POL - 40.01.2 Accessibility Policy for Course Design

Board of Trustees
Responsible Office:
Student Accessibility Services
Student Disability Services, 919-530-6325
Effective Date: June 29, 2016

1. Purpose

1.1 North Carolina Central University is committed to providing access to the educational environment for all persons by using accessible course materials and providing appropriate accommodations in accordance with federal and state laws. This policy extends to its technologies, web sites, information, programs, and online activities. 

1.2 This policy is enacted pursuant to Section 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act (ADAAA), the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 and the North Carolina General Statute 168A-7.

1.3 North Carolina Central University is committed to supporting faculty in providing a technology-rich educational environment where applications, tools, and other educational resources are accessible to all persons. The University will provide training and technical assistance to faculty through workshops, trainings, tools and consultation to promote innovative instruction and content delivery.

2. Definitions

2.1  Accessible: A person with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective and equally integrated manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use. A person with a disability must be able to obtain the information as fully, equally, and independently as a person without a disability. Although this might not result in identical ease of use compared to that of persons without disabilities, it still must ensure equal opportunity to the educational benefits and opportunities afforded by the technology and equal treatment in the use of such technology.

2.2  Accessibility Compliance Team:  The team constituted by the Office of the Provost to assess issues regarding compliance, grievance and policy implementation.

2.3  Accessible Information Technology: Information technology that has been designed, developed, or procured to be usable by, and therefore accessible to people with disabilities, including those who use assistive technologies. 

2.4  Assistive Technologies: Any item, piece of equipment, or system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is commonly used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.

2.5  Active NCCU Resource: Any NCCU Resource currently used for administrative, instructional or informational purposes.

2.6  Inactive NCCU Resource: Any NCCU Resource that is not currently used for administrative, instructional or informational purposes, but may still be available for historical purposes or archived.

2.7  NCCU Course Developer: Anyone who develops, maintains or provides official NCCU course content, including, but not limited to faculty, instructional designers and third party entities. This includes online and traditional (face to face courses).

2.8  NCCU Electronic Resource: Any electronically delivered information or electronic system for interacting with individuals. This includes, but is not limited to, Web-based services, software applications, and embedded systems. 

2.9  NCCU Resource: Any NCCU administrative or instructional NCCU Resource used to deliver content or interact with individuals for administrative, instructional (online or web enhanced) or informational purposes.

2.10  Usability: Refers to how easily, effectively, and efficiently users can use a product or system to achieve their goals, and how satisfied they are with the experience. 

3. Accessibility Standards

3.1 Faculty shall ensure that all course content is accessible to all students.

3.2 Faculty will ensure that information is made available in an accessible format to any individual with a disability documented with the Office of Student Disability Services.

3.3 The Office of Student Disability Services, the Information Technology Services Department, the Office of E-Learning, and/or the Office of Faculty Professional Development will provide training, support, and consultation to faculty to identify accessible resources.

3.4 Faculty shall include an accessibility statement for each instructional modality used on the syllabus. Examples of such statements are: Blackboard Accessibility Statement; Cengage Learn Accessibility Statement; Pearson Accessibility Information; Respondus Accessibility Statement.

3.5 Faculty evaluations will include assessment of course accessibility in accordance with Section of the Faculty Handbook.

4. Procedures

4.1 NCCU Course Developers designing Official NCCU Resources must consider accessibility issues during initial development and prior to purchase if applicable. 

4.2 NCCU Course Developers must make all NCCU Resources conform to NCCU Accessibility Standards, as noted in Section 2 (Definitions).

4.3 As NCCU Course Developers make revisions to Official NCCU Resources, whether they are active or inactive, they must conform to NCCU Accessibility Policy. 

4.4 All NCCU Course Developers must implement a yearly review of all technology used in technology enhanced courses they have developed or are developing. They must confirm that the content is accessible. The Office of E-Learning and the Office of Student Disability Services will provide tools and training for departments to conduct these reviews.

5. Resolutions

5.1  If students experience accessibility issues with electronic resources, they should contact the instructor of record and the Office of Student Disability Services in writing within 2 business days. The faculty member must respond/acknowledge receipt of the accessibility issue within 2 business days. The Office of Student Disability Services will then contact the Office of Information Technology Services and the Office of E-Learning to assist the faculty member in providing alternative means of ensuring accessibility. The faculty member has 5 business days to implement the resolution and communicate the resolution in writing to the Office of Student Disability Services and the student.

5.2  If a resolution is not achieved, students should file a disability-related grievance complaint within 5 business days of the incident by contacting the Office of Student Disability Services. The SDS Grievance Policy is available at http://www.nccu.edu/students/studentservices/disability/policies.cfm

5.3  The Office of Student Disability Services will notify the faculty member that a grievance has been filed. 

5.4  The faculty member has 7 business days to provide alternative means of accessibility to complete the Corrective Action Form.  The Corrective Action Form shall be completed and signed by the Department Chair and faculty member with the agreed upon actions to be taken. The form shall be returned to the Accessibility Compliance Team within 30 days for review.  The team will review the course to ensure the action is completed.  

5.5  If the faculty member fails to provide alternative means of accessibility, the Provost and Director of the Division Extended Studies, in consultation with Student Disability Services, may direct the removal of the electronic resource from the course.  The faculty member shall not retaliate against the student as a result of the removal of the electronic resource.