[Athen] ALEKS Accessibility

Paul E. Paire paire at temple.edu
Thu Jan 15 14:07:47 PST 2015

We started digging into this a bit more based this discussion and we believe that either the person submitting the exception request or the sales rep was a bit … optimistic. We were forwarded an email from ALEKS that their engineers are working in conjunction with accessibility departments (at other universities) to improve the accessibility of the product, but won’t commit to a date.


From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Howard Kramer
Sent: Thursday, January 15, 2015 12:17 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network
Cc: Brent Whiting
Subject: Re: [Athen] ALEKS Accessibility

Hi Karen,

Yes, I’m very interested in talking to your faculty person. As Carmen Schafer mentioned in another email, I'd like to know more about how the two products compare - ALEKS and WebWork.

Paul - be aware that in the past McGraw-Hill has addressed the accessibility of the questions with graphic material by providing a check-box to either drop the question out of the placement exam for students with low vision or blindness or to present a message on the question that "human assistance is required."


On Thu, Jan 15, 2015 at 6:07 AM, Paul E. Paire <paire at temple.edu<mailto:paire at temple.edu>> wrote:

Temple, at least, is very interested in learning more about WebWork. (We are also evaluating ALEKS. One of my colleagues has reviewed their VPAT and says it's very thorough and informs me that they say they will be fully accessible in less than a year. Alas I don't have any details beyond that. But an accessible alternative? Yes, we would like to know about it.)


(paire at temple.edu<mailto:paire at temple.edu>)

-------- Original message --------
From: Karen Sorensen <karen.sorensen at pcc.edu<mailto:karen.sorensen at pcc.edu>>
Date:01/14/2015 10:06 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: Howard Kramer <hkramer at colorado.edu<mailto:hkramer at colorado.edu>>
Cc: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>>
Subject: Re: [Athen] ALEKS Accessibility

Hi Howard,
The alternative we use is WebWork. It's open source and we have one faculty member who is very active in its development. We've done a lot of accessibility testing and created a VPAT for it that's just about to be published with WebWorK's latest update (that includes many of our recommended accessibility updates). I would be happy to put you in touch with our faculty member if you want more information.
I also would be happy to share the cursory accessibility testing we did on ALEKS last January. At that time they had no suggested alternatives to graphical problems. We suggested making the images available for us to print but never heard anything back on that.
Let me know if I can help.
On Jan 14, 2015 5:56 PM, "Howard Kramer" <hkramer at colorado.edu<mailto:hkramer at colorado.edu>> wrote:
Hello All:

It doesn't look like anyone replied to this question on ALEKS accessibility updates. Does anyone have any updated information? Is there any work being undertaken to make the graphical elements of the placement exam accessible through long descriptions or tactile graphics?

I'm also told there are no alternative accessible products to ALEKS. Is this true?

I'm now working with the accessibility and remediation committees on our campus that were formed in response to UCB's OCR complaint, hence my interest.

Thanks in advance for any info.


On Mon, Dec 1, 2014 at 8:43 AM, McGinnity, Julie A. (MU-Student) <jamzk7 at mail.missouri.edu<mailto:jamzk7 at mail.missouri.edu>> wrote:
Good morning,

We are investigating the current state of ALEKS accessibility. I read up on ATHEN posts from last year, and they were helpful. But now I am curious to know the outcome of the graphing issue. Is the company still not providing tactile graphs? Is ALEKS accessible with the latest versions of screen readers? I have never used it myself but was led to believe that ALEKS was not fully accessible in the past. Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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Howard Kramer
Promoting the Integration of Universal Design into University Curricula (UDUC)
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Accessing Higher Ground
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AHEAD Association of Higher Education and Disability

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