Accessibility Education Technology

Accessibility compliance and sustainable business processes for web, instructional materials, and procurement


  • Cheryl Pruitt (CP), Director, Accessible Technology, CSU Office of the Chancellor
  • Sue Cullen (SC), Assistant Director, CSU Office off the Chancellor
  • Leslie Kennedy (LK), Director, Academic Technology Solutions, CSU Office of the Chancellor

When you think of Accessibility Compliance and Sustainable Business Processes, What comes to Mind?

  • It’s difficult!
  • Voting
  • Reading lunch menu
  • Viewing sports events
  • Frankly anything!

Does this affect many people? YES

  • 2010 census report, about 56.7 million people – 19 percent of the population – had a disability
  • % of undergrads who reported having a disability was 19.4 percent in 15/16
  • 26 percent of undergrads who were vets reported having a disability
  • CSU students with disabilities self identified and validated: 2016 16,429 verified disability!

Accessibility is a Civil Right

  • Rehabilitation Act of 1973, section 504 and 508
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 1990
  • Campus violations can result in charges of discriminatory practices by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR)
  • Get buy-in from faculty, staff, and administration on the importance of accessibility as a civil right

Neglecting Accessibility…A Closer Look

  • OCR complaints: student and outsider complaints
  • Lawsuits: National Federation of the Blind, National Association of the Deaf

Sustainable Business Processes to Support

  • Civil rights
  • Students academic pursuits (curriculum, extracurricular)
  • Faculty, staff, administrators and the public
  • Universal Design approach to support goals of inclusion and Civil Rights

ATI Supporting Civil Rights

  • Policy: collaborative development, report development, assessment data – ATI Annual reports, training ATI maturity model
  • Generic sustainable business process development: 3 COPs, Working groups, accessible technology network, proof of concepts, campus exemplar examples shared in COP groups, Sharepoint website.
  • Governed through EO 1111. “It is CSU policy to ensure that individuals with disabilities shall have ewqual access to and the opportunity to participate in CSU programs, activities and services.”

CSU ATI Framework: Policy, 3 priority areas, Strategies

  • CMM: 25 goals and 150+ success indicators
  • Continuous business process improvement with strong executive support
  • Make a campus plan > Work the campus plan > Measure Progress
  • 3 high level priority areas: Procurement, Instructional Materials, Web

ATI Steering Committee

  • Provides support, resources, guides implementation, approves plan and ATI reports.
  • ATI steering committee chair, PM, VPs, Academic Senate, DSS, ADA compliance officer

Determine Impact: ATI Prioritization Framework 5-Step Approach

  1. Assess risk factors (impact, likelihood of significant barriers, probability: likelihood of consequences)
  2. Assign risk level (High, Medium, Low)
  3. Determine campus capacity (What resources needed?)
  4. Set priority level (to determine course of action consider the risk level to campus)
  5. Take action (document decisions, acquire resources needed)

Q: where do success indicators come from? Who created them? CP: no blueprint existed when we started out. We adopted a capability maturity model because of the scale/depth/breadth of scope. Our success criteria ended up appearing in some of our OCR complaints.

Q: is there any data showing student success based on any of this? CP: users are not self-identifying, so it’s tough. We DO have data on students served with accommodations.

Generic sustainable business process development

  • Goals and success indicators provide a roadmap for moving ATI forward: applying status levels, creating generic business processes
  • ATI Prioritization Framework: impact and probability – risk assessment
  • Roles & responsibilities: president appoint ATI sponsor; steering committee

Generic 4 Step Process

  1. Procurement: templates, roles & responsibilities, vendor requirements
  2. VPAT review process and training
  3. Estimated effort to implement process; individual campus: procurement process training and VPAT training
  4. CO procurement product reviews RFPs, MEAs, etc.: Vendor and RFP requirements, document reviews, vendor consultation, vendor demo

ATI Services Network

  • Processes design and template development
  • Library database accessibility documentation critical review
  • Web support for systemwide automated evaluation tool: systemwide shared checkpoints; training


  • Automated and manual systemwide web training: video training & participation assessment
  • For all members of the campus community: intro to accessibility
  • Web Developers: HTML5 accessibility; JS accessibility; Compliance Sheriff Product training
  • Web content creators and web developers
  • Manual evaluation worksheet template and training resource

Instructional Materials

  • AIMHub services
  • Captioning roles & responsibilities 3rd party contract (CaptionSync): training, prioritization, custom video training webinars
  • CommonLook Pilot: tools & remediation services contract
  • Library database reviews
  • Faculty Information Home: navigation of online materials, how-to materials, administrative and planning considerations, shared student work, resources

Cheryl reviewed the procurement working group’s 4-step process development.

