Look Who’s Talking About Accessibility and ADA-Compliant Online Courses
From one perspective, online learning has democratized higher education. Students in the military who are stationed overseas can pursue an education while deployed, and working professionals can take advanced courses and earn a degree while still providing for their families. In this way, online learning has made education overall more accessible.
Because online learning does not require students to physically travel to and sit in a traditional classroom, there can be a misconception that it is also inherently more accessible to students with disabilities. While this may be the case in some instances, if accessibility is not explicitly addressed by the course designer and/or instructor, it can quickly run afoul of ADA regulations and make learning more difficult for students with disabilities like vision impairment.
It is easy to gather from the publications below that even elite universities have work to do in order to make their online courses fully ADA-compliant and accessible to all students. Following are summaries from some of the leading research and opinion on developing and implementing ADA-compliant online courses that are accessible to all.