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Re: discouraging news from ToolBook and MIT

From: Judy Brewer <jbrewer@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 1999 15:02:35 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: Rafael Romero <Rafael.Romero@uv.es>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

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.



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
>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
Judy Brewer    jbrewer@w3.org    +1.617.258.9741    http://www.w3.org/WAI
Director,Web Accessibility Initiative(WAI), World Wide Web Consortium(W3C)

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Received on Monday, 26 July 1999 15:03:55 UTC

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