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Bill Would Require Instructional Technology to Be Accessible to All

Legislation introduced on Friday in the U.S. House of Representatives would require colleges either to make instructional technology accessible to disabled students or to provide them with equivalent, alternative resources.

Rep. Tom Petri, a Wisconsin Republican and senior member of the House education committee, said his bill would ensure that disabled students were given equal treatment as technology plays a larger and larger role in instruction. The bill is called the Technology, Equality, and Accessibility in College and Higher Education (Teach) Act.

The legislation also calls on the government to develop guidelines for electronic instructional materials used in higher education.

The National Federation of the Blind and the Association of American Publishers released a joint statement calling the legislation long overdue.

“Every day, blind college students face devastating setbacks to their education because of inaccessible technology,” Marc Maurer, president of the federation, said in the statement. “The use of e-readers, web content, mobile applications, and learning-management systems by educators is more prevalent than ever, and disabled students are being needlessly left behind.”

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