CSU Addressing Accessibility Requirements Project (CAARP)

  • Formed to follow-up on the letter to Presidents from Dr. Blanchard
  • Designed to augment/complement and should support the strong foundation of your ongoing ATI projects, ATI staff, and annual ATI self-eval processes that campuses have been conducting for over 10 years
  • Plans should be submitted for review and approval to Chancellor White by September 6, 2019

Who handles issues around CSU compliance?

  • ATI
  • Office of Chancellor, general counsel
  • Audit
Accessibility Education Technology

Leveraging blackboard A11y and campus “allies” to support a culture of inclusion


  • Shelli Wynants, Director, Online Education and Training, CSUF
  • Willie Peng, AVP, Academic Technology Support Services, CSUF

WP: Started this conversation in early Spring 2018, when we signed the MOU, began testing and deployment, developed a rollout plan, etc. In Summer 2018, we rolled out to about 40 faculty during our Summer “B” session. In 2018 Fall, we added CourseMatch, DSS registered courses, added selective volunteers. In 2019 Spring we enabled for all courses, embarked on a big marketing and training program (we’re getting a lot of great feedback from our faculty about this product). In the near future, we’re enabling for our Moodle Community Instance and doing more marketing and training.

How has your campus implemented A11y?

Q: Are you tracking how many people are responding to your MarCom emails? WP: No, but we’re planning to switch to a new email program so that we can do that. SW: all emails do come to me, but I only fielded one negative comment from faculty.

Q: DRC connection: did they give you a list of classes? SW: Yes! So it was turned on for all of those classes.

COMMENT: at SM, we rolled it out quickly. It was not received as well as we had hoped. Lots of faculty were doing remediation of materials that we didn’t know about. We’re going to involve marketing going forward.

Leveraging Campus Allies

SW: Our Academic Technology Center is our #1 stop. Instructional designers help out with most common kinds of things, like remediation of Word documents. We also have GrackleDocs for Google Docs, Forms and Slides. We turned on VoiceThread auto captioning for presentations and discussions and that’s worked out well for us (this is complimentary to services we receive from Automatic Sync Technologies). IT completely revamped our accessible technology website.

Q: how did you go about training? SW: we created a 3-part certificate, totally online training. #1 Accessibility Awareness, #2 universal design for learning, #3 creating accessible documents and presentations. Training is individual, not cohort. We’ve had a lot of non-faculty taking this training as well.

SW: We have grant money for OER: Student Success Series for Faculty Summer 2019. I give $100 to each person who completes the certificate…I had 35!

Our goal for staff is to take 5 courses in professional development. We have lots of material on A11y, Universal Design for Learning, and more. We start with equity, student success and then dive into accessibility.

What resources does your campus use to leverage A11y as part of a larger campus discussion about inclusion? Which campus “allies” are involved on your campus for promoting a culture of inclusion?

Q from CSUMB: you’re a “pull” type of organization…it’s all opt-in. Is anyone else doing a broader “we’re going to remediate things en-masses, set a baseline and get the work done?” SW: I think we’d have a faculty revolt if we attempted that!

Q: Would focusing on new faculty be a good idea? WP: yes. We’re also using CourseMatch and remediating as appropriate (the provost is behind us on this). SW: we’ve found that the certificate goes a long way toward providing motivation. A door sign or micro-credential might be useful in this way, too.

Q: are you planning on turning on the scoring part? SW: no, not yet. However, we thought we might turn it on for our early adopters/volunteers. It would be good if we had another campus’ experience to learn from. Some campuses have resolutions around maintaining accessibility for all coursework. SW: I think our policies are generally like this, but enforcement is a question. WP: we have 2 different Moodle instances, one is for coursework, the other is for “community.”

Next Steps

  • Student Awareness: campaign to promote accessing instructional materials using alternate format
  • Support: student, faculty, staff
  • Escalation: bugs, features
  • Additional tools to support accessibility: provide tools to address accessibility at document creation

Student awareness: advisors, res life, new students, U100 classes, email address for a11y, blocks of text explaining what a11y is (messaging like “you can listen in the gym, on the train,” etc. for ePub).

Support: WP we have a faculty support center AND a student support center; walk-in centers have been helpful.

Escalation: channel to submit bugs and feature requests.

Additional tools to support accessibility: WP we’re trying to be more pro-active and catch thing early (doing things in post-production is a lot more challenging). We’re trying to create a community among all constituencies to create learning materials about making documents accessibly.

