DOJ, La. Tech Settle Over Access To Online Materials

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission is not the only agency focused on both access to online educational content and communications access by those with disabilities.

On Tuesday, the Justice Department said it has settled with Louisiana Tech University over allegations the school violated the Americans With Disabilities Act when it used an online learning product inaccessible to a blind student.

“Emerging technologies, including Internet-based learning platforms, are changing the way we learn, and we need to ensure that people with disabilities are not excluded or left behind,” Eve Hill, deputy assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement.

Under the settlement, the university has agreed to implement "learning technology, Web pages and course content that is accessible."

Louisiana Tech will also be required to make Web pages and materials created since 2010 accessible, train teachers and administrators and pay the student plaintiff $23,543 in damages.

The FCC is currently reforming government E-rate subsidies to schools and libraries to ensure that students — disabled or not — have equal access to the latest online educational tools. It is also in the midst of implementing the Communications and Video Accessibility Act, which includes measures to make online content more accessible to those with disabilities.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.