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A Reminder About Accessibility

Fall 2012

Dear Colleagues,

Now that the University has completed the transition to Google Apps for Education for email, calendar and collaboration, I am sure that many of you are exploring ways to use these tools in your teaching. Although Google has made many improvements to the accessibility of its applications, we believe much more work by Google is needed to assure full access for our community members who have disabilities. While we work with Google to make these changes, I'd like to remind you of our obligation to provide reasonable accommodation to those with disabilities. Specifically, given that Google docs and drive, chat, sites, and other collaborative technologies in the Google suite do not work well with standard assistive technologies, you should not require students to use them. In other words, you should not assign work where the only option to complete the work involves use of these tools.

Google email and calendar are accessible with standard assistive technologies if used with the client interface for Outlook or MacMail. Students may call 4-HELP for assistance in setting up the client interface or they may visit the Knox Center Adaptive Technology Computing Site on the first floor of the Shapiro Library.

The Services for Students with Disabilities office has put together a very useful handbook for faculty that explains how you can support students with disabilities. In addition, you can find extensive accessibility information on the M+Google project site or by visiting the Knox Center Adaptive Technology Computing Site.

The University is committed to equal opportunity and equal access, and we are continually working harder to find ways to make the tools we use, facilities we access, and methods we apply more accessible to our entire community.

Yours truly,

Phil Hanlon
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs