Digital Accessibility Policy
Teachers College (TC) is committed to ensuring that all individuals, including people with disabilities, have an equitable opportunity to participate in all College programs, services, and activities including those delivered through digital environments.
The College complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and other federal, state, and local laws regarding disabilities. With this commitment, and with the knowledge that accessible digital content and tools enhance usability for everyone, the College has established this policy to make TC’s digital environments accessible and to fulfill the College’s mission and values of an inclusive and accessible experience for all members of the community.
Digital accessibility is creating, obtaining, utilizing, and disseminating digital content or tools that are usable by all students, employees, and other stakeholders of Teachers College. While accessibility is necessary for individuals with disabilities to navigate, interact and engage with digital content and services, digital accessibility benefits everyone. Digital accessibility is a proactive and inclusive practice, taking into consideration how users will use and perceive digital information as part of the creation and delivery of materials.
This policy applies to all digital content or services that are acquired, developed, distributed, used, purchased, or implemented by or for Teachers College and used within the context of teaching, learning, research, service, employment, and other official functions of the College. This includes any web pages, web-based applications, electronic documents, and multimedia. It also includes any third-party applications used to create and/or disseminate digital content (i.e. web-based content creation, textbook supplemental materials, or mobile applications).
For the purposes of this policy, Teachers College will apply W3C WAI's 2.1 or later, Level AA Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1) to TC's web presence.
In order to ensure accessibility of digital products used at Teachers College, those responsible for making decisions about which products to procure must consider accessibility early and throughout the selection and acquisition process. This is especially critical for enterprise-level systems or technologies that affect a large number of students, faculty, staff, and the general public.
New digital applications and software must go through TCIT’s New Application Assessment/Implementation Review Process, which includes an accessibility review of the product to ensure that it meets TC’s digital accessibility requirements. If a digital application or software does not meet these requirements, it will not be approved for use at the College. A product may be submitted for New Application Assessment Implementation Review Process through the Support link on myTC
Where accessibility compliance is not technically possible or may require extraordinary measures due to the nature of the information and the intent of the digital application, a temporary exception to the Policy may be requested. Those seeking an exemption must submit an Equally Effective Alternate Access Plan (EEAAP), which is a plan that describes how the product will be made accessible to individuals with disabilities. The College will permit a product for limited use until it reaches compliance with TC’s digital accessibility requirements and within a specified timeline. When an EEAAP is not sufficient to make a product accessible, it will not be approved for use at TC. For additional information about submitting an EEAAP and this process, please contact the Office of Access and Services for Individuals with Disabilities (OASID) at email@example.com.
Compliance and Responsibility
Digital accessibility is a shared responsibility for all members of the Teachers College community who create, obtain, share, utilize, and publish digital resources or services. Each member of the TC community (i.e., faculty, staff, student, contractors/outside consultants, etc.) who obtains, designs, develops, recommends, procures, or manages digital content, websites, services, and/or resources is subject to and has responsibilities under this policy.
The College through its departments and offices are responsible for (1) promoting awareness of this Policy, (2) ensuring that relevant College websites conform to this Policy, and (3) ensuring that digital applications being procured by departments are put through TCIT’s New Application Assessment/Implementation Review Process and meet the Policy and accessibility standard requirements.
Since providing access is a shared responsibility, the Barrier Removal Committee, which represents different departments at Teachers College, will be responsible for providing guidance and support to the College regarding this policy and will address concerns related to digital accessibility.
When a person with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective and equally integrated manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use. The person with a disability must be able to obtain the information and participate in activities as fully, equally, and independently as a person without a disability.
The inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites, digital tools, and technologies, by people with disabilities.
A computer program or software created to carry out or facilitate a task on a computing device.
Includes anything on College websites and within the Learning Management System, Canvas including, but not limited to, audio, video, images, tables, forms, and documents (in any format, including .docx and .pdf), registration forms, surveys, and HTML.
Any public-facing website within a Teachers College domain used by College staff, students, and faculty.
Equally Effective Alternate Access Plan (EEAAP)
A plan that describes how the institution will provide “equally effective alternate access” to the same information or services offered by a technology that does not meet TC’s accessibility standards.
A web-based program created to carry out or facilitate a task on a computing device.
For more information related to accessibility and accommodations, including web accessibility, please visit the OASID at www.tc.columbia.edu/oasid/, or contact OASID at (212) 678-3689, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This policy was established through collaboration between the Office of the Diversity and Community Affairs (ODCA) and The Office of Access and Services for Individuals with Disabilities (OASID), in partnership with Digital Futures Institute (DFI), Office of the Provost, Office of Digital Campus Infrastructure and Teachers College Information Technology (TCIT).
Responsible Office: Office of Access and Services for Individuals with Disabilities OASID
Updated: April 2023
Last edited: April 24, 2023