Interesting Policy Reads: Digital Courseware Accessibility, the IT Workforce Shortage, and a Congressional Focus on 5G

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This post includes articles regarding the accessibility of digital instructional materials, state reciprocity rules, robocall legislation, challenges facing older IT workers, and federal privacy legislation.

With our "Interesting Policy Reads" blog posts, the EDUCAUSE Policy Office highlights recent articles on federal policy issues and developments that are directly relevant to members or provide insights on higher education policy in general.

  • Rift Over State Reciprocity Rules, Inside Higher Ed, November 12, 2019. (Consumer advocates and higher education groups disagree on new federal distance education rules regulating universities that operate across state lines.)
  • Microsoft Says It Will Follow California's Digital Privacy Law in US, Reuters, November 11, 2019. (Microsoft declared itself a "strong supporter" of the California Consumer Privacy Act, a law that is widely expected to harm profits for businesses that are dependent on collecting consumer data to track users and increase sales.)
  • The Science Security Threat, Inside Higher Ed, November 13, 2019. (Federal agency officials presented documents and data suggesting a large threat to science security from foreign governments, dismissing university research officials' doubts on the issue.)
  • House, Senate Announce Agreement on Anti-robocall Bill, The Hill, November 15, 2019. (After months of negotiation, lawmakers in the House and Senate announced they have drawn up a new anti-robocall bill, the TRACED Act, which requires telephone carriers to verify calls and offer tools for customers to block spam calls.)
  • Pearson Launches Calculus Homework Helper, Inside Higher Ed, November 18, 2019. (Pearson has launched a mobile app, Aida, to help students who are struggling in college calculus by providing real-time, specific feedback on students' work.)
  • Senate Democrats Unveil Priorities for Federal Privacy Bill, The Hill, November 18, 2019. (A list of priorities for the United States' first comprehensive privacy bill restores the debate surrounding user privacy, but the bill contains some provisions that Republicans would be likely to block.)
  • Bipartisan Senate Panels Urge White House to Appoint 5G Coordinator, The Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2019. (Republican and Democratic leadership from four Senate committees called on President Trump to designate a senior official to coordinate policy on 5G wireless technology.)
  • Virtual Classes in a Virtual World, Inside Higher Ed, November 22, 2019. (Stanford's Graduate School of Business engages students on a virtual campus. Participating students are invited to create an avatar, attend classes, and mingle with peers and instructors.)
  • Older IT Workers Left Out Despite Tech Talent Shortage, The Wall Street Journal, November 25, 2019. (Various factors, including skill sets and compensation, leave older IT workers at a disadvantage in finding jobs despite a talent shortage in the tech industry.)
  • The Digital Courseware Accessibility Problem, Inside Higher Ed, December 2, 2019. (As educational publishers increasingly develop digital courseware, ensuring accessibility of such products remains a focal point of publishers, software developers, and the higher education community.)
  • Settlement Reached in Harvard Video Suit, Daily Hampshire Gazette, November 27, 2019. (In settling a 2015 lawsuit brought by the National Association of the Deaf, Harvard University agreed to make its website and online courses more accessible by adding captions for new online videos and other educational programs.)

For more information about policy issues impacting higher education IT, please visit the EDUCAUSE Review Policy Spotlight blog as well as the EDUCAUSE Policy page.

Kathryn Branson is an Associate with Ulman Public Policy.

© 2019 Kathryn Branson. The text of this work is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License.