Why Does Accessibility Matter?

Accessibility refers to the creation and delivery of content. Using  technology effectively and efficiently can make developing accessible content easy. It's simply a matter of knowing how to do it.


When developing your course, department/research center website, and/or presentations, it's important to think about how to make your materials accessible to all learners, especially for those who may have a disability. The principles of Universal Design for Learning are a great guideline for creating accessible materials.


Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a design framework used to improve, and optimize delivery and access to published materials whether they be on the web, in a presentation, or a book. UDL is a framework "...rooted in the learning sciences,"  and "based on scientific insights into how humans learn." n. (CAST Center for Applied Special Technology)


As a public entity, we create, curate and deliver various forms of information (e.g., video, audio, graphics, surveys and polls, etc.). We do this for the public, for all.  The Office of Civil Rights is the entity tasked with ensuring access to education. Two federal laws also require program access and accessible courses: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. In New York, we are also bound by the accessibility guidelines pertaining to technology included within Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.


As you create materials for use with students and the public, ensure that they are in line with the above referenced standards and guidelines. Conforming to these standards will benefit students with disabilities, and will help all of your students access and use the content of your course.


All learners benefit when content is accessible. We must create a path, so that all learners can succeed. While the legal reasons are compelling, our commitment to accessibility as a public institution of higher education is a matter of both ethical, and pedagogical importance. 


If you are interested in earning a certificate and badges for accessibility and Universal Design for Learning, please register for the self-paced course "Accessibility: Designing and Teaching Courses for All Learners" on Canvas that was created by SUNY Buffalo State & SUNY Empire State and funded by a SUNY Innovative Instruction Design Grant.

You can also check out the scheduled workshops related to accessibility or Request a Training on Accessibility.

 *SUNY Faculty Advisory Council on Teaching and Technology (FACT2)

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Article ID: 69417
Fri 12/28/18 2:24 PM
Fri 1/17/20 2:17 PM