Thursday, April 13, 2017

Discovery at TxDLA

TxDLA held its annual conference in Galveston the last week in March. We started another round of the Online Certificate Program with a pre-conference session.  There were almost a dozen sessions during the conference that touched on accessibility issues, including mine.  (slides below)

Most of the sessions on accessibility were very good.  "Most" means that there was one that didn't meet my standards, and where they presented misinformation, which I was forced to correct.  It's always hard to know what information, or misinformation, will be presented when one is reviewing conference session proposals.

On the topic of misinformation, I was told by one university administrator that the institutional lawyer had taken the position, and told the administration, there was no reason to make courses accessible unless and until a student with a disability, approved by the Disability Services Office, was present in a course.   That might be accurate for a face-to-face course without any digital content (that would mean without a digital syllabus, digital resources, and especially links to websites that students are expected to explore as out-of-class activities).

Unfortunately I'm not surprised by the guidance offered by the institution's lawyer.   Unless an institution's lawyer is current on disability issues, especially the recent online consent decrees and findings by DoJ and OCR, there is a good chance they'll provide inaccurate guidance.