access to and the distribution of instructional materials in accessible formats. This is the first commission in history charged with examining accessible instructional materials for postsecondary students with disabilities.
American Printing House (APH)
The APH ACCESSIBLE TEXTBOOK INITIATIVE AND COLLABORATION PROJECT (ATIC) is the embodiment of the American Printing House's (APH) commitment to provide accessible textbooks to students who are blind or visually impaired.
Library of Congress
The National Library Services for the Blind and Physically Handicapped has materials for loan including books on tape and four-track cassette players; administers a free library program of braille and recorded materials circulated to eligible borrowers by postage-free mail through a network of cooperating libraries.
National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS)
NIMAS guides the production and electronic distribution of digital versions of textbooks and other instructional materials so they can be more easily converted into accessible formats.
Recordings for the Blind & Dyslexic (RFB&D)
RFB&D is the primary supplier/lender of educational and professional books on tape for anyone with a documented print disability. Institutional & individual memberships are available. Some materials also available in electronic text. RFB&D also sells the players required to play books on tape/e-texts.