Office of Accessibility Resources & Services

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What is Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act?

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act is a broad law that requires all federal electronic and information technology to be accessible to people with disabilities, including employees and the public. For online video, this means that closed captions must be added. For podcasts or audio files, a transcript is sufficient.

What is Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act?

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act entitles people with disabilities to equal access to any program or activity that receives a federal subsidy. Web-based communications for educational institutions and government agencies are covered by this as well.

How does the ADA address web accessibility?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed to ensure equal opportunity for people with disabilities. It applies to the public sector and commercial entities that are “places of public accommodation”.

How to create captions for videos posted online?

Captions can be created using free tools like YouTube, with paid applications like Camtasia, or by hiring a third-party captioning/transcription service. Information Technology Services (ITS) can provide information about fee-based third-party services that have been used successfully in the past, and whose usage is approved by the University. Contact 6-TECH at (336) 256-TECH (8324) or for information about these services.

If something is optional, does it have to be accessible?

A student with accommodations should receive every educational benefit of the optional material in an effective and equal way.

What is the difference between the W3C guidelines and the Section 508 standards for web accessibility?

The World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Accessibility guidelines are a list of suggested checkpoints to review when creating web content. Section 508 standards are part of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998 used to establish compliance criteria for the law.

What if the material cannot be made accessible?

If you are unable to find a way to make course materials or an important activity accessible contact the OARS office at and we will work to assist you in finding the right UNCG personnel to help you with your content.

Where are resources for creating accessible online classrooms?

A good starting place is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines WCAG 2.0: You should also check out our Resources page for information on creating accessible online classrooms.

Is it a requirement to alter test format (ex. number of multiple choice questions, essays, short answer, etc) or course standards for a student with a disability? Should the attendance policy for students whose disabilities affect attendance?

Students with disabilities are expected to be evaluated in the same manner as students without disabilities. OARS can provide accommodations to make exams accessible to students with disabilities. In addition students with disabilities are expected to fulfill all of the course requirements, including attendance, for a class. Please refer to the OARS Policies and Procedures for the class attendance policy.