MIT, Harvard Sued Over Lack Of Closed Captioning For Online Courses

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Advocates for the deaf sued Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Thursday, saying the universities failed to provide closed captioning for online courses, podcasts and other educational programs.

The National Association for the Deaf filed class action lawsuits in federal court, saying Harvard and MIT discriminated against the hearing impaired and violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The association said much of Harvard’s and MIT’s online content was not captioned, was inaccurately captioned or was unintelligibly captioned, making it inaccessible. Advocates for the deaf say they’re not seeking a financial windfall but rather permanent injunctions against the universities mandating that all their online materials include closed captioning, interpretive text displayed onscreen.

“Just as buildings without ramps bar people who use wheelchairs, online content without captions excludes individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing,” said the lawsuit against Harvard, which is similar to the one against MIT.

Officials at Harvard and MIT, both based in Cambridge, said they’re committed to making their courses and online materials accessible to everyone.

Harvard spokesman Jeff Neal said that new federal rules that will “provide much-needed guidance in this area” are expected to be proposed this year by the U.S. Department of —> Read More Here


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