Plenty of issues may arise when it comes to accessibility in the digital learning environment - starting with the inaccessibility of the tools for online communication or e-learning, low digital literacy, poor availability of assistive technologies, inaccessibility of study materials, and last but not least the occasional visually-oriented lecture for those who are blind or partially sighted, or the missing speech-to-text reporting for hard of hearing students.
A lot of these issues might be solved when you choose proper tools, have excelent support from the Support Centre for students with special needs at your university, are skilled enough in using technology, etc.
But despite this and because of the combination of all these factors, I would say that the main issue might be the number of demands students must face at the same time and the subsequent complexity of such a task (moreover if a student should do this at his or her home without being provided any support).
In a positive way :-) Or at least I do hope so :-) Although digitalization may bring many issues that can’t be easily solved remotely (including very common issues with assistive technologies), it also brings many improvements which we could hardly imagine a year ago.
We can already experience the difference when we compare how we communicated a year ago to how we do now - we can see that what was considered almost impossible (like an online lesson led by a blind tutor) is now a common reality.
Shift to the digital world usually makes information more available, online learning allows students to join lessons not only at their universities but literary anywhere, universities can easily share their resources and materials, courses and workshops may be more international since there are no borders for the online courses, etc.
But on the other hand, additional effort must be undertaken to make all of these accessible (or at least to remove the most significant barriers).
But seen from a global perspective, I do hope that the pros outweigh the cons and we are on the right track.
Although the Czech Accessibility Law (the transposition of the Web Accessibility Directive) was not the first legislative measure related to accessibility in our country (the Czech Decree of Accessibility had come into force in 2008), it brings - like any other change - the new impetus for accessibility for all subjects affected. Since 2019, when the Czech Accessibility Law took effect, we could see the constantly growing interest regarding all kinds of accessibility services (workshops, assessments, consultations, etc.)
I do hope that those who are responsible for development and publishing will be influenced by this legislation in a positive way. They will start to consider accessibility as an integral part of their activities and something that’s normal and should be done without fear of lawsuits.
And as a follow-up to this, I do also hope that the joint effort of all stakeholders will bring people with disabilities a more inclusive environment in terms of web, mobile, and documents accessibility, making the daily work a lot easier for them.
Which all might result in a more independent life.