[Athen] ALEKS and Accessibility

Gaeir Dietrich gdietrich at htctu.net
Tue Jan 7 13:59:23 PST 2014

Hi Karen!

I am relieved to hear that accessibility is at least on the radar for ALEKS.
McGraw Hill certainly knows the legal requirements that we operate under,
and if they are making actual changes to the software, that is a hopeful

I am scheduled to speak with a gentleman named Jimmy Bartlett tomorrow, so I
will ask about the MathML issue.

As for the tactile graphics: I can understand them not producing actual
graphics to send us, but if they could provide a printable file that we
could then use as a basis to create our own graphics (using PIAF or the
TIGER or other means), that would be very helpful. I also agree with your
math instructor.simply deleting the graphics is not a great choice!

Please do let us know how your testing goes, and if anything interesting
comes out of the call I have tomorrow, I will let everyone know that, as


Gaeir (rhymes with "fire") Dietrich
High Tech Center Training Unit of the
California Community Colleges
De Anza College, Cupertino, CA
<http://www.htctu.net/> www.htctu.net

HTCTU Secretary: 408-996-4636



From: athen-list-bounces at mailman2.u.washington.edu
[mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman2.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Karen
Sent: Tuesday, January 07, 2014 1:04 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network
Subject: [Athen] ALEKS and Accessibility

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

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 call).

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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