Despite advancements in online learning technologies and platforms, accommodations to make these technologies accessible to students and faculty with disabilities are not keeping pace.

Though most institutions realize they must make accessibility a priority, figuring out the best approach and identifying funding sources can be daunting. A new whitepaper from 3PlayMedia delves into some of these issues and offers guidance as universities strive to make their content as accessible as possible.

Students and faculty who are deaf or have hearing challenges, who are blind or have low vision, who are color blind, or who have physical disabilities or temporary disabilities (such as those due to injury) all require accessibility features to help them consume digital information.

Thirty-three percent of students enrolled in four-year institutions complete a bachelor’s degree, compared with 48 percent of students without disabilities. A 2011 World Health Organization report notes that 1 in 5 Americans age 12 or older have hearing loss significant enough to interfere with day-to-day communications.

Eleven percent of post-secondary students report having a disability. Federal and state laws have addressed telecommunications accessibility, but the report notes that the proliferation of web multimedia has outpaced accessibility initiatives. This leaves disabled students more disadvantaged than before, and many higher education institutions’ responses have been reactive instead of proactive.

(Next page: Steps to web content accessibility)


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