Australian university adopts Google Apps for Education with known accessibility issues

Thursday, 21 July 2011 09:51am

Australia’s RMIT University may be excluding students with disabilities after all of its 74,000 student email accounts were moved to Google Apps for Education.

Google Apps for Education is a suite of hosted email and collaboration applications, such as Google Mail (Gmail), Google Documents and Google Calendar, that are available to schools and universities free of charge.

Brian Clark, Executive Director of Information Technology Services at RMIT, is also expecting students to use the collaborative applications in the suite.

“There’s a range of collaborative features built into Google Apps’ technology that will allow students to collaborate on assignments,” said Clark.

A recent report into the accessibility of Google Apps for Education by the Accessible Technology Initiative at California State University cautioned all US universities on campus-wide adoption of Google Apps for Education. The project tested the accessibility of collaboration applications Gmail Chat, Google Calendar, Google Sites and Google Docs, all of which had significant accessibility issues.

An accessibility complaint was also lodged earlier this year against Northwestern and New York Universities after they adopted Google Apps for Education.

There is currently no information about whether accessibility for students with disabilities has been considered by RMIT when adopting these products.

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