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Distance Education and Accessibility Resource Guide Outline

Introduction | General Disability Distance Education Resources and Guidelines | Accessible Distance Education Courses on Assistive Technology | Accessible Distance Education Courses on ADA, Accessible IT, and Employment | Distance Education Courses on Web Accessibility | Conferences | Bibliography

Introduction

During the last several years, the range and magnitude of courses and other learning opportunities now available on the Internet has expanded tremendously. These courses range from those in higher education to professional services short courses, and even courses for fun and recreation. Such learning experiences involve computer and/or telecommunication-mediated communication that extend much farther than traditional distance education. Online courses attract people who have difficulty traveling large distances. Such courses are also beneficial to people with multiple chemical sensitivity and anxiety issues.

However, because technology is used to communicate, it poses both benefits and issues for students with disabilities. While the technology can be adapted or designed to include individuals with disabilities, inadequate or lack of any accessible design can impose new barriers to full participation in educational opportunities.

People with low vision, those who are blind, who have cognitive limitations, or who have limited physical mobility may have great difficulty in utilizing these online learning opportunities. While educational entities must comply with civil rights laws, such as Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act,1 many of these entities are designing inaccessible online learning resources. According to Cynthia Waddell of PSINet, "access to electronic and information technology for people with disabilities is emerging as a significant law and policy issue. Unless attention is paid to accessible Web design, this period of rapid technological development will create a digital divide locking out people from participation on the Web on the basis of disability" ("Electronic Curbcuts" The ADA in Cyberspace, American Bar Association website).

The beneficial effects of accessible distance learning using multimedia forms of communication—text, video, audio, synthetic speech—is that with skillful integration, "they can meet the needs of different sensory disabilities, and, at the same time, they can enrich communication for persons with different learning styles. In short, it takes thoughtful planning by the teacher [or online course developer] to use the technologies to meet everyone’s needs" (Coombs, N. "Universal Access with Adaptive Technology Discussed at 14th CSUN Conference," Library HI-Tech News, August 1999, No. 165, 13).

Since most of these distance-learning courses are web-based curricula, the web design must ensure that audio, graphics, and video clips are accessible to people with sensory or cognitive disabilities. For example, a person who is deaf will not be able to access the audio or video clip on a website unless the audio portion is also provided in captioned format. A person who is blind or who has learning disabilities cannot navigate a web page that is not coded to convey web content to text browsers and screen readers. According to Waddell,

Inaccessible Webpage design either hides text within images, frames, applets, or animated gifs or renders the text unintelligently in table, columnar, or portable document format (pdf). Even online forms are inaccessible, especially when designed to prevent keyboard navigation and input. Whether the form is posted for school, registration, or online banking or shopping transactions, people with visual and/or mobility disabilities face significant barriers to participation (Electronic Curbcuts" The ADA in Cyberspace, American Bar Association website).

In fact, many providers on inaccessible online curricula may not be aware that their materials are inaccessible, called "discrimination by inadvertence" by the National Council on Disability’s latest report, The Accessible Future (June 2001) .

To address the need for accessibility and distance learning opportunities, in August 1999 the Chancellor’s Office of the California Community Colleges released its guidelines, Distance Education: Access Guidelines for Students with Disabilities. This action was in response to the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, Web accessibility complaints. These guidelines are now considered a model for the nation.

U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige has reinforced President Bush’s proclamation to "leave no one behind" and pointed out that students with disabilities can reap great benefits from distance learning. However, at the present time, distance-learning opportunities for individuals with disabilities is still a potential issue, especially since so many educational entities practice "discrimination by inadvertence." According to Art Blaser, Professor of Political Science at Chapman University (Orange, California), "online education is high on many agendas; web access isn’t. There is a lot that’s accessible in the current state of distance learning. But the truth is, I notice the inaccessible stuff. And there’s far more of that". ("Distance Learning—Boon or Bane?" Ragged Edge Magazine, September 2001 .)

Even though many education associations, commissions, and organizations advocate for education for individuals with disabilities, Blaser has found that they do not specify what their level of commitment is for their online accessibility. For example, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.’s Commission on Institutions of Higher Education’s guidelines on electronic education developed by the regional accrediting commissions states "requirements for service to those with disabilities" as an example of "legal and regulatory requirements" but does not specify anything more. The Western Association of Schools and Colleges states only that "access for learning or physically challenged students may pose some concerns since these students frequently avail themselves of distance learning."

