Fire Away Questions about ADA



The emphasis for my first two questions relates to online courses or content. I don’t have many concerns about how to provide technical accommodations in an online course. There are a lot of resources available that can help or provide test and viewing simulators. My questions pertain to other types of disabilities as outlined by IDEA, like Intellectual disability or traumatic brain injury. Providing cognitive or mental accommodations sometimes leave me perplexed.


Question 1

By its very nature, an online course most likely require a student to intake (read, watch, listen) more content on their own then a student might be required to consume in a face-to-face class. If the amount of content is overwhelming, how do you direct a student to wade through it in a timely manner, so a 16-week course doesn’t drag out too long?


Question 2

In my InDesign course students use a textbook that can be purchased in a printed form or as an ebook. Part of the reading assignments have students reading the book and then applying what they read in an InDesign file. You’re given instructions and then you do it on your own. I have the luxury of having two monitors so I can have the ebook on one and the InDesign program showing in another monitor and easily go back and forth. The cognitive overload is minimal. If, however, I don’t have two monitors I could see where using the ebook and InDesign could get tricky.

With the decline of paper texts and the increase in ebooks, as well as ebooks being less expensive, what impact will (or does) this have on learners who might find going back and forth between two files difficult. Does this add to their learning barriers? Does it have the potential for causing issues for those who haven’t been aware of a learning disability?


Question 3

Section 508 provides standards for Electronic and Information technology and “…requires that when Federal agencies develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology, Federal employees with disabilities have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access and use by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency.“Many of the major software companies and developers have their own accessibility statements, Blackboard Learn, Adobe, Voicethread as examples. Is there Federal legislation that requires a similar accommodation requirement for non-federal agencies?


  1. Ooh, I really like question three! I don’t know if there is federal legislation, but since many of the big players you mentioned do, I wonder if it’s mandated or if it’s just something they do since they know their products will be reaching people at all levels of ability.

  2. As a content developer I have to certify all of my products are 508C for any purchase using federal monies. I consider 508C a required piece to the equation and require any third party I engage to certify 508 as well.

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