The Struggle to Make Online Courses Accessible in Higher Ed

BY TANYA ROSCORLA, Center for Digital Education

Though the Americans with Disabilities Act has clear accessibility requirements, very rarely does anyone come knocking on college doors to find out whether they’re abiding by the law. The University of Illinois Springfield also encourages faculty members to adopt the Universal Design for Learning framework, and gives them the option to collaborate with instructional designers and faculty developers as they create their courses. With this strategy, the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service can take care of most students’ needs and work with the Office of Disability Services on technology accommodations for those who require extra support. “Sometimes we think, ‘Well, if we create an office of accessibility, we’ve done all we need to do,’ but it’s so much more than that,” said Vickie Cook, director of the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service at University of Illinois Springfield. “It’s really everyone’s job to think about accessibility, and that work is never done. Accessibility is an ongoing role and responsibility for everyone across campus.”

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