Frequently Asked Questions
Why has CalStateLA established an Accessibility Policy?
This policy is designed to address the needs of individuals with disabilities who wish to use university websites and applications as part of their education, to participate in programs, to engage in campus activities or to conduct university business. Making CalStateLA’s digital content accessible aligns with the university’s mission to disseminate knowledge and to promote diversity and inclusion throughout our community.
Where should I start?
- If you want a really short introduction to 3 web accessibility issues (alternative text for images, keyboard input, and transcripts), see Examples of Web Accessibility.
- To learn about web accessibility principles and guidelines, see Accessibility Principles.
- To learn about WCAG 2 specifically, start with the WCAG Overview. It provides an important foundation for understanding the different WCAG 2 documents, and points to several resources for using WCAG 2.
How long will it take to review my ICT Purchase Approval Request?
The review process depends on the impact of your purchase. We categorize impact based on who has access to the product and its intended purpose. High impact purchases take longer than medium, and low impact purchases are generally approved quickly. There is no set timeline for approvals. Apart from impact, the approval time is affected by vendor responsiveness and the availability and quality of required accessibility and security documentation.
Do I have to re-submit the ICT Purchase Approval Request every year or before product renewal?
Yes. The ICT Purchase Approval Request is always required before the renewal of your product or service. At each renewal, we check for updated documentation and determine whether vendor commitments were met. Also, since all software is dynamic which regularly updates features and the interface (whether discernable or not), an annual review addresses those changes as they arise.
We will shortly add the ability to the ICT Purchase Approval Request process where the requester can recall last year’s submission and review it and re-submit for this renewal period. The ability to review and resubmit will save time and eliminate duplication of effort moving forward.
Who is responsible for the completion of required documentation?
The vendor is responsible for the completion of all required documentation. Accessibility documentation includes:
- VPAT/ACR: Voluntary Product Accessibility Template/Accessibility Conformance Report
- Accessibility Roadmap when requested
If your product access, transmits, or stores sensitive data the following security documents may also be required:
- HECVAT: Higher Education Community Vendor Assessment Tool
As the ICT produict requestor, you should never attempt to complete required documentation on behalf of the vendor.
When is an Equally Effective Alternate Access Plan (EEAAP) required?
When a medium or high impact ICT product in use has significant accessibility barriers, the requestor is required to engage the EEAAP committee to produce an alternative method of access or interaction for affected groups. Once an EEAAP is created, it is also reviewed annually along with the product renewal.
To whom should I refer the vendor representative to if he/she has questions?
I’m already using this product; why is this review required now?
Our new and improved process will gradually capture ICT that is already in use. Although our process is new, the requirements are not. The ICT Purchase Approval Request is essential to ensure that CalStateLA is proactively addressing the accessibility and security of our ICT products and services.
I do not have contact information for the vendor, is this required?
The review process depends heavily on contact with a vendor representative. Without vendor contact, we are unable to complete not only the review process but the procurement process as well. Providing contact information for a specific person is always preferred over generic information, and it will help expedite our process.
How will I know that the review is complete?
Once the review is complete you, and others you designated will receive an automated email notification from the ServiceNow ticketing system. This email is proof that your product has completed the review process for this period and should be included along with your requisition paperwork.
Why do I need to make materials accessible if I don’t have any students with a disability in my class?
The ultimate goal is to provide a learning environment that’s accessible to everyone regardless of disability.
How do you know a student with a disability is not enrolled in your class?
- Disabilities manifest themselves in various degrees. They are not always visible or apparent, and a student will not necessarily identify themselves as having a disability.
- One ultimate outcome of the Accessible Technology Initiative is that all materials will be accessible to as many people as possible from the outset. As instructors want to reach as many people as possible in their instruction, this principle ensures that nobody falls through the cracks.
Can you give some representative examples of instructional materials?
- Paper based print materials (books, reader packets, reserve readings, lab manuals, handouts, written exam)
- Electronic print materials (web-based and LMS-based content; electronic reserves, book bundled e-text, computerized exams)
- Multimedia materials (web-based video/audio, commercial DVDs, material bundled with books, photographic slides or lab samples)
What are the features of instructional materials accessibility?
- Perceivable: Users are able to access information contained in the materials by modifying its presentation
- Operable: Users are able to interact with and manipulate the content
- Understandable: Users are able to receive the content in a comprehensive manner.
- Robust: Users are able to transform the content into formats that are more compatible with assistive technology
What types of disabilities may require texts and course handouts to be produced in alternative formats?
- Sensory Impairments (blindness and low vision)
- Neurological Impairments (learning disabilities, ADHD, Traumatic Brain injury)
- Physical/Mobility impairments (quadriplegia, cerebral palsy)
If I use Blackboard, Canvas or another learning management system, are my online resources accessible?
It depends. Blackboard and Canvas are generally accessible; however, documents and other digital assets which are added to the learning management system must be made accessible. For example, if streaming videos are added to the online environment, they need to have synchronized captions for students who have hearing impairments. Also, documents need to be accessible for screen readers and other assistive technologies. Many Word and PDF documents are not automatically accessible.
How will I know if there is a student with a disability in my class?
Students are not required to self-identify their disability. That is each student’s prerogative. Those who are registered with the Disability Programs and Resource Center (DPRC) are encouraged to discuss their needs with instructors. One thing to keep in mind though is that students with disabilities may feel ashamed, may be in denial or may be even unaware that they have a disability. All students eligible for services through the DPRC meet strict documentation requirements.
Why do I need to submit my textbook adoption orders so early?
- The goal is to provide instructional materials, including online course materials, to students with disabilities at the same time it is available to any other enrolled student. To reach that goal, sufficient time needs to be allowed for obtaining or creating alternate formats. If publishers are unresponsive or uncooperative at providing an electronic version of the textbook (e-text) intended for those needing an alternate format to the standard print version, then the Disability Programs and Resource Center (DPRC) is tasked with essentially creating e-text.
- This re-creation involves a timely conversion process: scanning, converting the image to text, correcting misread characters, reapplying format styles and reordering elements that were jumbled in the conversion, explaining images and figures, and sometimes recreating tables. If books don’t arrive in the bookstore until a couple weeks before class begins, then it becomes difficult to process the bottleneck of 150-200 books at once in a timely manner. Academic Senate Policy #S08-249 recognizes this need and details the rationale at the following link on timely textbook adoption.
My website includes videos, audio files, PDFs, and other document file types. Does the policy apply to those items as well?
Yes, any documents and media displayed on your website should also be accessible. For example, a YouTube video embedded on your site—even if you do not own the content—needs to be accessible in order for your website to be in compliance. Visit our Multimedia and Documents pages to learn more about creating accessible media and documents.
Do I have to caption all of my videos?
Anyone creating multimedia should include transcription and captioning of content as a normal part of the production process. Text versions of multimedia are critical for some disabled users, and tremendously beneficial for most users. A high priority should be given to multimedia that is posted to public websites where the audience is potentially large, and the disability status of viewers is not known. Some multimedia, such as Zoom meeting recordings and classroom lecture recordings in Canvas, with access restricted to a small number of known employees, or students enrolled in a course, with an expected use not to exceed a single term, is a low priority. It may be acceptable in these situations to provide transcriptions or captions only upon request or when there is an approved accommodation.