Free Online Course Content May Be Scrapped Following U.S. DOJ Limited Access Violation
U.S. Justice of Department accused and warned that Berkeley through the edX platform for massive open online courses, and videos on YouTube and iTunes University content don’t meet federal requirements for accessibility in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
While, the content is offered for free, making it accessible to those who could not afford to pay or do not have access to a library.
As such, no Berkley student has complained as it benefits the students for study help.
It would be great, however if the university could take more steps to help those who have disabilities. Specifically, the issue surrounds the fact the the videos are not captioned ‘inaccessible to the hearing-disabled community’. The two complainants are members of the National Association for the Deaf and work for Gallaudet University, a school for the deaf in Washington, DC.
Though, having said that Berkeley if not trained or specialised in supplying educational content for the deaf, should not be pressed to stop any attempt at making content available.
There are however better suppliers of education who are more trained to accommodate, specialise and tailor educational content for the deaf.
Because it is free the university may not be able to afford such changes that would comply with the recommendations to making online material more accessible than it already is.
This is basic economics as you regulate an industry, entrepreneurial invention, or charity it is likely that it would not be able to cope with financial expensiveness of new requirements and would end up not happening at all.
Berkley are considering the option of removing the content from public access. Now, the DOJ has made everyone that worse off.
Equal access means no access. Again pricing one out of the market, placing the loss and costs on the end consumers.
However, the choice to change should be down to the university and their ultimate consumers and not the state.