The U.S. Department of Education has released a new guide to laws and rules colleges must follow to ensure e-reading devices and other emerging technologies are accessible to all students.
It focuses on students with vision problems, a group whose access issues have triggered official complaints against colleges. If colleges use e-readers, or other emerging technologies, blind students “must be afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as sighted students,” according to the department.
The department doesn’t discourage the use of emerging technologies but indicates that colleges should assess whether a new technology is accessible, or could be modified to be accessible, before using it.
The document, in the form of “Frequently Asked Questions,” was published in response to the department’s “Dear Colleague” letter to college presidents on the subject last June.