Why should we be concerned?
In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which prohibited discrimination on the basis of disability, to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities. Inaccessible technology interferes with an ability to obtain and use information quickly and easily.
Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, open new opportunities for people with disabilities, and encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals. Although Section 508 was written by and for the government, higher education authorities in many states have determined it applies to college and university systems as well. To read more about Section 508 visit the Section508.gov website at: http://section508.gov/index.cfm
Due to changes in assistive technologies, web design, and delivery tools, Section 508 Refresh is being developed. The "refresh" is expected to reference Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0).
Web Accessibility, as defined by the Web Accessibility Initiative
(WAI), means people with disabilities (visual, auditory, physical, etc.) have the legal right
to perceive, understand, navigate, interact and contribute to the web.
This is especially true when it comes to education and access of online course content. At Brazosport College, we use Brightspace (by Desire2Learn) as our online learning management system. Brightspace supports the Web Accessibility initiative and follows their set accessibility guidelines (WCAG 2.0, ATAG 2.0, WAI-ARIA).
This means the infrastructure of Brightspace may be in compliance with accessibility guidelines, but the content (files) we put into our online course may not be.
American Disabilities Act - ADA (usdog.gov)
Web Accessibility Initiative - WAI (w3.org)
Web Content Accessibility Checklist - WCAG (w3.org)
Web Accessibility Presentations and Tutorials (w3.org)
Quick Links to Accessibility sections
Continue to next section: What are the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines?