Thursday, October 27, 2016

What Accessibility Training Does Your Institution Provide?

This is the second in a series of posts analyzing the Dudley v Miami Consent Decree.    

Accessibility Training

The Department of Justice (DOJ) gives the institution 6 months to provide mandatory accessible technology training to all employees responsible for: 
  • content on the institution’s websites; 
  • providing support for educational technology; 
  • procurement of educational or digital technology; 
  • converting materials into accessible formats.  
And, includes training for employees in Student Disability Services, and the Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity.  Also included in the training will be academic technology specialists from every college, school, and library as well as the person in HR responsible for ADA compliance.

In addition, the institution is required to provide training to all faculty and their administrative assistants.  Teaching assistants and student assistants also get trained if they help in any course with at least one student registered with Student Disability Services, or if they are hired to provide accommodations to students with disabilities.
That’s pretty comprehensive.  Anyone that has something to do with student learning.

Once all this training has taken place, the institution is not done.  It will need to provide training for all new hires that fall into one of the roles identified.

This is DoJ looking at ADA compliance. The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) deals with Section 504 compliance.  While there is overlap between the laws, there are also differences which play out in differences in recommendations/requirements.  Only about a third of students with disabilities self-disclose to the disability services office, so OCR has taken the position that digital materials need to be accessible even if there’s not a student known to disability services in the course.  DoJ is looking at more than just online accessibility, they expect the training to look at all potential technology barriers.

A more detailed discussion about the focus of the training will be in an upcoming post.

If your institution is not providing accessibility training to all the employees, you should be developing that training plan now.

Looking for help designing and/or providing that training, let me know. I can help.

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