Nearly 200 colleges face federal civil rights investigations opened in 2019 about whether they are accessible and communicate effectively to people with disabilities.
As a result, colleges are rolling out social media accessibility standards and training communications staff members to take advantage of built-in accessibility tools in platforms including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
For example, last fall, a blind man filed 50 lawsuits against colleges whose websites he said didn’t work with his screen reader. And on August 21, in Payan v. Los Angeles Community College District, the Federal District Court for the Central District of California ruled that Los Angeles Community College failed to provide a blind student with “meaningful access to his course materials” via MyMathLab, software developed by Pearson, in a timely manner.
YouTube and Facebook have options to automatically generate captions on videos posted there, while Twitter users with access to its still-developing Media Studio can upload videos with captions. Users can provide alt-text, or descriptive language describing images, through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Hootsuite.
California State University at Long Beach, for instance, advises posting main information first and hashtags last to make messages clear for people using screen readers. The University of Minnesota calls for indicating whether hyperlinks point to [AUDIO], [PIC], or [VIDEO]. This summer, leaders at the College of William & Mary held a training workshopfor the institution’s communications staff in response to an Office for Civil Rights investigation.
an online website accessibility center.
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