Evaluating Publisher Content for Accessibility

Stack of textbooksJust as instructors evaluate textbooks and associated materials for relevant and accurate content, evaluating them for accessibility is also a critical part of the review process. How can you, as an instructor, assure that the textbook and tools you select will be accessible to all students? The questions and links on this page will help you to discuss your instructional needs with your publisher representative.

Digital and online resources that accompany course textbooks are only available to the instructor and students enrolled in that course. Stockton University support staff cannot access or make changes to publisher content. Be sure to work with your publisher to evaluate course materials for accessibility.

Depending upon the resource, providing an accessible version may not be feasible. In those cases, instructors will need to provide an alternate, educationally comparable instructional activity. The Learning Access Program and the Office of E-Learning can assist instructors in developing alternate strategies.

 

Accessibility Documentation

The publisher may have existing documents related to the accessibility of their products. If these documents exist, your representative should be able to provide them upon request. These resources may include:

  • A completed VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) for textbook and/or online resource that you have selected.
  • A white paper or report affirming that their web resources are WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) 2.0 compliant.

However, technology changes rapidly and new textbook editions are published frequently. Unfortunately, this means that documents described above, may be out of date or inaccurate. Be sure to ask:

  • When were these documents published?
  • When were they last updated?
  • Were my textbook and its associated electronic resources included in the accessibility review process?
  • If accessibility features are not available, how will the publisher provide them in a timely manner?

 

Product support
  • Does the publisher provide accessible end user support?
  • Does the publisher have a disabilities services coordinator to handle accessibility requests? How can this person/office be contacted?

 

Instructional web site
  • Can all text used on publisher web site text be read by a screen reader?
  • Are all web site images documented with <alt> tags?
  • Is the web site designed so that it does not disrupt accessibility tools that have been installed by the student on his/her personal computer (e.g., text size, color selection)?
  • When color is used to convey information, is that same information also available in text form?
  • Can blinking or motion effects be turned off?
  • Is the site easy to navigate for someone with mobility issues (i.e., unable to use a mouse or tap on a screen)?

 

Video based content
  • Are videos captioned?
  • Are transcripts available?
  • Is ASL interpretation available?
  • Is video description available?
  • Does the video player provide alternate controls (e.g., play, pause) for students who may have mobility issues (i.e., unable to use a mouse or tap on a screen)?

 

Audio based content
  • Are transcripts available?
  • Is ASL interpretation available?
  • Does the audio player provide alternate controls (e.g., play, pause) for students who may have mobility issues (i.e., unable to use a mouse or tap on a screen)?

 

Hard copy text
  • Is an audio version available?
  • Is a large print version available?
  • Is a Braille version available?
  • Is image-based information (e.g., charts, maps, illustrations) available in a tactile format?
  • Is an electronically readable version available (e.g., HTML, PDF, EPUB)?

 

Electronic text
  • Does the text reader app provide alternate controls (e.g., next page, bookmark) for students who may have mobility issues (i.e., unable to use a mouse or tap on a screen)?
  • Can the font size be adjusted?
  • Does text reflow when the font size is changed?
  • Is text to speech conversion built in?
  • Can foreground and background colors be adjusted?
  • Is image-based information (e.g., charts, maps, illustrations) available in a tactile format?

 

Data/document repositories
  • Are all data tables appropriately documented with column and/or row labels?
  • Are all data visualizations (e.g., charts, maps, illustrations) clearly labeled with text and audio?
  • Are all documents available in an accessible format?

 

Interactive tools and simulations
  • Is feedback provided to the student in both aural and visual modalities?
  • Are volume controls provided for audio feedback?
  • When color is used to convey information, is that same information also available in text form?
  • Can blinking or motion effects be turned off?
  • If a timed response is required, can the time period be altered by the instructor and/or student?

 

Accessibility links for major publishers

For additional information related to the use of non-Stockton instructional resources, please review the Use of Alternative Online Tools in Instruction guidelines.