[Athen] My letter to Pearson support

Sorensen, Neal B neal.sorensen at mnsu.edu
Thu Oct 31 05:48:45 PDT 2019

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> 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>
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 accessible!

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 number.

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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