Besides many educational entities’ lack of accessible online offerings, many are contracting with several for-profit software corporations offering "platforms" for conducting online courses. Most of these companies are not aware of the disability access issues and how people with disabilities use assistive technology, such as screen readers, to use the Internet.

Accessibility Not an "Add-On"

When online accessibility cost-effective arguments occur, the civil rights of such access should counteract any such discussions. However, Blaser points out that these arguments continue to be used showing that an "expensive" course could cost $30,000 to adapt with a "less-expensive" course at $15,000. However, such costs indicate that accessibility is perceived as an "add-on" feature to an already existing inaccessible course. Educational entities and the software platforms they purchase need to understand that "following accessible design principles and using the accessible features of ready-made software costs nothing more at all" (Ibid.). In fact, accessible design is often less expensive than using lots of graphics, video, and animation that renders many sites inaccessible when communicating content is the important feature. However, graphics, video, and animation can be made accessible by building into the website design descriptive alternative text. "Programmers now are much cheaper than lawyers later," states disability advocate, William Loughborough.

At Oregon State University’s (OSU) Center for Technology Access, Director Ron Stewart notes that providing adaptive information technology equipment and software to more efficiently access online curricula and information is not as costly as originally perceived. OSU conducted a study of the cost of assisting a student who is blind through a four-year degree program. What the institution found was that without adaptive technology, the cost averaged nearly $10,000; with adaptive technology, the cost was only $1,500. As Norman Coombs reveals, "not only does adaptive technology provide the student with more independence and better prepare the student for the workplace, but adaptive technology is cost-effective for the university" (Coombs, N. "Universal Access with Adaptive Technology Discussed at 14th CSUN Conference." Library HI-Tech News, August 1999, 15).

Blaser believes that the disability community can affect the future of distance learning by educating educational entities that accessible online learning is not just the "right thing to do," it’s the "only thing to do." (Blaser, A. "Distance Education—Boon or Bane?" Ragged Edge Magazine, Iss. 5, September 2001.)

Included in this guide are links to accessibility and distance learning resources and guidelines; assistive technology courses; ADA, accessible IT, and employment courses; web accessibility courses; conferences; and a bibliography.

General Disability Distance Education Resources and Guidelines

The Center for High Tech Training for Individuals with Disabilities
Valencia Community College in Orlando, Florida offers Professional Success Skills 2000. This online course improves work-readiness and complements technical training programs for people with disabilities. This distance-learning tool box contains a workbook and interactive videotape. It is comprised of workplace skill modules including critical thinking, problem solving, team building, and self-management skills. The outstanding academic and professional success of the adult learners who complete rigorous Computer-Assisted Design and Drafting (CADD) or PC Support Specialist (PCSS) training at Valencia is mirrored by some 54-member institutions of the Associations of Rehabilitation Programs in Computer Programs in Computer Technology across the country.

Distance Education: Access Guidelines for Students with Disabilities, August 1999.
These guidelines, published by the Chancellor's Office of the California Community Colleges, are considered by many to be a model for accessible distance education for higher education facilities.

Do-IT, University of Washington
DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) is comprised of people with disabilities successfully pursuing academics and careers; programs to promote the use of technology to maximize the independence, productivity and participation of people with disabilities; and professional development for K-12 educators and post-secondary faculty and administrators.

The Center for High Tech Training for Individuals with Disabilities
Valencia Community College in Orlando, Florida offers Professional Success Skills 2000. This online course improves work-readiness and complements technical training programs for people with disabilities. This distance-learning tool box contains a workbook and interactive videotape. It is comprised of workplace skill modules including critical thinking, problem solving, team building, and self-management skills. The outstanding academic and professional success of the adult learners who complete rigorous Computer-Assisted Design and Drafting (CADD) or PC Support Specialist (PCSS) training at Valencia is mirrored by some 54-member institutions of the Associations of Rehabilitation Programs in Computer Programs in Computer Technology across the country.

IMS Global Learning Consortium and CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media
IMS Global and WGBH Boston collaborated to present a set of guidelines to educate the eLearning community about the challenges that people with disabilities face in accessing online education and to provide solutions and resources to solve them. Major support of these efforts is provided by the Learning Anywhere Anytime Partnerships program of the U.S. Department of Education. The guidelines are a comprehensive source on accessibility, which includes principles for accessibility in online learning, accessible delivery of text, audio, images, and multimedia, using XML for accessibility, and legal issues for accessible distance learning.

