Information Technology Systems and Services.
ITSS home

Transcript: A Personal Look at Accessibility in Higher Education

The following text is a transcript for the video: A Personal Look at Accessibility in Higher Education.

Cherissa Alldredge:

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.

Curt Radford:

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.

Narrator:

Students, faculty, and staff in higher education need the web in order to be successful. But inaccessible websites can inhibit or severely restrict their participation in postsecondary settings.

Kasondra Payne:

It would take me forty five minutes to do an activity that it would take one of my classmates maybe fifteen to twenty. 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.

Jim Hess:

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.

Curt Radford:

Often times 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.

Narrator:

Inaccessible web content affects student experiences and learning, faculty and staff productivity, and overall timeliness and efficiency. Institutions of higher education have an obligation to provide accessible web content from the beginning, and making after-the-fact accommodations alone are insufficient.

Cherissa Alldredge:

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.

Jim Hess:

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 that 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.

Cherissa Alldredge:

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 um 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.

Narrator:

Some institutions in higher education are embracing the need for change, and implementing enterprise-wide accessibility.

Curt Radford:

I've noticed in the last little bit that the Internet has really improved. The information that is available. The accessibility. The captions that are there. It is just more accessible that it ever has been in the past. So it's much better than before.

Cherissa Alldredge:

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.

Kasondra Payne:

It was very easy to go into the online catalogue, check the boxes of what I was looking for, the enter my search terms, and go. Just the fact that I could go in and use it was really great.

iPhone:

[blip]

Narrator:

Accessible web content in higher education is critical if we are to ensure that all students, faculty, and staff are being given equal access.

Kasondra Payne:

Accessibility should be as important as the information that 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.

Curt Radford:

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.

Cherissa Alldredge:

And I don't want people to feel badly for me. Ah 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.

Narrator:

Is your institution's web presence accessible to all? The Goals project can help. To learn more visit ncdae.org/GOALS.