1. What are three types of disabilities that students in a course you create might have? Explain the accommodations that you would need to provide for each.

According to Waterhouse (2005), three types of disabilities that students might have are:

  • “Visual disabilities such as blindness, low vision, and color blindness;
  • Hearing disabilities such as deafness and hard of hearing;
  • Mobility disabilities such as the inability to use hands, hand tremors and slow muscular movement” (p. 172).

Examples of accommodations that could be provided for some disabilities include:

  • For blind students, attach alt tags to images so that screen readers can read a description of the image.
  • For students who are deaf, provide captions and transcripts for videos.
  • For color-blind students, use background and font colors that have a high contrast such as black text on a white background.

2. According to the text, what is the percentage of the population that has a visual, auditory or physical limitation? How does that compare to other sources for this information. (Please list at least one other source you found.)

The following information regarding the number of people that have a visual, auditory or physical limitation is found in our text, The Power of eLearning by Shirley Waterhouse (2005):

  • “One in five individuals has a vision, hearing, or physical limitation;
  • Twenty-nine percent of families in the United States have at least one family member with a disability;
  • It is estimated that up to 7.2 percent of students entering higher education have a visual, hearing, cognitive, or motor impairment” (p. 172).

The following statistics are listed on the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Trace Center website (2013):

  • There are an estimated 8.6 million people with visual impairments (3.4% of the U.S. population)
  • Approximately 22 million people in the U.S. (8.2%) have hearing impairments
  • The amount of people that have a physical limitation is broken down into specific disabilities. The numbers can be found on the Trace Center website: http://trace.wisc.edu/docs/population/populat.htm

3. Identify three factors other than the actual disabilities that exist in your student population that influence how an institution or a course creator is required to address ADA in an online course.

  • Per section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, all government controlled institutions, which include state-controlled colleges and universities, “must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information that is comparable to access available to others.” (Section 508, n.d.).
  • Institutional Policy may drive requirements to address ADA compliance in an online course.
  • A commitment to student success will influence an institution or course creator to address ADA in an online course.

4. According to the text, what is “assistive technology”? Give some examples.

Assistive technology is any type of hardware or software that assists people with disabilities in viewing web pages. For example, for people who have immobility issues with their hands, a voice activated mouse or voice recognition software may be used. Other examples of assistive technologies include digital magnifiers, screen readers, smart pens and refreshable braille displays (Examples of Assistive Technologies, n.d.).

5. Identify and explain two different ways to check a webpage to ensure that it meets the needs of disabled students.

There are several different websites available to ensure that your webpage meets the needs of disabled students. Two of those sites include WebAIM and the World Wide Web Consortium Web Accessibility Initiative (W3C-WAI). In order to check your site’s level of accessibility you simply enter your URL into the tool and the software returns a report. I have run tests on both websites for one of my own web pages. You can access the results of my tests here: http://teacherweb.com/CA/PaloVerdeCollege/LHolmes/apt47.aspx

In my online search I found a great website that allows you to enter your website’s URL in one place and then decide which tests you want to run. It is a one-stop-shop that includes reports from WebAIM and W3C-WAI, checks for speed and also runs a filter to check accessibility for students who are colorblind. You can try it out for yourself here: http://uitest.com/en/check/.

6. Identify two types of presentations used in online courses (for example, podcasts, PowerPoints, Videos, Slide Shows, etc.) that you might use and explain how you can ensure that each is ADA compliant.

Two types of presentations that are used in online courses are podcasts and videos. To ensure ADA compliance, transcripts should be made available for both types of presentations and captioning should be used for videos.

7. Develop a course usability checklist that is appropriate for your anticipated needs. Use the example provided in the text as a starting point and explain your modifications.

I began with the usability checklist provided in the text but modified it just a bit based on tools I might use if I taught a course online, things that I find important as a student, and criteria I have used in past courses to evaluate various websites. This is a simple checklist that I would probably add to as I gain experience. I would not accept anything less than a 90% score for usability but would strive for 100%.


44 points possible





Strongly Agree



Strongly Disagree

The site is easy to navigate





Coursesite design is consistent throughout





Coursesite design is visually appealing





The website is free of spelling and grammar errors





Course content is well organized within the coursesite





Course content is up-to-date





Files formats are universally supported





Files download quickly





Files are printable





Gradebook is easy to use





Discussion board is easy to use









Examples of Assistive Technology. (n.d.). Assistive Technology for Education. Retrieved November 10, 2013, from http://assistivetechnologyforeducation.com/examples-of-assistive-technology/

Section 508. (n.d.). Section 508 Laws. Retrieved November 10, 2013, from http://www.section508.gov/section508-laws

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Trace Center. (2013). A Brief Introduction to Disabilities. Retrieved November 10, 2013, from http://trace.wisc.edu/docs/population/populat.htm#physical

Waterhouse, S.A. (2005). The power of elearning: The essential guide for teaching in the digital age. Boston: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.