Model Distance Learning Computer Training Program for Blind and Visually Impaired Individuals
Iowa Department for the Blind runs this program to increase information technology (IT) educational opportunities and employability in the IT field by training both individuals who are blind or who have low vision and VR professionals. This program also disseminates training materials and research results to agencies serving individuals with blindness and low vision.

Northwest Center for Technology Access, Oregon State University
Oregon State University’s guiding principle is: "Any student with a disability who participates in the Distance Education programs of a college or university must be guaranteed equal and equitable access to the program."

Planemath Program
An Internet-Based Curriculum on Math & Aeronautics for 4th-7th graders with physical disabilities, Planemath offers links for both teachers and students. This program is funded through a cooperative agreement with NASA. The lessons are based on national mathematics standards and aeronautic guidelines.

Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D)
RFB&D’s materials are for all people who cannot effectively read standard paring because of a visual, perceptual, or other physical disability. RFB&D is working on an experimental project to deliver textbooks over the Internet.

Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) Distance Learning Program
RIC is considered the largest continuing education trainer of physical medicine and rehabilitation professionals in the United States. Both archived and live presentations are available ranging in topics from budgeting basics to the management of multiple sclerosis.

SNOW (Special Needs Opportunity Windows)
SNOW is a Canadian government-sponsored project providing professional development programs for teachers and resources for children with disabilities.

VATU (Virtual Assistive Technology University)
VATU is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and is one of many assistive technology projects offered by ALLTech at the University of Southern Maine, an NCATE-accredited institution. ALLTech prepares the nation's educators to understand and apply information, technical assistance, and professional development about Web accessibility, assistive technology, specialized and educational software, and universal design in curriculum with children and youth who have disabilities.

 

Accessible Distance Education Courses on Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology Applications Certificate Program (ATACP)
California State University at Northridge offers a 100-hour, online training workshop.

Assistive Technology for Kansans Project
This project coordinates the statewide assistive technology distance-learning program.

Institute on Disabilities, Temple University’s Center for Excellence
Temple’s Institute on Disabilities offers a series of courses on assistive technology for students, professionals and anyone interested in learning how assistive technology equipment and services can enhance the independence and quality of life of individuals with disabilities. Current courses offered cover areas such as augmentative communication, recreation, seating and mobility, computer and environmental controls, and funding. The offerings include: Administration of Assistive Technology Services, Assistive Technology: A Family Affair, Augmentative & Alternative Communication: Systems & Assessment, Classroom Organization: Technologies, Collaborative Studies in Assistive Technology; Computer Access: Selected Devices, Funding: Assistive Technology, Low and Elementary Assistive Technology Applications, Overview of Assistive Technology, Positioning and Mounting, Screening Techniques for Assistive Technology, Software Applications: Young Children, Switches and Toys, The Assessment Process, Young Children: Assistive Technology Applications.

Maine CITE: Technology Collaboration through Distance Learning
Maine CITE is a statewide project designed to help make assistive and universally designed technology more available to Maine children and adults who have disabilities.

RIATT (Research Institute for Assistive and Training Technologies)
The National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE)’s comprehensive program has been evaluated by such organizations as the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), several State Departments of Education, and universities throughout the country. As a result, special education professionals and students can take these courses for professional development units and Competency Certificates from NASDSE, licensure hours from NASP, CEUs from ASHA, and undergraduate and graduate credit as well as degrees from several universities throughout the country.

VATU (Virtual Assistive Technology University)
VATU is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and is one of many assistive technology projects offered by ALLTech at the University of Southern Maine, an NCATE-accredited institution. ALLTech prepares the nation's educators to understand and apply information, technical assistance, and professional development about Web accessibility, assistive technology, specialized and educational software, and universal design in curriculum with children and youth who have disabilities.

 

Accessible Distance Education Courses on ADA. Accessible IT, and Employment

ADA Distance Learning Workshops
These workshops are a collaborative effort by several DBTACs (Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers)—ADA regional centers. These ADA workshops use a combination of teleconferencing and web-based technologies to deliver cost-effective continuing education on the ADA. The program is designed to offer advanced information on the ADA as building blocks to an individual's existing foundation of basic ADA knowledge. The subject-specific sessions are one-hour in length with interactive opportunity for question and answers. Supplemental materials are posted to the web for participants to review and prepare for each session.

