[Athen] My letter to Pearson support

chagnon at pubcom.com chagnon at pubcom.com
Mon Nov 4 12:12:53 PST 2019

Sitting here in DC, I don’t think DOJ and DOE will do anything until the
disability community takes action.

And given the current state of affairs here in DC, I doubt anything can be
done for at least another year. Look who heads up these agencies: William “I
don’t like your stinking laws” Barr is our Attorney General, and Betsy “if
you can’t afford the education you need then you don’t deserve to be
educated” DeVos is dismantling the Department of Education.

And they get their marching orders from their boss, Emperor Cheeto Head (you
know, artificial orange puffed-air with little substance that leaves a nasty
stain on your fingers).

But we can go to the companies -- like Pearson, Freedom Scientific, Adobe,
Microsoft – and demand better accessibility tools. None of these companies
is following the WCAG, EPUB, and PDF/UA standards, whether it’s for creating
accessible content or using it.

And we can begin plans now for descending on Washington in droves after next
year’s election. Personally, I’d love to see the mall and the halls of
Congress packed with a million people with disabilities and their families,
teachers, school systems, and anyone else involved. We have to demand our
civil rights.

And we can vote better people into office next November, from local
dog-catcher to President.

Things won’t change until we demand that they change.


(And I guess you can tell who I did NOT vote for last election!)

— — —

Bevi Chagnon, founder/CEO | <mailto:Bevi at PubCom.com> Bevi at PubCom.com

— — —

PubCom: Technologists for Accessible Design + Publishing

consulting • training • development • design • sec. 508 services

Upcoming classes at <http://www.pubcom.com/classes> www.PubCom.com/classes

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<https://mailchi.mp/dfadd677496c/heqcq8lsqb-2960773> Latest blog-newsletter
– Accessibility Tips at <http://www.pubcom.com/blog> www.PubCom.com/blog

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> On Behalf
Of Susan Kelmer
Sent: Monday, November 4, 2019 10:05 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Athen] My letter to Pearson support

If we could just keep our campuses from buying these materials in the first
place, the problem would be solved – Pearson would have to change. But none
of us in DS has the power to control that.

I wish more students would pick up the phone or hop online and make a
DOE/DOJ complaint. Seriously. That’s the only way we will get change on
our campuses.

Susan Kelmer

Alternate Format Production Program Manager

Disability Services

University of Colorado Boulder


From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu
<mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> > On Behalf Of Leyna
Sent: Friday, November 1, 2019 2:23 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu
<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu> >
Subject: Re: [Athen] My letter to Pearson support

Ditto with Neal. Go Debee. Don’t you love being the quality checker for
their class material? They are counting on all of us to tell them each and
every error they make. I just announce in all my faculty training sessions
that if they are planning to use Pearson then plan on accessibility problems
and potential complaints and extended 3-way discussions with Disability
Services and the student. Pearson can’t claim ignorance of something as
basic as creating accessible text descriptions of images with text. They’ve
had suggestions, recommendations, advice, comments from those of us in the
field for as long as I’ve been in the field
10 years. Probably longer.

Leyna Bencomo

Assistive Technology Specialist

Office of Information Technology

University of Colorado Colorado Springs

1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway

Colorado Springs, CO 80918

(719) 255-4202 / lbencomo at uccs.edu <mailto:lbencomo at uccs.edu>


From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu
<mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> > On Behalf Of
Sorensen, Neal B
Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2019 6:49 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu
<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu> >
Subject: Re: [Athen] My letter to Pearson support

Go Debee go!

I am a full supporter of taking publishers to task (especially Pearson).
Pearson’s practices right with accessibility are very disorganized. It would
be fine if the accessible books, such as those on VitalSource, were
accessible and they offered them instead of the PDF. It seems every time I
request one on ATN nowadays they tell me its on VitalSource, so just get it
there. I offered this to one student who respectfully declined saying he
hated VitalSource books!

Pearson will only improve if we take them to task and challenge their
methods and production.

Neal Sorensen

(pronouns: he, him, his)

Accessibility Resources

Minnesota State University, Mankato

132 Memorial Library

Mankato, MN 56001

Phone: (507) 389-5242
Fax: (507) 389-1199


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From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu
<mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> > On Behalf Of
Deborah Armstrong
Sent: Wednesday, October 30, 2019 4:16 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu
<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu> >
Subject: [Athen] My letter to Pearson support

I admit I’m on a tirade to get Pearson to clean up their act. If they want
to sell us “born accessible” textbooks they better damn sure make them

I wrote their support the following email just now. Be aware this is an
ongoing case where they aware of the textbook and where I’ve regularly
reported access issues with their exercises in My Spanish Lab:

Please forward this to the person at Pearson who is working on this case

I have located three access issues so far in the Mosaicos textbook. In
general, the textbook is wonderfully accessible and as a screen reader user,
I’ve been able to fully participate in class using the accessible version
found in MySpanishLab under “accessible resources”.

However, these three issues made assignments difficult or impossible. In all
instances more details in the ddescriptions would be required for the
student to successfully complete the exercises.

On page 70:

"A map shows North America, Central America and South America with countries
and nationalities labeled on it. "

The problem here is that several of the labs depend on the student's ability
to correctly spell those nationalities labeled on the map. I did find the
nationalities listed at the end of the chapter in the vocabulary section, so
it was a minor issue.

On page 91:

A screenshot shows the chat conversation between Camila and Marisa.

In this case, the exercise immediately following the conversation:

"Piénsalo. Select the correct option(s) to complete each statement or
question, based on Marisa and Camila's conversation."

assumes the student has read the chat conversation pictured in the above
screen shot.

On page 97,

“A screenshot shows a web page titled “Amigos sin fronteras”.

That’s the only description given. The exercise is in reading comprehension
and this image description isn’t sufficient for the student to complete the
accompanying chart or answer the questions in exercise 2-44immediately
following the screen shot.

It appears your describer mindlessly went through the text describing all
graphics without considering whether the text in a screen shot was relevant
to completing an accompanying exercise.

I’ve seen this problem as well with accounting textbooks from Pearson which
contain screen shots of spreadsheets. The student needs the data in the
spreadsheet to complete an accounting lab, but the description gives just
the title of the spreadsheet.

A good solution here for both accounting and foreign languages would be to
simply offer downloadable files of the text that’s contained within images.

What frustrates me more than anything else is that Pearson has no organized
way for users to report these problems. I would happily fill in a web form
each time I encountered one so it could be fixed for future visually
impaired students!


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