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Technology Accessibility Findings
EDUCAUSE members engage with a variety of technologies and applications that assist students with disabilities in pursuing their learning objectives or have implications for their ability to do so. By sharing their knowledge and experiences in this space, members can save each other time and expense while enhancing planning and effectiveness. More importantly, they can deepen the community’s collective understanding of how technology may best support accessibility in higher education. EDUCAUSE members are encouraged to submit reports and information on the accessibility of various technologies and applications by tagging their submissions or blog postings with “Technology Accessibility Findings”. Submissions tagged to date will be presented here.
California State University VPATdb “The VPATdb is a central repository for sharing Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPATs) and other accessibility documentation used in evaluating electronic and information technology (E&IT) related equipment. Resources are collected by the Chancellor's Office, California State University campuses, and other organizations involved in accessible procurement and uploaded into the database. The purpose of the VPATdb is to facilitate community interactions around the review and assessment of electronic and information technology (E&IT).” The site FAQs state that “The VPATdb is open to all organizations that are willing to contribute VPATs to the database. Vendors are not allowed to participate at this time.”
The FAQs also provide a working definition of “Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)”:
"VPAT stands for Voluntary Product Accessibility Template. A VPAT is a vendor-generated statement that provides information on how a product or service conforms to the Section 508 Accessibility Standards (from the U.S. Access Board) for Electronic and Information Technology (E&I T) in a consistent fashion and format. In general, vendors should generate a VPAT whenever they develop products or services that are determined to be E&I T and are to be sold in the California State University market place. In each VPAT, vendors are expected to make specific statements in simple understandable language about how their product or service meets the requirements of the Section 508 Standards (section by section, and paragraph by paragraph)."
Virginia Community College System VPATs and Accessibility Document Library The VCCS central office has utilized input from representatives of its member colleges to compile this listing of VPATs from a variety of technology providers serving the higher education market.
BuyAccessible, The federal government’s Section508.gov website provides a comprehensive array of information and resources on Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, which requires that federal agencies purchase and deploy electronic and information technology (EIT) that is accessible to persons with disabilities. In addition to federal agencies, some states and organizations base their EIT purchasing requirements on Section 508 standards, so the site serves as a public resource as well. The BuyAccessible section of the site offers tools to help in the procurement of technologies meeting Section 508 requirements. The BuyAccessible Wizard may be particularly useful in this regard:
“The BuyAccessible Wizard is a web-based application that guides users through a process of gathering data and providing information about Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) and Section 508 compliance.
- The Wizard supports decisions about Section 508 relevance and applicability, first steps in a general process for Section 508 compliance.
- The Wizard also supports searching for accessibility information and helps document the results of Section 508-related Market Research.
- The Wizard compiles a running summary to document this process and its results.
- The Wizard allows users to manage, start, stop and resume multiple summaries for various EIT analyses.”
Library Items on this Topic
EDUCAUSE Library Items for Technology Accessibility Findings
- Google Accessibility Improvements
April 22, 2013
Google started informing its applications user groups today about the accessibility improvements it has made to a range of its applications and software platforms. (Please see below for the quote…
- ATHEN Report on the Accessibility of GMail and Google Calendar
February 29, 2012
The Access Technology Higher Education Network (ATHEN) is continuing its functional evaluation of the components of the Google Application Suite to determine the accessibility of each component f…
- ATI Google Apps Accessibility Evaluation
October 11, 2011
The California State University Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI) has posted a report on the accessibility of Google Apps. The report stems from a collaborative effort by volunteers from se…
- Accessibility Update: GMail and Google Calendar
March 6, 2012
The Access Technology Higher Education Network (ATHEN) has released its latest in a planned series of reports on the accessibility of key components of Google Apps for Education. Its first r…
- NFB: Google Apps Accessibility Not There Yet
January 13, 2012
This last October, I wrote about comments made by the National Federation of the Blind’s legal counsel, Dan Goldstein, indicating that Google appeared to be on track to resolve NFB concerns ab…