Online Digital Accessibility
According to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, the definition of accessible is as follows - "Accessible means a person with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective and equally integrated manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use." - U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights
Universal Usability of Technology
Technology is an integral part of our day to day activities. It is of the utmost importance that the technologies we implement are in line with and support the College's mission of providing online services, software, and electronic information that is accessible and usable by all of our students.
All people use technology and all technology can be assistive.
Accommodations are not the same as Accessibility
Accommodations are an important part of our accessibility plan and issued on a case-by-case basis for a plethora of reasons. In the ever changing world of technology, persons with disabilities may face many unanticipated challenges.
Accommodations are a reactive approach upon request when a student or staff member comes across an obstacle. It is not a one size fits all approach. The accommodation is tailored to the need and request.
Accessibility on the other hand is a proactive approach that removes many challenges without the need for an accommodation. Some may perceive a stigma associated with an accommodation and others may need access to information right away or some may not know they need an accommodation. accessibility enhances the content for all students.
We use both accommodations and accessibility in an effort to cover as many situations and circumstances that may arise.
Principles of Accessibility
There are four principles of accessibility that can impact content for documents, presentations, labs, and online content for Blackboard Learn courses. Best practices are set forth in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (WCAG). The four Principles of Accessibility are:
- Perceivable - Information must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.
- Information being presented can't be invisible to some users.
- Operable - User interface components and navigation must be operable.
- This means that all users must be able to navigate a document or site.
- Understandable - Information and the operation of the user interface must be understandable.
- Users must be able to understand the information as well as how elements like video players and web links operate.
- Robust - Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.
- This includes mobile devices and different screen sizes as well as assistive tools.