Q: What is the Accessible Technology Initiative?
A: The Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI) is a coded memorandum from CSU Chancellor's office; ATI sets forth a road map for ensuring accessibility of information technology and resources in compliance with federal and state laws and CSU policy.
Q: What are the main requirements of ATI?
A: There are three priorities:
Web Accessibility - The need to make websites, web applications, and digital content accessible.
Instructional Materials - The need to make instructional materials and online course materials available (usable, already converted to required format) to students with disabilities at the same time they are available to all students.
Procurement - The need to incorporate accessibility standards when acquiring new Electronic and Information Technology (E&IT) products.
Q: What are instructional materials?
A: Any informational content, independent of source or delivery location, that is required as a component for participation in curricular activities; the basis for most assigned readings, discussions, activities and examinations; effectively the raw material for curricular learning.
Q: Can you give some representative examples of instructional materials?
- Paper based print materials (books, reader packets, reserve readings, lab manuals, handouts, written exams)
- Electronic print materials (web-based and LMS-based content; electronic reserves, book bundled e-text, computerized exams)
- Multimedia materials (web-based video/audio, commercial DVDs, materials bundled with books, photographic slides or lab samples)
Q: What are the features of instructional materials accessibility?
Perceivable: Users are able to access the information contained in the materials by modifying its presentation.
Operable: Users are able to interact with and manipulate the content.
Understandable: Users are able to receive the content in a comprehensive manner.
Robust: Users are able to transform the content into formats that are more compatible with assistive technology.
Q: What types of disabilities may require texts and course handouts to be produced in alternate formats?
- Sensory Impairments (blindness and low vision)
- Neurological Impairments (learning disabilities, ADHD, Traumatic Brain Injury)
- Physical/Mobility Impairments (quadriplegia, cerebral palsy)
Q: What are examples of alternate media?
Audio/Reader: Providing materials in a recorded audio format is one method of making information accessible to persons who are blind or visually impaired. Many individuals with learning disabilities also use materials in audio format because they find it difficult to process printed information. Persons with physical disabilities may also use materials in audio format due to their inability to handle heavy text books or manually turn pages. Audio material is commonly recorded on cassette tapes, but it make be stored on CD-ROM, or MP3.
E-Text: E-Text has emerged as a convenient and popular method of providing access for those individuals who cannot use standard printed materials. Partially sighted individuals can use E-Text by taking advantage of built in options using standard software applications (to adjust font size) or through the use of specialized screen magnification software. E-text can also be used with screen reading software to output the text to a speech synthesized or refreshable Braille display. The main advantage of E-text is that it can be easily stored, can be searched and indexed, and can be converted to large print or hard copy Braille through use of a translation program.
Braille: Braille is a system of reading and writing for blind individuals. Braille is produced using desktop software and a Braille embossing machine.
Tactile Graphics: Tactile Graphics are tactile representations of pictures or images, such as maps and diagrams. Tactile graphics are produced using desktop software and a Braille embosser or using heat sensitive paper to be heated in a specialized device.
Large Print: Large print is produced by increasing the font size when typing the original document, producing larger copies using a copy machine or using a closed-circuit television (CCTV) system which permits magnification of the paper being viewed.
Q: How does getting book orders in early help students with disabilities?
A: The ATI requires us to have alternative format materials available at the same time they are available for non-disabled students. The alternate format conversion process is complex and time consuming. On the average, DAS needs 4-6 weeks to produce a text in alternate format. Even if DAS receives a book in electronic format from a publisher, it will likely need to be edited and converted to a format usable by a student. This is why timely adoption of text books is essential to the process. Most of these steps have to be followed for each book:
- Books are de-bound
- Pages are scanned into a high speed scanner
- Text is converted using an optical character recognition system
- Zone edited for formatting errors
- Content edited (page by page) for content quality
- Converted to requested format (E- text, MP3, Daisy)
- Book is re-bound
Q: If I use Blackboard, Canvas or another learning management system, are my online resources accessible?
A: It depends. Blackboard and Canvas are generally accessible; however, documents and other digital assets which are added to the learning management system must be made accessible. For example, if streaming videos are added to the online environment, they need to have synchronized captions for students who have hearing impairments. Also, documents need to be accessible for screen readers and other assistive technologies. Many Word and PDF documents are not automatically accessible.
Q: Are there training and support resources available for faculty?
A: Absolutely. No one expects faculty to become experts on accessibility, nor does the campus expect all content to become entirely accessible overnight. There are tremendous resources already on campus to assist you. Disability Resource Programs and the Educational Access Center, Teaching & Learning Innovations, and Web Services have pooled resources and have developed quick reference "How To's" and trainings to support faculty development of accessible instructional materials.