JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REACHES MAJOR SETTLEMENT WITH EDX
edX was created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University
On April 2, the Justice Department entered into a settlement agreement with edX Inc. (edX), to remedy alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The entity, edX, was started in 2012 as a nonprofit platform for select universities to offer MOOCs to the world. The consortium’s 36 charter members include Berkeley, Georgetown, Dartmouth, Caltech, the Sorbonne and Peking University, in addition to Harvard and MIT. Today, edX has approximately 60 university and institutional members providing over 450 courses to over 3,000,000 learners. The courses are offered largely for free in subject matters as varied as business, computer sciences, hard sciences, food and nutrition and social sciences.
The agreement resolves the department’s allegations that edX’s website and its platform for providing massive open online courses (MOOCs), were not fully accessible to individuals with disabilities, including individuals who are blind or have low vision, individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and individuals who have physical disabilities affecting manual dexterity, in violation of Title III of the ADA.
Today’s agreement requires edX to make significant modifications to its website, platform and mobile for making web content accessible to users with disabilities. Under the agreement edX will need applications to conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA, which are industry guidelines l also provide guidance and authoring tools to the entities that create and post courses with edX web site, many of which are independently covered by the ADA, to assist them in creating accessible course content. Because edX makes its software code freely available, any modifications to that code under this agreement will enable other MOOC providers to enhance the accessibility of their online offerings.