2 What is Accessibility?

“is considered accessible if it can be used as effectively by people with disabilities as it can by those without”[1]. Comparable access to information must be provided, taking the needs of all users and learners into account. True accessibility provides for not just the sightless and the hearing impaired, but also the color blind, those prone to seizures, and people with physical limitations that require keyboard navigation rather than the use of a mouse.

A common misconception is that accessibility is covered by the adherence to accommodation requirements. For example, instructors may believe that it isn’t their responsibility to provide transcripts or captions to students viewing a video in an online course. Instead, they might direct students to the disability resource office to provide the content in a modality that the student can use more effectively. However, providing closed captions for videos is an issue of accessibility, not accommodation. Accommodations and accessibility requirements are two different things and need to be considered separately, but at times can work together.


  1. LaGrow, Martin. “The Section 508 Refresh and What It Means for Higher Education.” EDUCAUSE Review, 4 Dec. 2017, er.educause.edu/articles/2017/12/the-section-508-refresh-and-what-it-means-for-higher-education.
  2. “What Is Accessibility? [CC].” YouTube, uploaded by Annie Elainey, 31 March 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsMo7SOuB1c.


Access for All Copyright © 2020 by Alison Grimes and Danielle Smith. All Rights Reserved.

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