[Athen] ALEKS and Accessibility

Karen Sorensen karen.sorensen at pcc.edu
Tue Jan 7 13:03:44 PST 2014

Hi All ,
ALEX has a October 1, 2013 VPAT that is supposed to cover all of their
changes. Lisa Nicks is the accessibility specialist at McGraw Hill who I
got the VPAT from. *lisa.nicks at mheducation.com <lisa.nicks at mheducation.com>*
We have also been in communication with folks from McGraw Hill (who now
have purchased ALEX in the last year as I understand it. ) They have moved
all of their equations to Javascript rather than JAVA, and they say that
72% of their equations are now accessible, even though the folks we talked
with weren't sure the equations were in mathML (Lisa Nicks wasn't on the
We are going to be doing some testing of ALEX this Friday. I'll post back
to the listserv next week on what we find.
One of their accessibility "improvements" they showed us, was a way for an
instructor to indicate that a blind student was using ALEX. When the
instructor clicked that button, all graphical questions were eliminated.
How do folks feel about that? Our math instructors didn't like that at all.
We asked the McGraw Hill folks if they would provide tactile alt. formats
for those graphical questions. They seemed to think that was our
responsibility. My feeling is that we shouldn't have to pay for materials
that we then have to accommodate. How do others feel about this?
Thanks. Hope that helps.

Karen M. Sorensen
Accessibility Advocate for Online Courses
Portland Community College
*"The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone
regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”* Tim Berners-Lee
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