If you're looking for campus support services for students with disabilities, please visit the Shasta College Partners in Access to College Education (PACE) website.

Accessibility (504 & 508 Compliance)

Sections 504 & 508 of the Federal Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility and Compliance Act guarantee equal access to programs and services for everyone in institutions receiving Federal funding. California also has its own set of requirements for accessibility. What this means is that prior to course approval and implementation, all courses must be designed keeping those students who have special needs and require assistive technology in mind.

Understanding Accessibility

Simply stated, accessibility refers to the ability for everyone, particularly those with special needs, to have equal access to materials on the web. This means instructors should think about using the principle of Universal Design, that is, creating course materials that accommodate the needs, learning styles and strategies of as many students as possible regardless of their ability.

Students who have disabilities may often have difficulty completing certain tasks on the internet such as reading, listening or typing. They may find chat rooms and videoconferencing challenging. It is important to understand what students may require in the form of assistive tools such as screen readers for the visually-impaired that require text tag modifications for images or captioning for the hearing-impaired. Creating courses keeping Universal Design principles in mind will also benefit students with a range of learning styles and preferences as well.

For more information about how to make courses accessible, contact the Distance Education Department and Disabled Student Programs & Services.

Differences between 504 & 508 Compliance

Section 504 specifies that institutions receiving federal funding have to accommodate individuals with special needs so that they can have equal access to learning facilities and materials. 504 compliance begins with the individual approaching the institution (at Shasta College this is through DSPS) and requesting specific assistance.

Section 508 specifies that institutions have the responsibility to provide resources that are accessible to everyone. Electronic resources need to follow principles of universal design, meaning that the creation of websites, online materials, and online courses have to be developed with the objective of meeting the needs of everyone.