Introduction

"It is critical to remember that it is not just about meeting a standard but rather ensuring that individuals with disabilities have an equivalent opportunity to interact and participate in the technological world we employ." 1

What is Web Accessibility

In the various modes of delivery in distance education (webpages, web-based instruction, and other electronic media sources), accessibility refers to the ability of every person to access the information presented. Accessible distance education takes into account the special needs of people with auditory, visual, mobility, and cognitive impairments and gives those users an equivalent browsing, viewing, and communication experience to that of nondisabled individuals.

SRJC Guidelines for Online Accessibility

Both state and federal law require community colleges to operate all programs and activities in a manner which is accessible to students with disabilities. Access to persons with disabilities is guaranteed by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and by Title 24, California Code of Regulations. It is the policy of Santa Rosa Junior College to maintain compliance with all federal and state laws and regulations pertaining to persons with disabilities. 

Distance education courses, resources or materials created or substantially modified "in house" or purchased or leased from a third-party provider must be accessible to students with disabilities unless doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of the instructional activity or result in an undue financial and administrative burden on the District. 

Whenever possible, communications with persons with disabilities will be as effective as communications with persons without disabilities in terms of timeliness of delivery, accuracy of translation, and appropriateness to the message and the individual. Online courses must be available "any time, any place" for students with disabilities, just as they are for students without disabilities. The guideline for online courses is not "reasonable accommodation" but rather "accessibility."

 

  All files uploaded to the web by SRJC faculty and staff, including audio and video files, must be accessible to individuals with disabilities to the fullest reasonable extent possible.

 

What Online Materials Need to be Made Accessible?

 

  • All Web-based HTML files, PDF files, PowerPoint presentations, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, video files, audio files, etc. 
     
  • All Web-based materials for use with online, hybrid, blended, or face-to-face classes must be compliant. 
     
  • Content created within the Canvas learning management system by the instructor. 
     
  • Files uploaded to the Canvas learning management system by the instructor. 
     
  • Material created or controlled by the instructor, but hosted on another server. 
     
  • Class content maintained and hosted elsewhere will be reviewed for compliance, including class content provided by textbook publishers and other third-party websites.

 

Creating and Modifying Sites to be Accessible

Visit the Canvas Accessibility page to be guided in the creation and modification of Web materials to be accessible. Instructors are encouraged to put these principles into practice at the earliest possible date in order to make their sites accessible to persons with disabilities.

See also the Web Accessibility Checklist that summarizes Section 508 rules and WCAG 2.0 standards in a handy checklist format.

1 Sean Keegan http://ccctechedge.org/opinion/24-accessibility/696-accessibility-it-s-p...