A poll of more than 700 higher ed IT staff suggests that a majority of institutions are facing legal challenges related to digital accessibility, but are not mandating accessibility training for staff, faculty or students.
The survey, published by Educause this week, found that 68% of respondents worked at institutions that have faced lawsuits, threats of legal action or government investigations into the accessibility of their online resources and technology. Only 76% of respondents said their institutions have an official plan to improve digital accessibility.
Most institutions offer accessibility training to faculty and staff, though it’s often optional. Survey respondents, who were not named, described training as “ad hoc” or highlighted that faculty are divided in their commitment.
“Some are very committed, while others do not think it is ‘their job’ to make course materials accessible to all students,” is quoted in the survey as saying.
Educause recommended that institutions mandate accessibility training by exploring “feasible and palatable options for making accessibility training a requirement, not only to minimize risks to the institution but, more importantly, to equip staff and faculty to better meet the needs of all students.” It also recommended that institutions hire additional dedicated accessibility staff.