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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the current extent of our faculty’s familiarity with the rights, responsibilities, and resources pertaining to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508 of the Workforce Rehabilitation Act insofar as compliance and accommodations for online courses. Through the collection of data we sought to heighten awareness and encourage faculty members to look at and think about how their online programs and courses are consistent with accessible design, thereby providing a real opportunity for continuous improvement in both course design and implementation. An electronic researcher-created survey instrument revealed that accessibility compliance for sensory disabilities within online courses has not been achieved and a lack of familiarity with the requisite expectations is also very much in evidence. Faculty raised topics such as when courses should be designed to be accessible and who bears ultimate responsibility for compliance. We discuss several initiatives we have brought to our university to facilitate expediency on this matter as well as cultivate a more “humanized” instructor presence within online classes.

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