Technology can address digital accessibility — to an extent

Adam Nemeroff, an instructional designer in Dartmouth College’s department of academic and campus technology services, admits he has “super-complicated and conflicted” thoughts about the role of technology in ensuring that digital courses and curricular materials are fully accessible to all students. He’s seen his institution and others in recent years talk more about accessibility and invest in digital tools to address concerns head-on. But he thinks there’s a downside to being too tool focused.

“If you’re starting with the technology, you’re doing it wrong,” Nemeroff said. “In my experiences, it’s mostly an issue of perspective to show where these problems could arise for specific individuals and people really understanding that.”

Institutions have begun taking accessibility more seriously as the threat of litigation has grown, enforcement has grown more stringent and challenges for students have garnered more mainstream discussion. Learning management systems like Blackboard and Canvas are among the companies offering products and services billed as early-warning systems and even antidotes to accessibility shortcomings. Institutions are striving in greater numbers toward universal design for learning, which emphasizes multifaceted tech-driven approaches to improving students’ access to learning.

[ Read the full article at Inside Higher Ed. ]

 For more information on using technologies in your classes, contact the University Center for Teaching and Learning’s Teaching Support unit.