What should faculty know about Technology and Accessibility?
There are all kinds of technologies that can be useful to individuals with and without disabilities. Unfortunately there are also all kinds of barriers that can pop up if those technologies are not designed with usability for diverse populations in mind.
See the letter from the US Department of Justice and Department of Education that was addressed to College or University Presidents in June 2010 as well as the Frequently Asked Questions document that was issued in May 2011.
Examples of accessible technologies include features within operating systems, browser extensions and free applications that magnify, read out loud, or allow for voice recognition. There are also more expensive standalone products as well as a wide range of hardware that can afford greater usability to a wide variety of individuals. The trick is that many of these accessible technologies can only be used with content that is accessible. Sometimes an individual who is using assistive technology has a hard time accessing documents and websites if those resources are not designed with technology users in mind. Luckily, it is not hard to design for accessibility, it just takes awareness of what makes content more usable.
Learn more about accessible technologies within mainstream technologies as well as information regarding more specialized Assistive Technology.
Faculty who want to learn more can also contact Disability Support Services to receive training and/or borrow loaner equipment to become better acquainted with the differences in how individuals interact with information.
DSS serves as a resource for questions related to technology and information accessibility. Additionally, DSS maintains a lending library of disability-related periodicals, books, and videotapes and also conducts free workshops that are open to the community.
World Wide Access