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Distance Ed Regulation Commission’s Work Continues
As highlighted before the holidays, in both a blog post and an EDUCAUSE Live! online presentation, the Commission on Regulation of Postsecondary Distance Education, chartered by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO), has been actively exploring the potential of a state authorization reciprocity agreement (SARA) model for right-sizing the burden of state regulation on online learning programs. The Commission will hold its final face-to-face meeting on Monday, January 14, in Washington, DC, to review and discuss a draft set of recommendations.
Federal Report Highlights The Economic Case for Higher Education
The U.S. Departments of The Treasury and Education recently announced the release of a joint report highlighting the economic value of higher education achievement for individuals and the country as a whole. Entitled The Economics of Higher Education, the report confirms the continuing importance of postsecondary success to economic progress, including key findings such as the following:
· There is substantial evidence that education raises earnings. The median weekly earnings of a full-time, bachelor’s degree holder in 2011 were 64 percent higher than those of a high school graduate ($1,053 compared to $638).
Comment on U.S. Dept. of Ed. Learning/Academic Analytics Report
The U.S. Department of Education has released a request for public input on a new report, Expanding Evidence Approaches for Learning in a Digital World, addressing how institutions, policymakers, and learning technology developers can advance and capitalize on learning analytics and academic analytics to increase the sucess of individual learners as well as the learning enterprise as a whole.
Google Response on NFB Google Apps Concerns
Earlier in the week, I posted a review of the most recent concerns about the accessibility of Google Apps for Education expressed by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). In that piece, I noted the NFB view that "there is no indication yet that Google intends to address accessibility problems that arise from users accessing Google Apps via other market-standard browsers (e.g., Internet Explorer, Firefox) and assistive applications (e.g., the JAWS screen reader, the Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition application)." Google has since provided the following clarification of its plans for Google Apps accessibility in non-Google browsers and assistive applications, which I quote in its entirety:
NFB Google Apps Concerns Continue
Via email, Dan Goldstein, outside counsel for the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), was asked to address NFB’s current views on the accessibility of Google Apps for Education. (Thanks go to Terry Thompson, accessibility technology specialist at the University of Washington and immediate-past leader of the EDUCAUSE IT Accessibility Constituent Group, for initiating the dialogue.) In his response, Dan noted that the concerns NFB raised at the start of 2012 about Google’s approach to addressing Google Apps’ accessibility problems have only grown over the course of the year.
ARL Report: A Great Overview of Print Accessibility
Comprehensive overviews of accessibility issues that one can still read relatively quickly don’t often appear. However, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has produced just that in its November 2012 report, Report of the ARL Joint Task Force on Services to Patrons with Print Disabilities (http://www.arl.org/accessibility/). The report concisely reviews the legal and regulatory provisions that colleges and universities face in relation to accessibility for persons with disabilities generally. It then discusses how those requirements apply in the context of the digital information resources and services that research libraries provide.
Latest News on State Authorization
Russ Poulin at the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) released a blog post this morning with significant updates on the state of play concerning state authorization. Major topics covered include:
Penn State's Progress on its NFB Agreement (EDUCAUSE 2012)
At last year's EDUCAUSE annual conference, EDUCAUSE Policy hosted a panel discussion on technology accessibility for persons with disabilities in higher education. During that session, Dan Goldstein, outside legal counsel for the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), stated that the NFB viewed its then-recent agreement with Penn State to resolve concerns about the inaccessibility of the university's technology environment as a model for all of higher education.
ACE MOOC Effort to Include Possible Credit Recommendation
The American Council on Education (ACE) announced yesterday a broad effort to evaluate the academic potential of massive open online courses (MOOCs) based on its engagement with the MOOC provider, Coursera. Supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the project encompasses three core activities:
"1. Creation of a Presidential Innovation Lab that will bring together presidents and chancellors from diverse institutions to engage in conversations about potential new academic and financial models inspired by the disruptive potential of MOOCs that can help address attainment gaps.
2. Evaluation of select Coursera courses for college credit by the ACE College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT).
View "IT Accessibility: What Campus Leaders Have to Say"
Just prior to the EDUCAUSE 2012 Annual Conference, I noted that the AccessComputing project at the University of Washington would premier a video at the conference on technology accessibility for persons with disabilities. Produced with support from the National Science Foundation, “IT Accessibility: What Campus Leaders Have to Say” is now available from the AccessComputing site at:
AccessComputing has also made the video available via YouTube to facilitate further web distribution; you can watch the video from there or get a link to embed it in your own web page at: