Author Topic: UC Berkley takes down free online lectures B/C of DOJ Lawsuit  (Read 284 times)

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Offline indeedproceed

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Here is an issue that has nothing to do with our trainwreck of a president or their trainwreck of a healthcare bill or our trainwreck of foreign relations. It's almost a 'safe space' issue to just crap on government overreach.

Quote from: East Bay Times
BERKELEY — UC Berkeley will restrict public access to much of its online course content for a variety of practical reasons, Vice Chancellor Cathy Koshland announced this week.

The action by the campus is supposed to partially address a recent investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice that found the university in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

...

The Department of Justice investigation was sparked by complaints from the National Association of the Deaf on behalf of two of its members: one is a professor at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., teaching communications; the other is in charge of web, print and video communications at the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center at Gallaudet.

In a 10-page letter to UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks and campus counsels on Aug. 30, the DOJ identified several barriers to participation by individuals with hearing, vision or manual disabilities in the UCBerkeleyX platform’s Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs. Those barriers included certain videos that did not have captions, did not have sufficient color contrasts, or had formatting, keyboard accessibility, or other problems.

The DOJ also found shortcomings in the university’s YouTube and iTunesU platforms, including inaccurate and incomplete captions, lack of alternative formats for certain visual information, low color contrast, and absence of closed captions in videos.

...

“Remediation for accessibility issues would need to be determined for each video, but captioning alone would exceed a million dollars as that work costs $1.90 per minute,” UC Berkeley spokesman Roqua Montez said in an email. “Of course, this projected cost does not include the human cost — the administrative cost — which would undoubtedly increase the overall dollar amount.”

The DOJ also instructed the university to pay compensatory damages in an unspecified amount to aggrieved individuals.

Now I'm a dyed in the wool liberal. I'm so liberal that my underwear feels oppressed by my farts and holds weekly protests.

But I still don't understand how this ruling is practical or serves the public good in any way.

Now I'm not taking the position that deaf/blind/disabled people don't deserve free lectures from Berkley. However, this is a free service, which at most brings good notoriety to the university and free publicity, but in reality, probably most people aren't even aware of it. I don't see how forcing a context where the university would rather just take down the service that update it serves people with disabilities.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2017, 12:10:16 PM by indeedproceed »

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Re: UC Berkley takes down free online lectures B/C of DOJ Lawsuit
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2017, 12:27:47 PM »

Offline mef730

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I agree with everything you say, including the part about being the dyed in the wool liberal. Seriously, it's the type of thing about the left that drives me nuts. "If I can't have everything, I'm going to take my ball and go home."

Mike
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Re: UC Berkley takes down free online lectures B/C of DOJ Lawsuit
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2017, 12:39:45 PM »

Offline liam

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Yeah, this stupid. It's a we can't have it so no one can approach.

Re: UC Berkley takes down free online lectures B/C of DOJ Lawsuit
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2017, 01:28:35 PM »

Offline action781

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These things asked for are highly time consuming.  A few years ago, I was working on a project I was very passionate about creating a MOOC at my college for students who scored low on the placement test and wanted some free remediation.  I came to find out that by this same rule I also had to closed caption all my videos... basically transcribe them by audio and hand.  This was probably going to take me somewhere near 100 hours to which end I nearly gave up on the project even after having recorded all the videos.  Our school right around that time bought a license to a dictation software for a few thousand dollars that basically did it for us.

Overall, this is a good thing in giving everyone equal treatment even if it is very expensive accommodations to make for the few.  But eventually, we'll probably view this like buildings requiring ramps/elevators for wheelchair access now.  I can imagine that a while back, this was thought of as an outrageous and expensive accommodation for few people, but now it's a very basic assumption.

Related to the story itself, I'm curious if the National Association of the Deaf made complaints originally to UC Berkeley that went ignored or if this just came on them out of the blue.  I'm nearly certain that UC already has a disability services office that is already very experienced in dealing with this kind of stuff (every college does).  To the point that if they did ignore any such requests, then the behavior of ignoring such requests would probably qualify, to me, as bordering on legit discrimination.  Yeah, this stuff is expensive, but everybody's doing it already (including probably Berkeley themselves).  An institution like Berkeley especially should be ahead of the curve, not behind it, on an issue like this.  If the National Association of the Deaf just brought up issue to the DoJ with no previous complains, then that's really annoying of them.
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Re: UC Berkley takes down free online lectures B/C of DOJ Lawsuit
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2017, 02:09:35 PM »

Online saltlover

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I agree with everything you say, including the part about being the dyed in the wool liberal. Seriously, it's the type of thing about the left that drives me nuts. "If I can't have everything, I'm going to take my ball and go home."

Mike

This isn't a left/right issue, really.  It's an issue of special interest vs. general interest.  Special interests are always willing to stop playing if their interest isn't met, because that's all they're there for to begin with.

And that's not to completely discredit the special interest in this case.  Accessibility in the digital age is a real issue -- as an ever-increasing portion of our lives moves online, poorly designed and coded websites can leave behind Americans with visual and hearing impairments, when properly designed sites can bring them more into society than ever before.  You'd have to think a better solution would have been working with Berkeley to help find a way to make everything accessible while leaving it online for everyone, instead of taking it down and paying a fine.  Engaging them as a partner could lead to greater awareness and make accessibility seem doable, as opposed to something to difficult and costly for a reasonably well-funded school to handle.  It seems like an opportunity was missed in the name of special interest zealotry.


Re: UC Berkley takes down free online lectures B/C of DOJ Lawsuit
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2017, 02:12:17 PM »

Offline wdleehi

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I hope this doesn't get down to the high school level.   I really do not want to go back and redo all my video lessons. 

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Re: UC Berkley takes down free online lectures B/C of DOJ Lawsuit
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2017, 02:45:08 PM »

Offline indeedproceed

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I hope this doesn't get down to the high school level.   I really do not want to go back and redo all my video lessons. 

I imagine that'll depend on whether or not you have a deaf student.

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Re: UC Berkley takes down free online lectures B/C of DOJ Lawsuit
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2017, 02:46:16 PM »

Offline mef730

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I agree with everything you say, including the part about being the dyed in the wool liberal. Seriously, it's the type of thing about the left that drives me nuts. "If I can't have everything, I'm going to take my ball and go home."

Mike

This isn't a left/right issue, really.  It's an issue of special interest vs. general interest.  Special interests are always willing to stop playing if their interest isn't met, because that's all they're there for to begin with.

And that's not to completely discredit the special interest in this case.  Accessibility in the digital age is a real issue -- as an ever-increasing portion of our lives moves online, poorly designed and coded websites can leave behind Americans with visual and hearing impairments, when properly designed sites can bring them more into society than ever before.  You'd have to think a better solution would have been working with Berkeley to help find a way to make everything accessible while leaving it online for everyone, instead of taking it down and paying a fine.  Engaging them as a partner could lead to greater awareness and make accessibility seem doable, as opposed to something to difficult and costly for a reasonably well-funded school to handle.  It seems like an opportunity was missed in the name of special interest zealotry.

All good points, TP.

Mike
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Re: UC Berkley takes down free online lectures B/C of DOJ Lawsuit
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2017, 03:38:38 PM »

Offline More Banners

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I hope this doesn't get down to the high school level.   I really do not want to go back and redo all my video lessons.

Bank on it my friend.

Universal design/access is here to stay. 

The sooner everyone gets accustomed to it, the easier it will be. It's almost always easier to plan than fix, just like access ramps, wide doors, etc. Of course, it would be nice to have admin clue everyone in ahead of time. It's not like everyone is supposed to be a disability specialist or whatever.