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Digital Accessibility at Otterbein University

A resource guide on accessibility, making content accessible, and accessibility compliance.

What You Need to Know

The Law

According to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, any electronic information or technology that we develop, purchase, maintain or use must provide equitable access and use for individuals with disabilities. The access and use must be comparable to that provided to individuals without disabilities. To learn more visit the U. S. General Services Administration 508 website.

Definition of Accessible

"Accessible" means a person with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective and equally integrated manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use. The person with a disability must be able to obtain the information as fully, equally and independently as a person without a disability. Although this might not result in identical ease of use compared to that of persons without disabilities, it still must ensure equal opportunity to the educational benefits and opportunities afforded by the technology and equal treatment in the use of such technology. (Office of Civil Rights in the Resolution agreement with South Carolina Technical College System, 2/18/13)

Universal Design

Universal Design, or Inclusive Design, is the design and creation of environments both physical and digital that can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, physical stature, preferences, disability or ability. It should be a fundamental goal to design environments that meet the needs of all people. Incorporating the needs of all people results in spaces, products and service that are useful, beneficial and enjoyable for all. 

Developing your electronic materials using Universal Design principles is easy and simply, good design. To learn more review the Universal Design tab at the top of this page.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

Many institutions for higher learning and the eLearning community at large have adopted the criteria for accessibility of online content outlined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).  The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) set the bar for creators and developers of web content, which covers eLearning web-based platforms such as Moodle. To read more about WCAG 2.1 visit the W3C website.

Third Party Materials

When you require materials provided by a third party (e.g. a publisher textbook supplement site) ensure the materials you choose are accessible. If materials are not accessible provide an accessible, equitable alternative. Contact CAT with questions or for further direction as needed.

Federal Regulations

Rehabilitation Act of 1973
The Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by Federal agencies, in programs receiving Federal financial assistance, in Federal employment, and in the employment practices of Federal contractors.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities that are like those provided to individuals on the basis of race, sex, national origin, and religion.
Section 508, Rehabilitation Act
In June 2001 Section 508 of the Workforce Rehabilitation Act went into effect specifying the requirements for accessible Electronic and Information Technology that each federal agency needed to follow.
Section 504, Rehabilitation Act
Section 504 - is a part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibits discrimination based upon disability. Section 504 is an anti-discrimination, civil rights statute that requires the needs of students with disabilities to be met as adequately as the needs of the non-disabled are met.
Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110-315) (HEOA)
The Higher Education Opportunity Act ( HEOA) (PL 110-315) - was enacted on August 14, 2008, reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965. This law contains a number of important new provisions that improve access to post-secondary education for students with intellectual disabilities.

Accessibility - Essential for Some, Useful For All!

At Otterbein, we value inclusion on all levels and making our websites and digital content accessible to all people is one aspect of that mission. Having well designed, simple, organized and consistent content assists all people who access our website and digital learning platforms. Having documents that are machine readable assists not only people with vision issues, but also English language learners, people with processing challenges and dyslexia to name a few.