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A Personal Look at Accessibility in Higher Education

6 Comments

A Personal Look at Accessibility in Higher Education


The web is an essential aspect of my ability
to go to school. There are so many documents that are now available electronically that
are posted on websites for my courses that I really probably couldn’t
go to school without it. I use the internet for teaching and grading.
Also I use it for doing research to pull up information that I can look at.
Of course I use it for email. I mean really I use the internet for everything now. It would take me 45 minutes to do an activity that
it would take one of my classmates maybe 15 or 20. The site should be accessible; this is a higher ed thing.
This should be, I should be able to use this. So why do I need a third party?
Needing that person to push the buttons for me because the website is not accessible
is not acceptable in my book. The volume control was such that
I simply could not adjust it. They were so sensitive
and so small there have been a couple of times
where I have just had to give up. Oftentimes I have to go to somebody else around
the office and ask for more information. So that leaves me with a sense of dependence. But I think it ought to be more equitable,
that I ought to have access to it, whether they think it is important or not,
just like everybody else does. And there was no way, short of this experience,
that I would have ever understood the discrimination, and the need for assistive technologies and services and
those kinds of things that are required really. People who don’t have disabilities, I think
it is probably hard for them to even relate. If you’ve got a disability, they act like
there is a lot more than just the disability. They act like you are mentally incompetent and physically
incompetent, and basically an incompetent person. We are real people. I can think,
I’ve got good ideas. I can do productive things, and sometimes they just don’t give you credit
for that if they see you have a disability. I can be equally as successful as any of my
colleagues without disabilities. The fact that I need an accessible website or other accessibility
tools doesn’t diminish the value of my education or my potential. It just means that my success has to occur in a
different way, and so I would encourage those watching this video, not to assume that
I can’t, but to assume that I can. I’ve noticed in the last little bit that the internet has really improved. The information that’s available, the accessibility,
the captions that are there, it’s just far more accessible than it ever has been
in the past, so it’s much better than before. Well I was able to connect with the
Disability Resource Center here on campus. It was like utopia for me because
I realized at that moment that that made it easier for me to be equally
as successful as my non-disabled peers. It was very easy to go in to the online catalogue,
check the boxes of what I was looking for, then enter my search terms, and go.
Just the fact that I could go in and use it was really great. Accessibility should be as important as
the information you have on your site. You want as many people as possible to
be able to view your site, and utilize it. You should include
that from day one. What I want is equal use. You know, whether
it is for deaf people, blind people, regardless of the disability, they ought to have access
to the information that’s there. And I don’t want people to feel badly for
me, because I don’t feel badly for me, but I do want to be able to have the same opportunities
that individuals without disabilities have. The GOALS project can help. To learn more
visit ncdae.org/GOALS

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6 thoughts on “A Personal Look at Accessibility in Higher Education”

  1. ThinkCollegeVermont says:

    This is an incredibly important topic. Thanks for making this video; we should all be pushing for this kind of access across all campuses!

  2. MaineCITE says:

    Great resource. We'll help to get the word out about this video.

  3. P Berryman says:

    Background music is distracting as the volume level often competes with the voices of the people speaking and delivering important information to learners. The music derails my ability to listen to and understand the content. This is an example of poor accessibility for all learners.

  4. Dennis Thomas O'Connor says:

    As an online instructor, I am very aware of the need for creating accessible learning experiences. This video helps me empathize with the needs of all students. The message here is "Embrace the need for change".  

  5. Genie Craff says:

    As a graduate of Utah State University, with both my BS and my M.Ed. & a College Instructor online… somehow I knew that USU would lead the way. Thirty years ago they lead the way with teaching our family to become "accessible" for our son. A proud AGGIE! 🙂

  6. Tyler Shepard says:

    I agree that the internet is getting better however, their are still some places that could be improved upon in smaller colleges

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