W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > July to September 1999

Re: Fw: discouraging news from ToolBook and MIT

From: Jean Foster <jfoster@MIT.EDU>
Date: Fri, 13 Aug 1999 12:45:09 -0400
Message-Id: <199908131645.MAA20643@arizona.mit.edu>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Cc: jfoster@MIT.EDU, web-access@MIT.EDU

I work for the Academic Computing department at MIT and I want let you 
know that MIT is aware of web accessibility issues and is working to 
educate the MIT community about them.

Last spring my group embarked on a project to put together some web 
documentation to aid instructors in putting their courses on the web.  As 
we started pulling this together I realized that MIT had no policy 
concerning web pages and accessibility and that there was no local 
information available to guide people in how to make their pages 
accessible.  (Yes the W3C and WAI are physically at MIT but MIT is a very 
large organization and people don't always know what is going on on the 
other side of the block..)

So I got together with a group of people from different areas including 
the Adaptive Technology Lab, and the Office of Disability Services, and 
several other MIT IS teams and came up with a plan of action to develop an 
official policy on web accessiblity at MIT, and design outreach efforts 
including lunch hour classes to teach web accessibility, articles 
published in several MIT newsletters and publications, a presentation to 
the unofficial webmasters organization on campus called CWIS-pub, a lunch 
hour "Quick Start" class,  a web site with the policy, guidelines and 
pointers to WAI and other information, a mention on the MIT home page 
spotlight sometime in September, and a postcard mailing with the policy 
and site URL, and guidelines.

In other words, we are trying to reach out to the MIT community in every 
way possible to inform them about web accessibility.  At this point I 
think the biggest problem is the fact that most people just aren't aware 
of the issue.

Our goal was to pull all of this together before the Fall semester starts 
and we are almost there. The web site should be up by next Wednesday (Aug. 
18) at http://web.mit.edu/ada.   Our 1st presentation will be given in two 
weeks, the first newsletter article is due out this week in the MIT i/s 
newsletter (also online at: http://web.mit.edu/is/isnews/v14/n06/140604.htm

So, we are making a major push to make sure we don't have MIT people 
making those types of gaffes again!

Jean Foster
Faculty Liaison/MIT Academic Computing

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Judy Brewer <jbrewer@w3.org>
> To: Rafael Romero <Rafael.Romero@uv.es>; <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
> Sent: Monday, July 26, 1999 3:02 PM
> Subject: Re: discouraging news from ToolBook and MIT
> > Rafael,
> >
> > A few clarifications here. MIT and W3C are not the same thing, as implied
> > in your message. MIT is a university, and is one of the three
> international
> > host sites for W3C, the World Wide Web Consortium.
> >
> > With regard to W3C's site, W3C has been working through the different
> > sections of its site to bring the site into conformance with the Web
> > Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0. First priorities include top level
> > pages for each W3C activity, and specifications published on the /TR
> > (Technical Reports) page, and technical submissions from W3C Member
> > organizations. Plenty of work to be done, but W3C is committed to doing
> this.
> >
> > With regard to MIT's various sites, some parts of MIT have already made
> > commitments to make their sites accessible. The MIT Laboratory for
> Computer
> > Science <http://www.lcs.mit.edu/>, which is the specific MIT host site for
> > North America, did an accessibility review of their site in March when
> they
> > were re-doing their Web site. This was before the Web Content
> Accessibility
> > Guidelines were finalized, and we will be talking with MIT/LCS about an
> > updated review. We expect support for Double-AA conformance from MIT/LCS.
> > As for the Intelligent Engineering Systems Laboratory where Professor
> > Williams is based, we have not discussed their site with them, but will.
> >
> > Also I should clarify that there is currently no W3C group working in
> > standardisation of Online Learning Materials as implied in your message,
> > although WAI participants and staff have been tracking and commenting on a
> > number of discussions in the on-line education community with regard to
> > accessibility and we feel that this is an important area in which people
> > can work together to ensure the application of all three WAI guidelines.
> > There are currently hundreds of on-line learning toolkits available or
> > under development, and almost all of these efforts have not been
> addressing
> > accessibility. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines should be a good
> > immediate resource for these groups; and likewise the User Agent
> > Accessibility Guidelines and Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines
> should
> > be useful once completed. I encourage you to consider the requirements of
> > on-line learning environments when you respond with comments to calls for
> > review on working drafts of those guidelines.
> >
> > Regards,
> >
> > Judy
> >
> > At 08:15 PM 7/26/99 +0200, Rafael Romero wrote:
> > >Hello, I was attending a conference about Online Learning in Cheltenham
> > last 21-22 july at the UK.
> > >
> > >After Prof John Williams <http://ken.mit.edu/jrweb/> from MIT
> > (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) explained the strategical
> > importance of online learning courses for the future of the institute and
> > the new applications they were developing I went to him privately to ask
> if
> > they were considering accesibility issues in the new developments. He
> > kindly explained to me that
> > >
> > >1. W3 pages themselves do not comply with WAI accessibility standards
> > >2. Accesibility for disabled was not a priority for them in these
> moments.
> > >
> > >Afterwards he accepted a WAI Quick Tips card that I handed to him.
> > >
> > >Later on in the public presentation of Toolbook latest version (v. 7)
> > there was a very similar situation. TB 7 is used to develop multimedia
> > educational software, that now is also directly exported to html and java
> > formats. I asked publicly to Mr Claude Ostyn, the general director of
> > Asymetrix, if they were considering accesibility issues in the html code
> > generated by their application.
> > >
> > >He also kindly explained to me and the rest of the public that
> > >
> > >1. W3 pages themselves do not comply with WAI accessibility standards
> > >2. Accesibility for disabled was not a priority in these moments and they
> > were not going to delay the launch of TB 7 for these issues.
> > >
> > >I was a bit surprised because Mr Ostyn had previously mentioned the
> > potential of web for reaching many types of users, including those with
> > disabilities and he is himself a member of one W3 group working in
> > standardisation of Online Learning Materials (or something similar).
> > >
> > >The question of W3 pages not complying themselves to accesibility
> > standards seems to be a recurrent excuse for some people for not
> > promoting/enforcing the guidelines in their own institutional webs and
> > applications.
> > >
> > >Pity. Isn't it?
> > >
> > >Best regards, Rafael Romero.
> > >
> > >
> > >PS: URL of conference was http://online.chelt.ac.uk/ole99/ but that is
> not
> > relevant to the message and currently it is not working. Hopefully it will
> > soon be available again in case anyone is interested in the whole list of
> > speakers.
> > >
> > _________________________________________________________________________
> > Judy Brewer    jbrewer@w3.org    +1.617.258.9741    http://www.w3.org/WAI
> > Director,Web Accessibility Initiative(WAI), World Wide Web Consortium(W3C)
> >
> > WAI Interest Group home page: http://www.w3.org/WAI/IG
> > Previous WAI IG Updates: http://www.w3.org/WAI/IG/Overview.html#Updates
> > Unsubscribe? Send "unsubscribe" subject line: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org
> > Questions? http://www.w3.org/WAI/IG/Overview.html#Uselist or wai@w3.org
> >
Received on Friday, 13 August 1999 12:50:18 UTC

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