The Justice Department on Monday announced a proposed consent decree with the University of California, Berkeley, on online access to course materials.
The agreement, which still requires a judge’s approval, involves Berkeley agreeing to make changes to many course materials.
“UC Berkeley makes conferences, lectures, sporting events, graduation ceremonies and other university events available to the public on its websites and on other online platforms, including its YouTube and Apple Podcasts channels,” said a Justice Department statement. “It also makes courses available on its UC BerkeleyX platform. Much of this online content is not accessible to people with disabilities because it lacks captions and transcripts for individuals who are deaf and alternative text describing visual images for individuals who are blind. It is also formatted in a way that does not allow individuals with disabilities to access the content using screen readers or other assistive technology.”
Under the consent decree, “UC Berkeley will make all future and the vast majority of its existing online content accessible to people with disabilities. This includes BerkeleyX courses, university websites and video and podcast content on its YouTube, Apple Podcasts and other third-party platforms,” the department added. “UC Berkeley will also revise its policies, train relevant personnel, designate a web accessibility coordinator, conduct accessibility testing of its online content and hire an independent auditor to evaluate the accessibility of its content.”
“By entering into this consent decree, UC Berkeley will make its content accessible to the many people with disabilities who want to participate in and access the same online educational opportunities provided to people without disabilities,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This decree will provide people with disabilities access to the numerous free online courses, conferences, lectures, performances and other programming offered by UC Berkeley and its faculty, providing lifelong learning opportunities to millions of people.”