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22 Apr 2021   Last updated 23 April 2021

Report: The State of Digital accessibility in Higher Education in Europe

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Digital accessibility

Report: The State of Digital accessibility in Higher Education in Europe

Between August of 2020 and January of 2021, Amberscript has surveyed 350 students from 175 universities in 15 countries in Europe.

Amberscript’s transcription and captioning solutions are used by thousands of students across Europe to facilitate the creation of high-quality transcriptions and captions.

In order to get first-hand insights into the degree to which universities and other higher-education institutions are becoming more accessible, Amberscript surveyed students from 175 universities across different European countries. 

From September 23rd 2020, the EU directive on Digital accessibility (EU2016/2102) came into force for media resources such as video recordings of lectures or learning videos. The EU directive requires public sector bodies (such as state-funded universities) to publish content in an accessible manner as defined in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1).

In order to design media content such as web-lectures accessible to students with auditory impairments, closed captions are required.  

About the Survey

With this survey, Amberscript wanted to identify how the COVID-19 crisis has affected the digitalization of learning resources and to which degree these resources are digitally accessible to students with auditory impairments. 

By asking students about their learning experience directly, we hope to shed some light on the current degree of accessibility at the majority of European universities and we hope to raise awareness around the topic of inclusion. 

Between August of 2020 and January of 2021, Amberscript has surveyed 350 students from 175 universities in 15 countries in Europe.

The survey consisted of 15 questions, out of which 12 were multiple choice and 3 were open questions. The questions were sent via email to our database of students from the selected universities. 

“I have a slight hearing loss in my other ear and auditory processing issues and although it doesn’t affect me in every context, I still wish there were subtitles in more things. I feel like there is a need to talk more about accessibility at my university”

A student from a university in Finland

Key Findings

  • In reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, universities started digitalizing their learning resources at a remarkable pace
  • Video has become the ‘new normal’, nearly 80% of respondents indicated that their universities use video ‘often’ or ‘very often’
  • While the speed of digitalization has been a priority, there is big room for improvement when it comes to accessibility and inclusion
  • A large part of universities seem to struggle with the question of how to become compliant with the legislation around digital accessibility

“Access to digital resources should be a reality for everyone. Leaving millions of Europeans behind is not an option.”

Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the EU Digital Single Market

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