What are you doing on your campuses?

Q: Filetypes…what are people telling folks about saving and uploading particular types of files? SW: we direct faculty to our module 3. CSU MB: faculty that create their materials from pre-existing materials? Yeah, that can be kind of tough. SW: we tend to help out with Word documents the most, and we have an in-house “guru” on PDF accessibility.

Q: what are you doing on your campuses? Filetypes…what are people telling folks about saving and uploading particular types of files. SW: we direct faculty to our module 3. CSU MB: faculty that create their materials from pre-existing materials? Yeah, that can be kind of tough. SW: we tend to help out with Word documents the most, and we have an in-house “guru” on PDF accessibility.

Accessibility Technology

Making Peoplesoft Accessible at the University of Minnesota

Presenter: Hendrix Bodden from GreyHeller

Project Overview

  • Campus views Disability as Diversity
  • Large Peoplesoft installation
  • Self-service was not accessible, but required high customization
  • Upgrade: new version splitting CS/HR databases; accessibility came in at the end; modifying PS pages in-house to make accessible too expensive!
  • Deque provided accessibility assessments
  • Intrasee provided UX

Access & Accessibility: Details

  • Use cases (there were TONS on student and HR)
  • Test User accounts
  • Environments
  • Test data
  • Collaboration tools

Platform-wide accessibility

  • Interaction: all functionality available from keyboard
  • Optimized UX: easy to use
  • Full-featured: parity with desktop use.

Product Demonstration

  • Transformation of the HTML provided by the out of the box Peoplesoft pages (it looks sooo much nicer).
  • Ran the page on an iPad with VoiceOver – this was a powerful demonstration of the proper use of markup.


  • Plug-in to PeopleSoft environment (on the PS web server)
  • Inherits from deployed PeopleSoft system: security rules, all business rules & audits, all calculations, all customizations and bolt-ons made by a customer, all database updates and access
  • Starting point is the PeopleSoft page
  • All back-end logic is the same

Semantic HTML

  • Ensures proper HTML structure: sequence, hierarchy, eliminates extraneous content, proper relationships & roles
  • Eliminates dependency on CSS for proper display
  • Showed a slide of audit of the enrollment shopping cart

Common PeopleSoft HTML Issues

  • Lightboxes
  • Prompt Dialogs
  • Set appropriate values for heading, subheadings, grids
  • Sets presentation mode attributes on read-only tables
  • Associates labels with form fields

Improves Navigation & Taxonomy

  • Sets Aria roles
  • Sets navigation role
  • Adds skip links
  • Tabs & tab structure
  • Links & buttons
  • Navigation menus and submenus

Improving End-User Interaction

  • Highlight content in focus
  • Remember scroll position on reloads, AJAX updates, and other processing

Lessons Learned: Challenges

  • High-level commitment to accessibility
  • Accessibility integrated from day one
  • Changing FTE commitments at U
  • Understanding of fuller picture
  • Immature U processes


Accessibility Technology

The 2015 CSUN Mega Post

Hey there!

When I come to the CSUN conference, I write about every session I attend.  When I’m all done with the conference, I make sure I gather up all my posts into one <echo>MEGA POST</echo>.  In the past, I felt strongly pulled toward the more technical web track sessions, because I run a web development shop.  This year, I sprinkled in some legal and compliance sessions, because the technical stuff doesn’t exist in a vacuum.  That, and I find myself being asked to weigh in on accessibility concerns in senior-level conversations more frequently these days.

I may be a glutton for punishment, but whenever I attend a busy conference that has lots of concurrent sessions throughout the day, I try to attend as many as I can…with no breaks in between.  This year, I got to 18 sessions, and it was pretty tiring.  I think it matters that I get the most “bang for the buck” for attending, and it’s important that I don’t keep what I learn all to myself.  So I take notes.  A LOT OF NOTES.  This helps me stay focused when my mind starts to wander, and it may be useful to others.

I hope you find it useful.

