Accessibility and SkillsCommons

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An important goal of SkillsCommons is to provide equally effective access to our website, products, and technologies for all users, including those with disabilities. SkillsCommons is committed to providing an equal opportunity for all to benefit from the open educational resources within the SkillsCommons library. We strive to reduce barriers to delivering educational content on a timely basis to all. SkillsCommons endeavors to provide free and open access to instructional and program support materials that meet Section 508 Guidelines across the collection of resources developed by TAACCCT Grantees. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that U.S. governmental agencies with information technology products meet specified levels of compliance with accessibility standards. SkillsCommons is committed to support this progressive standard for information technology design and development and support TAACCCT grantees meeting these accessibility standards for their Open Educational Resource (OER) contributions. If you are having challenges using the SkillsCommons.org website, please contact us at support@skillscommons.org and we will work with you to resolve the accessibility challenges and/or provide an equally effective alternative access using the Equally Effective Access Planning Tool developed by the California State University.

Our Accessibility Support Strategy

Our strategy to support the accessibility of SkillsCommons services has two major components – (1) Improving the accessibility of all materials contributed by the TAACCCT grantees and (2) Improving the accessibility of the SkillsCommons website.

(1) Improving the Accessibility of Materials Contributed by TAACCCT Grantees

With the awarding of the grant, grantees accepted the accessibility requirements outlined below.

“All online and technology-enabled content and courses developed under this SGA must incorporate the principles of universal design in order to ensure that they are readily accessible to qualified individuals with disabilities. The content and courses must be in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, Level AA.” (See page 35 of the DOL Employment and Training Administration Notice of Availability of Funds and Solicitations for the Grant Applications for TAACCCT Grant Programs.)

To support grantees fulfilling the accessibility requirements, SkillsCommons provides a number of guidelines, tools and support located on the Satisfying the Accessibility Requirements page highlighted below:

 

Accessibility Requirements Guidelines – here grantees will find recommendations for improving the accessibility of their Open Educational Resources.

CAST, a partner in the TAACCCT Learning Network is also available to provide their expertise on accessibility and universal design for learning to TAACCCT grantees.

 

 

(2) Improving the Accessibility of the SkillsCommons Website

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by Congress in the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, requires that electronic and information technology used by Federal agencies be accessible to people with disabilities.

SkillsCommons is covered under section 1194.22 (Web-based internet information and applications) of Section 508 and currently supports the guidelines set forth in Section 508. Below you will find information about how SkillCommons is currently working towards compliance. Below you will also find Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) documenting our efforts towards compliance.

Accessibility Evaluation Scope and Methodology

In September of 2015 SkillsCommons asked Tech4All (TFA), to conduct an independent accessibility examination of the SkillsCommons.org Website to assess conformance with the WCAG 2.0 and Section 508 Accessibility Standards. In the course of this project, TFA’s team carefully examined the architecture of the application including the design and development approach and relevant accessibility issues.

The evaluation was conducted in the PC (Windows 7) & Mac (OSX 10.10 Yosemite) environment using the Internet Explorer (v. 11), Firefox (v.40) and Safari (v. 8) browsers with the latest compatible JAWS (v. 16) and VoiceOver screen readers.

The accessibility assessment was executed according to the following steps:

  1. A sighted accessibility expert conducted an overall technical analysis in order to identify issues of technical compliance that would affect mobility impaired, deaf/hearing impaired and low vision users.  The evaluator inspected the application using Firefox 40 with the Wave toolbar. Analysis was also conducted using Internet Explorer 11 and the WAT Accessibility toolbar. Code analysis was conducted using Firebug.
  2. Keyboard accessibility analysis (for mobility and physically impaired users) was conducted by attempting to thoroughly navigate the application through the keyboard, without using a mouse.
  3. For deaf and hard of hearing users, any audio content in the application was assessed for proper closed captioning.
  4. An evaluation of accessibility for low vision users was performed using the screen magnification, palette, and contrast controls provided by the operating system as well as the font resizing capability offered through the browser. Additionally, the Juicy Studio Color Contrast Analyzer was used to evaluate the application’s contrast and luminosity ratios.
  5. The screen reader testing was conducted by an accessibility expert evaluator who is legally blind. The evaluator worked through the application using the JAWS for Windows screen reader with Internet Explorer 11 as well as the VoiceOver screen reader with Safari browser. Any pages found to have screen reader issues was re-examined in interactive sessions with a sighted evaluator.

The findings of the team members were assembled, reviewed by the team in conjunction with TFA’s Managing Consultant, Principal Accessibility Consultant, and Senior Accessibility Consultant.  Evaluation results developed through this process were presented in an Accessibility Evaluation Report. Additionally, TFA used the testing results to produce a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT). A VPAT is a document which evaluates how accessible a particular product is according to the Section 508 Standards. It is a self-disclosing document produced by the vendor which details each aspect of the Section 508 requirements and how the product supports each criteria.

Status of Changes and Remediation

Using the guidelines laid out in the Tech4All Accessibility Evaluation Report, SkillsCommons has been working towards full compliance of Section 508 and WACG 2.0 guidelines. Below you will find the SkillsCommons VPAT outlining our progress to date.

We are continually in the process of improving the accessibility of the website, applications, tools and guidelines provided in SkillsCommons. We continue to evaluate the accessibility of the SkillsCommons website as new features and functions are added and will be developing the CSU Accessibility Roadmap Template for areas that need improvement.


If you use assistive technology and the format of any material on our web site interferes with your ability to access the information, please contact accessibility@skillscommons.org for assistance.