This guide was created for CCNY's Accessibility Workshop. This guide will go through accessibility best practices, creating accessible content and various platform accessibility instructions (WordPress, Blackboard and LibGuides).
The web's importance in our daily lives continues to grow. The internet is the new public square. It is a place where ideas, information, education, entertainment, and commerce are taking place. Open Educational Resources (OER) are definitely part of this new public square. OER is about building and sharing knowledge with as many people as possible. Accessibility is part of that mission and means making your OER usable by people of all abilities.
Making sure your course and department sites and materials are accessible to as many people as possible is not only ethically responsible, it is also legally required by the ADA. Currently many schools and businesses are being sued because their sites and content are not accessible. In 2015, Harvard and MIT were sued by advocates for the deaf for falling to caption online lectures, courses and other educational materials.
In 2019 Harvard settled agreeing to “caption Harvard-produced content posted on or after Dec. 1, 2019. For pieces of content posted earlier, Harvard will provide captions within five business days. Harvard will also provide captions for livestreams of University-wide events.”
In 2020 MIT settled agreeing "to provide industry standard captioning for publicly-available online content, including video and audio content posted on MIT.edu as well as MIT’s YouTube, Vimeo, and Soundcloud pages, certain live-streaming events and online courses such as Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), MITx and MIT OpenCourseWare."
Beyoncé isn't even above the ADA. In January 2019, a class action lawsuit against Beyoncé was filed, claiming her website violated the ADA because it employs an exclusively visual interface and those with vision issues cannot browse the site and make online purchases without the assistance of a sighted companion.(Cullins, 2019)
Work through this guide and see how to create accessible content so as many users as possible will be able to fully access your course, course materials and the knowledge you are trying to share.
CUNY affirms its commitment to making it's web-based, electronic content accessible. CUNY uses the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Version 2.0, AA conformance level as its accessibility standard.