"Web Accessibility for Online Learning" is an unusually rich resource for faculty and instructional designers empowering them to produce more effective online course content and, in the process, provide unparalleled learning opportunities for a broad spectrum of learners. The lead author, Hadi Rangin, is ideally suited for this task. First he brings years of experience in the field of Web accessibility. Second, because of having a disability, he brings real life experience to the task.
The strength of this resource is that it has two main focuses. First, you will find that instead of stressing accessibility as such, it emphasizes the superior value of using universal design principles. Second, instead of burying you under hundreds of complicated and rigid technical standards, it sets forth a more limited set of best practices for you to follow. While online learning does involve the use of several different technologies, “Web Accessibility for Online Learning” knows that technology is the means and not the end. The goal is better teaching and learning for all.
When I began teaching over the Internet in the middle 1980s, many were skeptical that students could learn effectively online. I was involved in several experiments, and most demonstrated its value. There were some demonstrations that didn't work well. In reflecting on why, I realized that in those cases, I had shifted my focus away from the students to the technology. I am the CEO of EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information), and we do talk a lot about technology. However, in clarifying our mission, we awakened to the realization that what we were really about was people and not technology. It was only the means to empower people to find and fulfill their potential.
Norman Coombs, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, Rochester Institute of Technology
CEO EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information)