ADA A-Z
ADA A-Z is a self-study course that provides a fun and interesting way to increase awareness and understanding of the ADA on employment, physical accessibility, state and local governments, effective communication, and the rights of people with disabilities.

ADA Accesibility Guidelines (ADAAG) Education Course
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Access Board sponsor an online training course on the Access Board’s ADAAG. The course focuses on supplements to ADAAG that cover public sector facilities, including courthouses and prisons, and building elements designed for children’s use. The AIA plans to make this course available on its web site to train architects and provide continuing education credits to its members and others.

EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information)
Online course on accessible E-learning. This month-long course will both spell out some problems and point the way to a number of solutions to level the playing field.

ITTATC (Information Technology Technical Assistance and Training Center
ITTATC promotes the development of accessible electronic and information technology by providing technical assistance, training and information. The project sponsors training webcasts on IT and telecommunications.

TechConnections
TECH CONNECTIONS project sponsors quarterly audio conferences and yearly satellite broadcasts on various subjects related to assistive technology and employment.

Web-Based Certificate Series on Supported Employment
The "any time-any where" distance learning philosophy has been adopted by the Research and Training Center (RTC) on Workplace Support, a program of Virginia Commonwealth University. The 18-week course addresses supported employment from six perspectives: federal policy and historical perspective, customer profile and employment selection, organizational marketing and job development, job site training, long-term support, and funding.

 

Distance Education Courses on Web Accessibility

EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information)
EASI is one of the premiere providers of online and onsite training about accessible information technology for schools, universities, libraries and other information providers. EASI offers beginners’ and advanced-level online classes on accessible web design. EASI also offers online e-learning courses.

ITTATC
ITTATC’s Web Accessibility Course, intended for intermediate-level web designers and developers, teaches the techniques and strategies for designing creative and accessible web sites.

Section508.gov
Web masters can find out what accessibility is all about, what the standards are, and how to design for 508 compliance by exploring the web-based course Designing Accessible Web Sites, found in the "508 Universe".

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
The W3C provides an introductory training, guidelines for web content accessibility, checkpoints for meeting the guideline requirements, and examples for implementing the checkpoints.

WebAIM (Web Accessibility In Mind)
WebAIM is administered through a grant provided by the Learning Anywhere Anytime Program Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education. Its goal is to improve accessibility to online learning opportunities for all people; in particular to improve accessibility for individuals with disabilities who currently may have a difficult time getting access to postsecondary online learning opportunities.

 

Conferences (Note: The conferences listed in this section may or may not include distance education regarding learners with disabilities.)

E-Learn 2002, World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare & Higher Education, October 15-19, 2002, Montreal, Canada. Co-sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE) and the International Journal on E-Learning.

"e-Learning in Higher Education: Reaching New Heights", November, 6-9, Denver, CO. Sponsored by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WCET).

Digital Education Leadership Conversation, December 5-6, 2002, San Diego, CA. Sponsored by Converge Magazine; 3Com; AMD; Apple Computer, Inc.; DellE.com; Gateway; Hewlett Packard; Intel; Microsoft; Mitel; Sun Microsystems; and Symantec.

Tenth Annual Distance Education Conference, January 21-24, 2003, Austin, TX. Sponsored by the Center for Distance Learning Research, Texas A&M University.

A Virtual National Conference, January 21-30, 2003, online. Sponsored by the North Carolina Distance Learning Alliance. The NC Distance Learning Alliance is a consortium of educators dedicated to promoting excellence in online instruction from North Carolina’s three leading public instruction systems: the University of North Carolina College System, the North Carolina Community College System and the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

Stop Surfing-Start Teaching 2003 National Conference: Teaching and Learning Through the Internet, February 16-19, 2003, Las Vegas, NV. Sponsored by the University of South Carolina, Continuing Education Program.

19th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning, August 12-15, 2003, Madison, WI. Sponsored by the University of Wisconsin, The Graduate Program in Continuing and Vocational Education.

 

Bibliography

For additional publications on distance education and disabilities, check the NARIC Search section on their web site or call NARIC at 1/800-346-2742.

Amtmann, D. & Johnson, K. L. "Increasing Access to Higher Education through the Use of the Internet." Technology and Disability, 8(3), 133-139, 1998.

Bitter, J. A. "Learner Online Interaction." Journal of Rehabilitation Administration, 24(1), 37-45, 2000.

Bitter, J. A. "Distance Learning Considerations." Journal of Rehabilitation Administration, 22(2), 129-135, 1998.