Wednesday, March 4 Session Notes

  1. The Implementation of PDF/UA and Standardized Access to PDF Content
  2. Digital Accessibility: 2015 Annual Legal Update
  3. Accessibility at the BBC
  4. Do We Need to Changes the Web Accessibility Game Plan (Redux)?
  5. Real-Time Conversations:  From TTY to Real-Time Text (RTT)
  6. Aiming for Excellence at a Fortune 50 Company (aka TARGET)

Thursday, March 5 Session Notes

  1. CSS, Accessibility and You
  2. Scaling Web Accessibility From Specialist Niche to Business-As-Usual
  3. Web Compliance Evaluation Strategies – All In One
  4. Accessibility in the Web Project Lifecycle
  5. Accessibility in an Agile World
  6. Revised Maturity Model: Case Study of the CIA

Friday, March 6 Session Notes

  1. Choosing an Accessible UI Framework
  2. Evaluating the Accessibility of Your Website:  New Resources and Tools
  3. 7 Lessons from Developing an Accessible HTML5 Video Player
  4. The Digital Accessibility Maturity Model for Measuring Program Success
  5. A Digitally Inclusive Future for Canada’s National Broadcaster
  6. Purchasing Accessible EIT Products:  A Suggested Campus Procurement Process
Accessibility Technology

Purchasing Accessible EIT Products: A Suggested Campus Procurement Process

Presenters:  Cheryl Pruitt and Dawn Futrell from California State University, CSU Office of the Chancellor, Tom Siechert from California State University, Fresno, Susan Cullen from California State University, Northridge

@seichert | @cullensus

This was my sixth session and final session at the CSUN conference on Friday, March 6.  Showing some love to my CSU people before heading home.   I should be able to avoid some of the San Diego – Los Angeles traffic, but not all of it 🙁  Anyway, procurement is a great place to start when ensuring that you’re meeting accessibility requirements; the CSU has made a commitment to ensuring that everything it buys is accessible.

Controlling Purchasing can be a Daunting Task

  • Implementing accessibility into the purchasing process for a 23-campus system is tough…
  • Every campus implements accessible procurement differently:  different forms, processes and evaluation techniques
  • We Wanted to Break Down the Problem
  • Document the process that can be adopted and adapted by every campus
  • Expectations:  buy the most accessibile products, create a plan for providing accommodations, promote a culture of accessibility, institution wide ever, speak with one voice
  • We have 7 people/campuses on the ATI standardization team

Findings and recommendations

  • Keys to implementing accessible procurement:  strong sustainable executive level support, roles and responsibilities, shared responsibility across the campus
  • It’s not JUST an ATI process or JUST a procurement process
  • Roles:  ATI designee or other designees, purchase requester, admin support staff, buyer, vendor, IT support staff, disability services staff, executive sponsor

4-step Process for Campuses

Documentation of the steps below can be found here:

  1. Gather information
  2. Review information
  3. Review product
  4. Place order

Equally Effective Alternative Access Process (aka “EEAAP”)

  • Sometimes a product cannot meet everyone’s needs.  The EEAAP is how accommodations will be met for people who cannot be served by the product.


  • Reqs often don’t include critical info:  what are we buying, how will it be used, who will use it, end users reqd to use product, what are future plans for product use
  • Need for speed (RUSH orders)
  • Large numbers of IT purchases
  • Over 1,600 IT items in 2014 were ordered!  About 203 were reviewed for a11y
  • Of those 203, almost 100 were for “smart classrooms,” 44 were for Multi Function Devices, 54 were for departments and colleges, 8 were for students

Procurement + Accessibility

  • Integrate accessibility into the existing procurement process
  • Integration types:  one-size fits all (aka shotgun approach)
  • Impact-based process and intelligent workflow

Review Process

  • Minimum reqs:  needs to work for both reactive and proactive review requests, and needs to work regardless of funding source (i.e. gifts, auxiliaries, etc.)
  • Successful adoption:  easy for end-users, isn’t heavy
  • Tom reviewed a workflow diagram and the CSU online requisition form

Campus Impact Policy – We’re Moving Away from Dollar Thresholds When Reviewing

  • Litigation does not consider product $ amount or if it is free
  • Consideration of level of accessibility and business need
  • We do a functional analysis to determine the overall value of the product.  Sometimes the most accessible product is not the best one.
  • Targeted:  software, applications, devices, copy-scan-fax
  • Not targeted:  servers, security systems, wires & plugs, software for individuals
  • The big cultural change is that people need to start thinking about this when they start thinking about buying the product

Language is the Key to Communications

We need to make sure that the language we’re using makes sense to people who just want to make the right choices.

  • 1194.21 & 22 = modern web applications, software
  • 1194.24 = video, multimedia, YouTube
  • 1194.25 = iPads, Phones, Copy-Scan-fax
  • 1194.31 = usable to individuals with different abilities
  • 1194.41 = documentation for use for individuals with different abilities

Campus Department Requests

  • Bulk purchase and commonly purchased items (i.e. Dell, HP, Lenovo computers)
  • VPAT forms

Universal Design Center Evaluation Categories

  • Alt Descriptions
  • Multimedia
  • Structure
  • Comprehensive Visual Display
  • User Interface
  • Navigation




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