Barriers to Access

  • With the adoption and increasing use of technology to teach and learn, a student with a disability can face many barriers to access, specifically, access to instructional materials or resources such as video, audio, interactive resources, animations and/or simulations.

    Described below are a few examples of access challenges faced by those in typical distance learning courses, and some ways they are mitigated.

    Blindness or Other Visual Impairments

    Those who are blind and cannot interpret graphics (such as photographs, drawings, and image maps) unless text alternatives are provided. Some learners may use a computer equipped with screen reader software and a speech synthesizer or a text-based web browser. Those who can see only a small portion of a web page at a time can use special software to enlarge screen images. Individuals who are colorblind cannot easily navigate when distinguishing between colors is required.

    Color Simulation
    See what color blindness and cataract looks like. Please note: high-speed internet access is recommended.

    A short YouTube video demonstrating different types of vision impairment (captions embedded in the video).

    Hearing Impairments

    When resources include audio output without providing text captioning or transcription, students who are deaf are unable to understand the content. They may also be unable to participate in a telephone or video conference without special accommodations.

    A short YouTube clip demonstrating levels of hearing loss (click the CC button in the video for closed captions provided by YouTube). 

    Speech Impairments


    Interesting (if somewhat long) video highlighting several types of voice disorders (click the CC button in the video for closed captions provided by YouTube).