Parry, M. (2010) Colleges lock out blind students online Chronicle of Higher Education, December 17
‘Colleges that wouldn’t dare put up a new building without wheelchair access now routinely roll out digital services that, for blind people, are the Internet equivalent of impassable stairs.’
This about says it all. The US Department of Education estimates that there are 75,000 visually impaired students in the USA. Most of the article is about one, admittedly activist, blind person, but it also provides access to a table that ‘scores’ a large number of US universities in their web accessibility for the blind (although I’m not so sure how accessible the Chronicle’s table is to the blind, who are the one’s who really need to know this – we all have to be careful not to throw stones on this issue because of our own glass houses.).
One point I strongly agree with in the article is that technology should make it better, not worse, for blind people. There are solutions out there (such as Readspeaker) that while not perfect for blind people, do make a big difference, at very little extra cost. It is more a question of sensitivity to the issue, and will to do something about it. Above all, accessibility tools should come as standard components of any learning management system.
Keller, J. (2010) Cal State’s Strong Push for Accessible Technology gets results Chronicle of Higher Education, December 12