Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced a bill February 28 that aims to improve technological accessibility in higher education.
“It’s critically important that university services and course materials remain accessible to students with disabilities as technology advances and changes the way we communicate and learn,” Sen. Warren said in a statement.
The six-page Technology, Education and Accessibility in College and Higher Education (TEACH) Act would require the Access Board, an independent agency that focuses on improving technological accessibility for people with disabilities, to create accessibility guidelines for electronic instructional materials and related information technologies used by higher education institutions.
An identical companion bill was introduced in the House of Representatives in November 2013 by Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI).
“Every day, blind college students face frustration and despair in the pursuit of their education because of inaccessible technology,” said Dr. Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind, in a news release. “E-readers, Web content, mobile applications, and learning management systems are integral to the twenty-first-century college experience, and students with disabilities are being needlessly left behind.
“No student can be expected to succeed in college if he or she is denied access to critical course material.”
A video of Warren and Hatch introducing the bill can be seen here.