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Accessible Technology

What is Accessibility?

Accessibility is the concept of whether a product or service can be used by everyone, however they encounter it. If a lecture is provided to students online in our learning management system, that lecture video includes closed captioning for all students. If an email including images is sent to the entire college community, those images will include alt-text to allow all viewers to read the content of the email and receive information about the image.

What is Accessible Technology?

Accessible technology is technology that has been designed in a way that it can be accessed by all users. This includes websites, software, electronic documents, video, audio, and other technologies. People who interact with technology are extremely diverse. They have a wide variety of characteristics, and we cannot assume that they’re all using a traditional monitor for output, or keyboard and mouse for input. Consider these users:

  • Most individuals who are blind use either audible output (product called screen readers that read web content using synthesized speech), or tactile output (a refreshable Braille device).
  • Individuals with learning disabilities, such as dyslexia may also use audible output. This is often referred to as Text-to-Speech (TTS).
  • Individuals with low vision may use screen magnification software which allows them to zoom into a portion of the visual screen.
  • Many others with less-than-perfect eyesight may enlarge the font on websites using standard browser features, such as Ctrl + in Windows or Command + in Mac OS X.
  • Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing are unable to access audio content, so video needs to be captioned and audio needs to be transcribed.
  • Individuals with fine motor impairments may be unable to use a traditional mouse, and instead rely exclusively on keyboard commands, or use assistive technologies, such as speech recognition, head pointers, mouth sticks, or eye-gaze tracking systems.
  • Individuals may also be using electronic devices, including phones, tablets, or other devices to access content which means they’re using a variety of screen sizes and a variety of gestures or other user interfaces for interacting with their devices and accessing content.

Accessible technology works for all these users, and countless others not mentioned.

Who is Responsible for Ensuring Technology is Accessible?

Under federal laws, Vance-Granville Community College employees bear responsibility for providing reasonable accommodations for students and employees with disabilities. The college is responsible for implementation, and employees are required to adhere to the policies and procedures of the college. The responsibility for compliance is shared by all college employees.

Where do I get help?

VGCC has an active accessibility committee, and its members are eager to help and support one another. The Center for Teaching and Learning is also a great resource for instructors and students that may need assistance or have complaints. 

Current ADA Committee Contacts

Candy Parker – Director, Center for Teaching and Learning
Main Campus, Henderson
Room: 1307-C
(252) 738-3627
Ashley Pendergrass – Webmaster
Main Campus, Henderson
Room: 1104-C
(252) 738-3282

Accessibility Laws

State and Federal laws that govern website and electronic include the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 508, Section 504, NC Senate Bill 866, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, respectively.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 508
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 504
NC Senate Bill 866
Americans with Disabilities Act

Accessibility Standards

Currently, the two most widely accepted standards for Web accessibility are Section 508 and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). North Carolina Community Colleges are required to follow WCAG 2.0 level AA standards.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
Section 508 Information and Communication Page

B.S., M.A., M.B.A., Ed.S.
Director, Center for Teaching and Learning
MAIN CAMPUS - Henderson
(252) 738-3627