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SHEEO State Authorization Resources Updated
Sharmila Mann, a senior policy analyst at the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) association, issued the following announcement this week on SHEEO's freshly updated state authorization resources, including its guide to the authorization regulations, processes, and contacts for various states. Note that she also discusses the process and timing for the next round of updates, which SHEEO plans to start in January 2014. (Many thanks to our friends at WCET for sharing Sharmila's announcement with us.)
Major Higher Ed. Community Developments on State Authorization
The higher education community continues to make significant progress toward addressing the problems of distance education state authorization through the development of a state authorization reciprocity proposal. The Commission on the Regulation of Postsecondary Distance Education, a joint effort of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO), recently released its final report, Advancing Access through Regulatory Reform: Findings, Principles, and Recommendations for the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA).
Google Accessibility Improvements
Google started informing its applications user groups today about the accessibility improvements it has made to a range of its applications and software platforms. (Please see below for the quoted text.) If you're interested in learning more about accessibility updates for one of the products listed, Google invites you to contact its accessibility group (email@example.com).
FCC Telecom Service Provider Accessibility Certification Rules
Our friends at ACUTA (the higher education telecommunications administrators association) have posted an alert to colleges and universities that "charge students, tenants, or others for telephone service" (excluding institutions that allocate telephone service costs internally to academic and/or administrative departments) about new accessibility record-keeping certification requirements from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC):
Fed. Regs. on Student Identity Verification, State Authorization of Distance Ed. Back on the Radar
Kindle Accessibility Concerns Continue
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) continues to raise concerns about the accessibility of Amazon's Kindle devices as well as its Kindle apps for other devices (e.g., the iPad) for persons with visual disabilities. On its Kindle Books page, NFB provides a chart comparing the accessibility of Kindle devices/apps against accessible alternatives, the iBook and Blio, along a number of key parameters, such as text highlighting and note-taking features that would be of particular interest to postsecondary students.
California Bill = Path Around Curricular Bottlenecks Through 3rd-Party Online Providers
As numerous mainstream and higher education media outlets have reported--for two, see the New York Times and Inside Higher Education--the California state senate president is poised to introduce a bill that would provide students with a pathway around curricular bottlenecks--introductory courses that they have to have to fulfill degree requirements, but for which they face long wait times to take due to limited capacity. This problem has been particularly severe in California as several years of state budget cuts have reduced institutional capacity to deliver must-have general education courses at the same time as demand for higher education has grown in the face of a difficult economic climate.
NFB Proposes Bill on Accessibility Standards for Digital Instructional Materials
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) has released a fact sheet for proposed national legislation to enact a key recommendation of the Postsecondary Accessible Instructional Materials (AIM) Commission report released over a year ago. (For more on the AIM Commission, please see the end of this post.) NFB’s legislative proposal would have Congress direct the U.S.
UC Irvine Open Chemistry Initiative
Just in time for Open Education Week, Inside Higher Education reports the University of California, Irvine, (an Open Courseware Consortium member) has made the full course curriculum for an undergradate chemistry major, including video lectures, available online via its OpenChem initiative. As UCI describes it: "The selected courses include all required lecture courses that a UCI undergraduate needs for the Chemistry major.
Open Education Week, March 11-15, 2013
The second annual Open Education week will take place March 11-15, 2013.
Open Education Week is a five-day celebration of the global Open Education Movement, featuring online and local events around the world, video showcases of open education projects, and information. Its purpose is to raise awareness of both the movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide.