University may remove online content to avoid disability law

Posted on October 17th, 2016

The University of California, Berkeley has announced that it may eliminate free online content following an order from the U.S. Justice Department to make materials accessible for those with disabilities. The content under scrutiny is free and open to the general public and involves 26 MOOCs provided through the edX platform, 543 videos on Berkeley’s YouTube channel, and 99 lectures on iTunes University. Following complaints by two individuals who are deaf, an investigation found that the materials violate the Americans With Disabilities Act, which requires college materials to be accessible to people with disabilities. Some of the concerns included the absence of video captions and alternative ways to access images or visual information, such as audio description. The university has not made a final decision, but stated that it may not have the budget to comply with the recommendations on how to make the materials accessible.