The University has recently drafted an Accessibility Policy for EIT (Electronic and Information Technology). Accessibility means making the content of your site or course equally available to all people, including (but not limited to) ones with recognized visual, aural (hearing), cognitive, and mobility disabilities.
A large driver behind this push was a Resolution Agreement that PSU made with the Office of Civil Rights regarding complaints levelled at various PSU web assets. The Resolution Agreement prescribes a timeline for the University to meet compliance goals. The Accessibility Policy is a rather general top-level document about what constitutes compliance and reach. The primary interest for the CAT is about website accessibility as it applies to this policy.
We have attended an initial training session as required by the Resolution Agreement. This gives us a rough idea of what the policy requires although specifics of what they are seeking may not be clear until the newly hired PSU IT Accessibility Coordinator comes on board and an audit is performed.
This policy can substantially affect the wide array of web assets provided by faculty, staff, students and researchers in MCECS including team/group websites, web applications, research projects, departmental information, and faculty pages. The policy compliance applies to both the web frameworks in use as well as how the content is structured and presented.
We will keep you all posted about requirements and contact MCECS web developers and content creators on our web infrastructure as we learn more. Bringing the CAT website into compliance is going to be our first experiment.
- EIT Accessibility Policy finalized – By Oct 31
- Policy Submitted to the Office of Civil Rights (Dept of Education) – Oct 31
- Training for web administrators – Oct – Dec
- PSU IT Accessibility coordinator on-board – Early Dec
- Selection of Accessibility Auditor – by Dec 31
- Completion of audit – June 2018
- Propose Corrective Plan – June 2018
- Complete Corrective Action Plan and Final Report – March 2020
Affects on people using the campus Drupal system for their departmental websites:
Ucomm will be bringing a new and compliant version of the Drupal framework on line soon. However, it is our understanding that migration of existing content on the old Drupal site will be a manual process while examining it for compliance. Training for Campus Drupal webmasters and content creators is expected soon.
Affects on people developing and maintaining their own websites in MCECS:
Website developers and maintainers will be responsible for meeting compliance requirements. As we learn more, the CAT will provide advice and guidance. At this time, we don’t know how this affects old project websites and user web pages maintained by faculty. The policy has some language in there for exemptions.
Web Accessibility Standards Mandated by the Policy:
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 at the AA level of Success Criteria
Web Accessibility Initiative Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite (WAI-ARIA) 1.0
Resolution Agreement – https://www2.ed.gov/about/
W3C Documentation on WCAG 2.0 Standard – https://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/
W3C Documentation on WAI-ARIA 1.0 Standard – https://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/