The National Association for the Deaf (NAD) filed a lawsuit (PDF) against Harvard and MIT yesterday, saying the two universities are violating the Americans with Disabilities Act because they don’t properly caption their online course offerings.
Harvard’s online courses aren’t really intended for students at the Ivy League university. Rather, the thousands of videos made available are part of the University’s “commitment to equity,” an effort “to create effective, accessible avenues for people who desire to learn but who may not have an opportunity to obtain a Harvard education.”
The problem with Harvard’s offering, NAD lawyers say, is that it leaves out hard-of-hearing people. “Much of Harvard’s online content is either not captioned, or is inaccurately or unintelligibly captioned, making it inaccessible for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing,” the complaint reads. “Just as buildings without ramps bar people who use wheelchairs, online content without captions excludes individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.”
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