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Berkeley Will Delete Online Content

ZinheadZinhead Registered User Posts: 2,610 Senior Member
As someone who listens to lectures on Youtube, this ruling is bizarre.

The University of California, Berkeley, will cut off public access to tens of thousands of video lectures and podcasts in response to a U.S. Justice Department order that it make the educational content accessible to people with disabilities.

The Justice Department, following an investigation, in August determined that the university was violating the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. The department reached that conclusion after receiving complaints from two employees of Gallaudet University, saying Berkeley’s free online educational content was inaccessible to blind and deaf people because of a lack of captions, screen reader compatibility and other issues.

The department ordered the university to make the content accessible to people with disabilities. Berkeley, however, publicly floated an alternative: removing everything from public view. Now the university has settled on that option.

Replies to: Berkeley Will Delete Online Content

  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School Registered User Posts: 2,829 Senior Member
    That's our government ; doing bad while trying to do good.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 63,422 Senior Member
    The rest of the article references budget issues, no surprise...
  • Much2learnMuch2learn Registered User Posts: 4,422 Senior Member

    I haven't used online lectures before. Does anyone know whether other schools have online lectures that include accommodations for blind and deaf people? Is Berkeley the outlier here or are they representative of all schools?
  • ZinheadZinhead Registered User Posts: 2,610 Senior Member
    I listen to Yale courses frequently, and while they are captioned, it is not clear that they meet all of the requirements for deaf viewers or blind listeners.


  • californiaaacaliforniaaa Registered User Posts: 1,915 Senior Member
    Wow. This is the end of free content. Wow. Thanks :(
  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Registered User Posts: 15,419 Senior Member
    Common sense seems to be in short supply these days. It's a shame because it seems to me more gets lost than gained for sure in cases like this. I'm sure the Berkeley put the libraries out there because they could do so to benefit many at a low/no cost...but with a the Justice Department decision it is probably far, far less of a burden and hassle to take away what was free to all than to spend the time and money to try and appease every single potential user and Gallaudet will simply have to spend their own money to find similar content. I really wonder of Gallaudet thought that Berkeley would spend the money to bring "free content" up to what the Justice Department was asking for so that Galluaudet could "use it." I don't know - if I were Berkeley I think I would have taken it down, also, frankly and what a shame.
  • CharlieschCharliesch Registered User Posts: 1,767 Senior Member
    I don't understand how a Gallaudet student could have legal standing to make Berkeley change their free content. I could fully understand if a Berkeley student was required to view the lectures and there were not accommodations for them.
  • PentaprismPentaprism Registered User Posts: 376 Member
    edited March 8
    Last summer, my D taught a class at UCB. The class was not "officially" videotaped due to budget constraint. I don't remember the exact figure, but I think the cost of having the class recorded, edited, and published amounted to a few thousand $ per session. There were no handicapped students in the class.

    So she did the next best thing: recorded the audio and the slides using her tablet (I bought her an iPad Pro just for this purpose), then had it posted on YouTube, available to the public. The iPad was really nice because it also recorded the annotations she made on the slides during the lecture. That was sufficient for most people wanting to view the class.

    She told me it was the last class of hers posted publicly on YouTube. For future classes, she would record them the same way, but would post the videos privately, giving the URL only to the students in the class.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 8,321 Senior Member
    There should be funding for accommodations for people with all kinds of disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal law and mandate, so perhaps the federal gov. could help the state of CA out with this one. I agree with the complaint of the Gallaudet students, and wish Berkeley had found the money to do what they were advocating for.

    I do wonder how this will affect online education in general, and not just MOOC's.
  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 12,459 Senior Member
    edited March 8
    There is no reason any university should need to pay for those not affiliated with their organization to have free access to their materials! It is a shame that so many who did and could benefit from the kindness of UC Berkeley will no longer have access because of this. I don't blame them for choosing to delete content instead of spending a lot of money to comply with the ruling.

    I see selfishness on the part of the Gallaudet U employees who decided it they couldn't make use of the material without extra effort no one could. They should spend their own money to do close captioning et al of material. I disagree that everything on the internet needs to be available to all if extra efforts/money is required to do so. I think the burden to society is just too great to make everything accessible at the public's expense. It is totally different if people have paid the fee to use the materials (eg paying tuition) but can't access them.
  • ScipioScipio Super Moderator Posts: 8,440 Super Moderator
    No good deed goes unpunished. It's not possible to give away free stuff without someone loudly demanding more and better free stuff.
  • anomanderanomander Registered User Posts: 1,226 Senior Member
    I'm curious about the scope. I wonder if this is something that applies to all public universities? Will they all either have to annotate/caption/voice-over their videos or take them down? What about private universities? What about all the other educational videos on YouTube, since that's where the UCB videos were posted?
  • ollie113ollie113 Registered User Posts: 199 Junior Member
    Yes, this will apply to other public universities.

    From the DofJ letter to UCB: "Under title II, public universities must afford individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in or benefit from any aid, benefit, or service provided to others."
  • TrisherellaTrisherella Registered User Posts: 957 Member
    Berkeley's content is only up for one more week, so I decided to go to the site and see if there was anything I wanted to watch. I picked out a course and started in on a lecture. Turns out, although it is a Youtube "video," the content is all audio! So, without any associated visual content (slides etc.), it seems the Galludet students need a transcript. Maybe they'd be better off buying the books (or, using resources at their own university!) Ors Berkeley can start up a transcript service and make money.

    Just seems odd! Well, I guess I'll get to enjoy a few lectures this week...
This discussion has been closed.