Author: Christine Scherer

Web Accessibility: What’s the Law Say?

When talking about web accessibility, many people will reference the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as the law that requires websites to be made accessible. This isn’t an entirely accurate description, however. In actuality, there is no single web accessibility law or statute. Instead, the legal requirements of web accessibility stem from a patchwork of laws and court decisions, which can often lead to confusion when trying to enforce web accessibility standards–especially in higher education. Let’s try to demystify some of this confusion and go through the major laws that dictate web accessibility. Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504 While


Student Services Panel: September 2017 Online Learning Webinar

The September Online Learning Webinar had presenters from Student Services, the Registrar’s Office, the Writing Place, and the University Library. Students may have questions or issues that impact their learning experience, but are beyond the ability of faculty to address. Each presenter explained how the resources in their area can help students and allow faculty to focus on teaching. Sean Kavanaugh, NU SPS Director of Academic and Career Management, presented on the student experience outside the classroom, the adviser’s role at SPS, and the work of Student Services at SPS and the larger university. Ashley Cook, NU SPS Registration Lead,


Top Five Takeaways from AHEAD

Last month, I had the privilege of attending the national conference of the Association of Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD). The three-day conference was a time for staff, faculty, and students who work in disability services and accessibility to meet and share their knowledge, experiences, and stories. I had the opportunity to present on the Distance Learning department’s efforts on web accessibility and share our processes and guidelines with other institutions. I also attended numerous sessions and learned a great deal about accessibility, disability services, and disability culture. Here are five of the many, many takeaways I brought back from


IDS 425 Showcase: August Online Learning Webinar

In the August Online Learning Webinar, IDS faculty David Noffs and SPS learning designer Jessica Mansbach discussed their collaboration in the development and launch of IDS 425: Learning Environment Design. They provided an overview of the design and development process for an online course and discussed highlights of their collaboration as well as challenges they faced. To watch the recording, visit Blue Jeans. You can also visit the Showcase page.  


Vetting Web Tools for Accessibility

Recently, Instructional Technologist William Guth has written about Web 2.0 Selection Criteria, which help online learning faculty and staff select the best web tools for their course. One of those criteria is making sure that the tool is accessible. But how can you find out? Given the vast variety of tools available, it’s a tough question to answer. But there are a few things you can do to make sure that a web tool has some degree of accessibility for students. What does accessibility mean? In this instance, accessibility means making sure that a tool can be accessed and interacted