Advocacy for Accessibility

It’s hard to estimate how many students have disabilities at our university. Due to privacy policies, we cannot directly ask someone if they are living with a disability; we must rely on their choice to register with to the UC Accessibility Resources. 

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (2011), though, 11% of national undergraduates in both 2007–08 and 2011–12 reported having a disability. Many more go unreported. Here at UC, Accessibility Resources registers on average of 800-1200 students per semester, but if we use the national percentages, the number of students with a disability on campus could be as high as 4,500. 

Digital materials on our websites, eLearning environments, and software applications are now an integral part of how we communicate and educate. Creating electronic materials that are barrier free ensures that everyone has access to the content you provide, including those who use assistive technology. And while it is a legal imperative, it is also a crucial civil rights issue.  

But removing barriers from electronic materials not only helps people using assistive technologies, it provides solutions for other learners as well.  

Other types of learners who benefit from eAccessibility are:

  • New language learners 

  • English as a second language learners

  • Students with low literacy 

  • Students with cognitive impairments

  • Students using older technologies to access the internet 

  • Students using mobile devices 

At the University of Cincinnati, electronic accessibility is reflected in our mission as a part of providing an inclusive environment for innovation and freedom of intellectual inquiry. If we all work together to improve our electronic materials, no matter how small the change, we will open doors to new opportunities for students along the way.

Written for the Accessibility Network by IT@UC's Communications Coordinator.