Blaser, A. "Distance Education—Boon or Bane?", Ragged Edge Magazine, Iss. 5, September 2001.

Burbules, N. C. & Callister, T. A. Universities in Transition: The Promise and the Challenge of New Technologies, 2000.

Burgstahler, S. "Universal Design of Distance Learning", Information Technology and Disabilities, (8)(1), Special Issue: Distance Education and Disability, January 2002.

Carnevale, D. "Colleges Strive to Give Disabled Students Access to On-Line Courses." The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 29, 1999.

Cavalier, A. "Faculty Support: Removing the Barriers to Effective Distance Education in Assistive Technology." Technology for the New Millennium, Proceedings of the RESNA 2000 Annual Conference, June 28-July 2, 2000, Orlando, FL, RESNA Press, Arlington, VA, 2000, 261-263.

Cavalier, A. "Distance Education for Postsecondary Students with Diverse Needs: The State of the Art and Science." The State of the Arts and Science, Proceedings of the RESNA 1998 Annual Conference, Minneapolis, MN, June 26-30, 1998. RESNA Press, Arlington, VA, 1998, 318-320.

Chancellor’s Office of the California Community Colleges, Distance Education: Access Guidelines for Students with Disabilities, August 1999.

Collins, B. C., Schuster, J. W., & Grisham-Brown, J. "So You’re a Distance Learner? Tips and Suggestions for Rural Special Education Personnel Involved in Distance Education." Rural Special Education Quarterly, 18(3-4), 66-70, 1999.

Cook, R. A., & Gladhart, M. A. "A Survey of Online Instructional Issues and Strategies for Postsecondary Students with Learning Disabilities", Information Technology and Disabilities, (8)(1), Special Issue: Distance Education and Disability, January 2002.

Coombs, N. "Universal Access with Adaptive Technology Discussed at 14th CSUN Conference," Library HI-Tech News, August 1999, No. 165, 13.

Coombs, N. "Bridging the Disability Gap with Distance Learning." Technology and Disability, 8(3), 149-152, 1998.

Cooper, H. & Keefe, C. H. "Preparation of Teachers of Visually Impaired Students via Distance Education: Perceptions of Teachers." Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 95(9), 563-566.

Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Teacher Education Division. "Training Rural Educators in Kentucky through Distance Learning: A Model with Follow-Up Data." Teacher Education and Special Education, 20(3), 234-248, 1998.

DeMario, N. C. & Heinze, T. "The Status of Distance Education in Personnel Preparation Programs in Visual Impairment." Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 95(9), 525-532.

Disability Statistics Center, Disability and the Digital Divide, Disability Statistics Abstract No. 22, August 2000,

DisabilityWorld.com, "European Survey on eLearning for Disabled People."

Dolby, N. Riding with Margaret: Reflections on the Limitations of Distance Learning, 2001.

Electronic Training Village, "What Is the Extent of eLearning in Europe?" European eLearning Summit, Brussels, May 10-11, 2001.

Freed, K. A History of Distance Learning: The Rise of the Telecourse, Part 1 of 3, 1999).

Gallagher, P. A. & McCormick, K. "Student Satisfaction with Two-Way Interactive Distance Learning for Delivery of Early Childhood Special Education Coursework." Journal of Special Education Technology, 14(1), 32-44, 1999.

Grisham-Brown, J., Knoll, J. A., Collins, B. C., Baird, C. M. "Multi-University Collaboration via Distance Learning to Train Rural Special Education Teachers and Related Services Personnel." Journal of Special Education Technology, 13(4), 110-121, 1998.

Huebner, K. M. & Weiner, W. R. "Distance Education in 2001." Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 95(9), 517-524.

Lance, G. D. "Distance Learning and Disability: A View From the Instructor’s Side of the Virtual Lectern," Information Technology and Disabilities, (8)(1), Special Issue: Distance Education and Disability, January 2002.

Liu, L., Cook, A. M., & Varnhagen, S. "Evaluation of technologies for distance delivery of continuing education to rehabilitation professionals." The AT Odyssey Continues: Proceedings of the RESNA 2001 Annual Conference, June 22-26, 2001, Reno, NV, RESNA Press, Arlington, VA, 163-165.

Ludlow, B. L., & Brannan, S. A. "Distance Education Program Preparing Personnel for Rural Areas: Current Practices, Emerging Trends, and Future Directions." Rural Special Education Quarterly, 18 (3-4), 5-20, 1999.

