[Athen] Accessibility Exceptions?

Khoa Pham kpham at swccd.edu
Tue Sep 7 15:33:37 PDT 2021

Hi Mark,

You’ve hit the nail right on the head. I appreciate the reminder. Coursework and materials are required to be accessible from the get go, as much as possible, and if full accessibility can’t be met then accommodation will be provided.

Your confirmation that “There may be reasons that persons with disabilities are taking any classes” can back up my argument that a course should be prepared for students regardless of whether they have a disability or not. People may need the knowledge in order to fill a role in a industry, even if they may not be doing the work.

Thank you again for your response.


From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> On Behalf Of Mark C. Mintz
Sent: Wednesday, September 1, 2021 8:53 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Athen] Accessibility Exceptions?

That’s kind of a weirdly worded question, I’m not sure my interpretation of your question is correct. I’m going to rephrase as “Are there any fields where there are exceptions for providing course materials in an accessible format?” The answer is no.

There may be reasons that persons with disabilities are taking any classes, and I don’t think we can say categorically “but no accommodations exist for field XYZ”. For example, my wife works in labeling for medical devices and they have an FDA requirement to have RNs do some aspects of their technical writing. Since there is no interaction with patients in this case, there is no reason a disability would preclude them from working in this role. I’m certain that in any given field there are similar jobs. – When in doubt, look at the industry’s sales force. They need to have the knowledge but don’t need to do the work. Most B2B sales people have at least some formal education in their field in my experience.

Alt media guidelines<https://cccaccessibility.org/alternate-media/guidelines-practices> states:
In particular, the Section 504 regulations and the regulations implementing Title II of the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) contain nearly identical provisions stating that
recipients of federal funds and public entities in providing any aid, benefit or service,
may not afford a qualified individual with a disability an opportunity to participate that is
not as effective as that provided to others. (See 34 C.F.R. § 104.4 (b)(1)(iii) and 28
C.F.R. § 35.130(b)(1)(iii).)

Based on this interpretation it is my understanding that any coursework needs to be provided in an accessible or accommodated format.

What I think you might be getting at is “where do we draw the line on what is an accommodation we need to provide and what is unreasonable”, or as in the paragraph above, “who is a qualified individual with a disability?”, and I think recent lawsuits and the ICT refresh has found that WCAG 2.0 AA is a reasonable amount of accessibility. I think we can reasonably expect students to be able to access WCAG 2.0 AA unless there is extra accommodation necessary (tactile graphics, sign language interpreting). Even then, I think we need to err on the side of “This material may not pass WCAG 2.0” and try to accommodate the student, or we must go through all the material carefully to ensure all guidelines are met.

If that isn’t what you are looking for, please clarify.

Mark Mintz
Assistive Technology Specialist

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu>> On Behalf Of Khoa Pham
Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 2021 6:34 PM
To: athen-list at u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: [Athen] Accessibility Exceptions?

Hi Everyone,

Are there any exceptions for providing course materials? If so, what are the subjects/disciplines? Or should it be provided regardless?

Thank you for your feedback.
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