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                     EASI NEWS FOR YOU 11/97
                State of Technology and Education

EASI: Equal Access to Software and Information
http://www.rit.edu/~easi

During this past year colleges and universities have made a
significant increase in their uses of information technology in
their courses according to the annual survey conducted by Kenneth
Green.  At EASI we ponder what are the implications for students
with disabilities.  We believe it is important and draw your
attention to our online workshops to help with this issue.  (see
workshop information at the bottom of this newsletter.)

Technology resources -- e-mail, the Internet and the World Wide
Web (WWW), and multimedia -- are increasingly common
components of the instructional experience for American
college students, according to the 1997 Campus Computing
Survey, a national study of the use of information
technology in higher education.  Additionally, growing
numbers of campuses now have a computer competency or
computer instruction requirement for all their
undergraduates.

     This year's survey reveals that almost one-third (32.8
percent) of all college courses use e-mail, up from 25
percent in 1996 and 8 percent  in 1994.  Fully one-fourth
(24.8 percent) of all classes draw on resources available on the
Internet, compared to 15.3 percent in 1996.  And more
than an eighth (13.4 percent) of all college courses use some
form of multimedia resources, up from 8.4 percent in 1996 and 4
percent in 1994.

EASI is concerned that much of the most recent educational
technology is being developped without adequate attention to its
being accessible to disabled students.  If it is designed with us
in mind, we can participate in education as never before.  If
not, we may be closed out of learning more than ever.  Schools
and colleges are required to make education accessible to
students with disabilities, but software companies are not under
this law.  If schools neglect to ask about access features in the
software, the designers will overwhelm them with all the 'bells
and whistles' of their products.  When a college later needs to
modify it to meet the ADA requirements, the software company will
not be eager to make the modification or to share the source
code.  It is imparative that educational institutions are aware
of the law and of access issues.  EASI is working to get our
concerns heard in acaemia, and we need all of you to add your
voices to ours.  Ask if your schools and colleges consider the
accessibility of software before purchasing it.

Starting December 1, EASI will conduct 2 online workshops to help insure access
to educational technology.  EASI-web is a 4-week online workshop on web design.
Recent findings by the Office of Civil Rights have stressed the need for
educational webs to be accessible.  Computer staff, disabled student staff,
librarians, administrators and faculty all need to understand how to design web
pages for universal access.  They need not know how to write HTMl code, but
they need to understand the problems and solutions.

Adapt-it is a 4-week online workshop covering the basics of adaptive computer
and information technology.  This is not for technicians so much as for
administrators, support staff, librarians, faculty and ADA compliance officers.
Obviously, technicians will also benefit from having the larger
picture.

Registrationinformation and syllabi for these and other workshops are on the web
www.rit.edu/~easi/workshops.html or email Dr. Norman Coombs
[log in to unmask]

To keep current on information technology and disability issues,
join the EASI online discussion.  Send email to
[log in to unmask] with one line of text: subscribe
easi (and your name)

Librarians will benefit from the axslib-l list.  Send email to
[log in to unmask] with one line of text: subscribe
axslib-l (and your name).

EASI also sponsors an electronic journal: INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
AND DISABILITIES.  To receive it quarterly, send email to
[log in to unmask] with one line of text: subscribe
itd-jnl (and your name).  The December issue will be a special on
K-12 education and problems specific to science and math.

EASI:  Equal Access to Software and Information
(An Affiliate of the American Association for Higher Education)

EASI's mission is to serve as a resource to the education community by
providing information and guidance in the area of access-to-information
technologies by individuals with disabilities.  We stay informed about
developments and advancements within the adaptive computer technology field and
spread that information to colleges, universities, K-12 schools, libraries and
into the workplace.  Currently, EASI is the recipient of a National Science
Foundation grant to disseminate information on access for disabled persons to
science, engineering and math. Our membership is composed of people from
colleges, universities, businesses and other institutions.  They include
computing staff, disabled student services staff, librarians, faculty,
administrators, vendors, representatives of professional associations, private
consultants, heads of both non-profit and for-profit organizations, faculty and
staff from K-12 schools, and students. People with disabilities must have the
same access to information and resources as everyone else.