Lueck, A. H. "Live and Online: A Year-round Training Program for Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments in California." Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 95(9), 533-542.

National Council on Disability. The Accessible Future (June 2001).

Paralyzed Veterans of America. "Class Action." Paraplegia News, 55(2), 12-17, 2001

Pisha, B. & Coyne, P. "Smart from the Start: The Promise of Universal Design for Learning." Remedial and Special Education, 22(4), July/August 2001, 197-203.

Putisek, M., Marincek, C., & Bester, J. "New Opportunities: Distance Learning for People with Special Needs." Assistive Technology on the Threshold of the New Millennium, AAATE [Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe] 1999 Conference Proceedings, Amsterdam, 86-89, 1999.

Russell, M. "Shirley Does the Disabled, "PR Watch Archives", 8(2).

Sargent, C. A., Binion, M., & Wilson, S. "The Ohio Assistive Technology Distance Learning Project: A Review of the First Year." Spotlight on Technology, Proceedings of the RESNA 1999 Annual Conference, June 25-29, 1999, Long Beach, CA, RESNA Press, Arlington, VA, 1999, 168-171.

Sargent, C. A., Binion, M., & Owens, D. "The Ohio Assistive Technology Distance Learning Project: Evolution to Web-based Education and the Implementation of an Impact Study." The AT Odyssey Continues: Proceedings of the RESNA 2001 Annual Conference, June 22-26, 2001, Reno, NV, RESNA Press, Arlington, VA, 208-210.

Sax, C. "Distance Education: Taking It to the Next Level." Spotlight on Technology, Proceedings of the RESNA 1999 Annual Conference, June 25-29, 1999, Long Beach, CA, RESNA Press, Arlington, VA, 1999, 291-293.

Sax, C. "Learning from a Distance: Assistive Technology Training for Rehabilitation Counselors." The State of the Arts and Science, Proceedings of the RESNA 1998 Annual Conference, Minneapolis, MN, June 26-30, 1998. RESNA Press, Arlington, VA, 1998, 311-313.

Scadden, L. A. "The Internet and the Education of Students with Disabilities." Technology and Disability, 8(3), 141-148, 1998.

Schenker, K. T., & Scadden, L. A. "The Design of Accessible Distance Education Environments that Use Collaborative Learning", Information Technology and Disabilities, (8)(1), Special Issue: Distance Education and Disability, January 2002.

Schnorr, J. M. "Developing and Using Technology for Course Delivery." Teacher and Special Education, 22(2), 114-122, 1999.

Tobin, T. J. "Issues in Preparing Visually Disabled Instructors to Teach Online: A Case Study,", Information Technology and Disabilities, (8)(1), Special Issue: Distance Education and Disability, January 2002.

Waddell, C. "Electronic Curbcuts" The ADA in Cyberspace, American Bar Association website.

Wood, W. M., Miller, K., & Test, D. W. "Using Distance Learning to Prepare Supported Employment Professionals." Journal of Rehabilitation, 64(3), 48-53, 1998.


Note#1 Online access is the law. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that people with disabilities not be "excluded from the participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance," including higher education. The Americans with Disabilities Act's Title II applies to state colleges and universities. "[T]he issue is not whether the student with the disability is merely provided access, but the extent to which the communication is actually as effective as that provided to others," said the Dept. of Education's Office of Civil Rights's 1998 report on the California Community Colleges. " Title II also strongly affirms the important role that computer technology is expected to play as an auxiliary aid. The ADA's Title III applies to "public accommodations," which include private colleges. The ADA mandates nondiscrimination "in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations."

The 1998 amendments to the Rehabilitation Act include Section 508, which requires that electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by the Federal government be accessible to people with disabilities. Section 508's rules just took effect this past June. Although this may not constitute an obligation for universities that don't sell goods to the federal government, more universities than you might imagine do have federal government contracts. (Blaser, A. "Distance Education-Boon or Bane?", Ragged Edge Magazine, Iss. 5, September 2001.)

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The National Assistive Technology Technical Assistance Partnership is a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Department of Education and RESNA. The grant (Grant #H224B050003; CFDA 84.224B) is funded under the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended and administered by the Rehabilitation Services Administration, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the U.S. Department of Education.

This website is developed with grant funds. The information contained on these pages does not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the U.S. Department of Education or the Grantee and no official endorsement of the information should be inferred.