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DOJ Settles with Louisiana Tech over ADA Violations Stemming from Online Homework and Assessment Tool
The United States Department of Justice has settled with Louisiana Tech University (LA Tech) and the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System to remedy alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The settlement resolves allegations that LA Tech violated the ADA by using a version of MyOMLab — an online homework and assessment tool for operations management courses from Pearson Higher Education — that was inaccessible to a blind student, and that the university didn't resolve the problem for nearly a month, by which time the student was too far behind in his coursework and dropped the class.
The settlement also resolves allegations that in another course, the same instructor who used MyOMLab in a previous course provided students with photocopied handouts of materials for in-class discussion and exam preparation but failed to provide the blind student with an accessible version until days later.
Details of the settlement agreement include:
- Requirement that the university must implement learning technology, Web pages, and course content that meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA standards;
- Requirement that any existing learning technology, web pages, and course content implemented since January 2010 meet WCAG 2.0 AA standards by December 1, 2014;
- Requirement that the university train its instructors and administrators on the rules of the ADA; and
- Payment of $23,543 in damages to the student.
This case highlights the importance of ensuring digital learning materials are accessible to all students, including those with disabilities. “Emerging technologies, including Internet-based learning platforms, are changing the way we learn, and we need to ensure that people with disabilities are not excluded or left behind,” said Eve L. Hill, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ, in a prepared statement.
The full text of the settlement agreement can be found on the ADA's site.
Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.