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Distance Education Accessibility Guidelines

Accessibility Myths

  • Only non-disabled students take my class so the rules do not apply to me.
  • Current accessibility hardware and software solve all accessibility problems for my course.
  • I need to learn advanced web authoring skills to make my course pages accessible.
  • An accessible web page is boring.
  • Web accessibility is only useful to people with disabilities.
  • To get around the accessibility laws, college courses should be offered in a text only format.
  • Section 508 is for federal agencies only; it does not apply to educational institutions.
  • Video media cannot be used in online classes.


The information covered on this site is adapted in whole or part from the Distance Education Accessibility Guidelines for Students with Disabilities, issued January 2011. The content focuses on several issues that ensure Grossmont College's compliance to state and federal guidelines regarding access to information, print media, multimedia and web access.

These updated accessibility guidelines are intended to align with current technological access issues that colleges face in the delivery of distance education courses, while offering practical solutions and strategies to address these accessibility challenges. The guidelines reflect the concept of Universal Design, a holistic approach to designing inclusive environments; new state regulations regarding distance education; a re-evaluation of the global standards on access; the many new technologies in use today; and many of the barriers unintentionally created by these technologies.

An historic overview and conceptual framework help to structure the discussion before the document delves into legal requirements, access guidelines by media categories and by disabilities, and frequently asked questions. However, in the face of a rapidly changing technological world, this document should be considered dynamic with the promise of future updates given.