• Cutting Edge

What’s next for higher ed web accessibility

On the Cutting EDge podcast, Harvard University’s digital accessibility leader says that federal web accessibility standards could be coming soon and that universities shouldn’t become complacent.

Last month, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice published a joint letter indicating they’re close to publishing revised regulations on web accessibility. Kyle Shachmut, Harvard University’s digital accessibility services director, says the letter offered little new information, but he encouraged universities to continue emphasizing accessibility regardless of impending changes.

Shachmut, who co-leads Educause’s IT accessibility group, says there regulatory landscape around web accessibility is “very unclear.” Many standards haven’t been updated in decades, requiring universities to sift through legal cases for clues of what they’re required to do.

“The proof will certainly be in the pudding as to what changes come, or when they come,” Shachmut says. “We’ve certainly come a long way with technology that we deploy and use across the curriculum and administratively and to communicate with the public, so there’s certainly plenty of room and usefulness in [updating the web accessibility regulations].”

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Cutting Edge


Every two weeks, the Cutting EDge Podcast will bring you the latest in higher education technology news and analysis. The program will explore trending topics in depth and highlight news across the campus IT landscape. Each episode will feature conversations with top executives across higher education on things like hybrid learning, emerging technology, cybersecurity and modernization.

Hosted by Jake Williams

Jake Williams is the vice president of content and community for StateScoop & EdScoop at Scoop News Group. Williams has spent nearly a decade in the government IT market, covering the ins-and-outs of state and local government as well as higher education. Williams started his journalism career in regional journalism in his native Pennsylvania, and also worked as a reporter for Campaigns & Elections magazine.