University of Montana reaches agreement to develop new accessible technology policies

Americas, March 20 2014

MISSOULA: The University of Montana has reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights to ensure educational accessibility for people with disabilities at UM.

The resolution agreement outlines a comprehensive set of policies and procedures so all electronic and information technology at UM can be used by student who are blind and other students with disabilities.

Print“The University of Montana is committed to making sure that all students have access to education, and in today’s world that includes access to technology,” UM President Royce Engstrom said. “We want to make sure that the technology we use on our websites, in our classrooms and in our offices is available to all.”

The agreement stems from a May 2012 student complaint to OCR that UM was discriminating against students with disabilities. The complaint alleged that UM used online tools such as Web pages, library databases, live chats, videos and a course-registration site that were inaccessible.

When UM learned of the complaint, a task force quickly was created to start addressing the issues.

Among the terms of the agreement, UM will develop accessibility policies, train employees about disability issues, survey former and current students with disabilities to identify problems and develop a grievance procedure. A draft accessibility policy already is in place. The full resolution agreement is online at http://bit.ly/1iCJVKn.

The agreement covers technology used in all aspects of education and campus life, such as electronic textbooks, course materials, online registration, classroom technology and library services. The agreement specifically requires improvements to UM’s online learning management system, Moodle, and many of those already are in place.

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