Wisconsin's Public Liberal Arts College

Technology Accessibility


Information and Instructional Technology Services

Technology Accessibility

UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN – SUPERIOR

Policy Subject: TECHNOLOGY ACCESSIBILITY

Cabinet Division:   Provost

Date Revised:         5/2003

I.   Background and Purpose

This policy is designed to guide compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act with respect to the implementation of information and instructional technology at UW-Superior.

II.  Constraints

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires State and local governments and places of public accommodation to furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities, unless doing so would result in a fundamental alteration to the program or service or in an undue burden. (Accessibility of Web pages on the Internet, Deval L. Patrick, Assistant Attorney, General, Civil Rights Division. United States Department of Justice Policy Ruling #204 September 9, 1996)

The text from the Reasonable Accommodations Policy of the Americans with Disabilities Act Title II Technical Assistance Manual follows:

II-7.0000 COMMUNICATIONS Regulatory references: 28 CFR 35.160-35.164. II-7.1000 Equally effective communication. A public entity must ensure that its communications with individuals with disabilities are as effective as communications with others. This obligation, however, does not require a public entity to take any action that it can demonstrate would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of its services, programs, or activities, or in undue financial and administrative burdens.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that programs or activities that receive federal money cannot, solely by reason of disability, exclude a qualified disabled person from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject the person to discrimination.

The 1999 report of UW System President Lyall’s Committee on Access to Technology for Individuals with Disabilities ontains recommendations which are incorporated in this policy.

III.   Definitions

Universal design: the process of creating products (devices, environments, systems, and processes) which are usable by people with the widest possible range of abilities, operating within the widest possible range of situations (environments, conditions, and circumstances.)

Public spaces: major university facilities which are typically used for public as well as campus events such as large group meetings, lectures, performances, or athletic events.  Spaces meeting this definition are the Rothwell Student Center Ballroom, Manion Theatre, Kathryn Ohman Theatre, Thorpe Langley Auditorium, Gates Gymnasium and Field House, and Wessman Arena.

IV.   Policy Statements

4.1   Universal Design

The University of Wisconsin-Superior strives to achieve the implementation of universal design in its provision of information and instructional technology resources and facilities.  In planning and selecting hardware, software, furniture, and systems, university faculty and staff will seek solutions which are usable by people with the widest possible range of abilities, operating within the widest possible range of situations.

4.2   Assistive Technology Strategy

The university’s general strategy is to implement universal design (see above) and to make assistive technology available where needed, when needed within the university community.  To do this effectively and efficiently, needs which are identified as high cost/low demand will be met through shared equipment and facilities managed or obtained by the Disabilities Services Coordinator.  In some cases, non-technological solutions will be the most effective option.

4.3    Campus Technology Accessibility

a. Classrooms

Technology installed in campus classrooms will be designed and equipped for effective communication by both instructors and students with disabilities.  Standard facilities will be as follows:

--video presentation equipment: closed caption display capability
--computer equipment: operating system tools to permit customization for hearing, seeing, and manual ability

As much as reasonable, furniture installed in classrooms for use with technology will be designed to be used by instructors and students with limited physical abilities.            

b. Computer Labs

Buildings with major campus computer labs (defined as 20 seats or greater) will be equipped with one or more assistive computer workstations.  These workstations will feature software providing speech recognition, text recognition,  electronic text-to-speech conversion, and tools to permit customization for hearing, seeing, and manual ability.

As much as reasonable, furniture installed in computer labs will be designed to be used by instructors and students with limited physical abilities.

c. Public Spaces

University presentations in public spaces will, wherever feasible, use technological methods to make full participation available to all participants.  Available methods may include closed captioning or assistive listening devices.

4.4. External Technology Accessibility

 a. World Wide Web

UW-Superior adopts the standards of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (1194.22) as its standards for accessible web design.  These standards, based on the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0, are those which the federal government requires of its own agencies.

Compliance with these standards are required for all individual faculty/staff, department, office, or unit web pages providing information to students, faculty, or staff.

Specific design requirements are as follows

(1)A text equivalent for every non-text element shall be provided (e.g., via "alt", "longdesc", or in element content).

(2) Equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation shall be synchronized with the presentation.

(3) Web pages shall be designed so that all information conveyed with color is also available without color, for example from context or markup.

(4) Documents shall be organized so they are readable without requiring an associated style sheet.

(5) Redundant text links shall be provided for each active region of a server-side image map.

(6) Client-side image maps shall be provided instead of server-side image maps except where the regions cannot be defined with an available geometric shape.

(7) Row and column headers shall be identified for data tables.

(8) Markup shall be used to associate data cells and header cells for data tables that have two or more logical levels of row or column headers.

(9) Frames shall be titled with text that facilitates frame identification and navigation.

(10) Pages shall be designed to avoid causing the screen to flicker with a frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz.

(11) A text-only page, with equivalent information or functionality, shall be provided to make a web site comply with the provisions of this part, when compliance cannot be accomplished in any other way. The content of the text-only page shall be updated whenever the primary page changes.

(12) When pages utilize scripting languages to display content, or to create interface elements, the information provided by the script shall be identified with functional text that can be read by assistive technology.

(13) When a web page requires that an applet, plug-in or other application be present on the client system to interpret page content, the page must provide a link to a plug-in or applet that complies with accessibility standards.

(14) When electronic forms are designed to be completed on-line, the form shall allow people using assistive technology to access the information, field elements, and functionality required for completion and submission of the form, including all directions and cues.

(15) A method shall be provided that permits users to skip repetitive navigation links.

(16) When a timed response is required, the user shall be alerted and given sufficient time to indicate more time is required. UW-Superior encourages use of the XHTML language to meet accessibility requirements.

 b.  Distance learning

Course material delivered through distance learning formats must meet the same accessibility standards as material presented in campus classrooms.  Video material must be available in a captioned format when needed, audio material must be available in transcript form when needed, and World Wide Web material must meet the standards provided elsewhere in this document.

c.  Publications and media communications

All training and informational video and multimedia productions which support the university’s mission, regardless of format, that contain speech or other audio information necessary for the comprehension of the content, shall be open or closed captioned.

All training and informational video and multimedia productions which support the university’s mission, regardless of format, that contain visual information necessary for the comprehension of the content, shall be audio described.

Display or presentation of alternate text presentation or audio descriptions shall be user-selectable unless permanent.     

V.   Policy Procedures

5.1   Integration with University Information Technology Plan

This policy will inform the biennial UW-Superior Information Technology Plan.  It will be reviewed concurrently with the information technology plan cycle.

5.2  Implementation

The Information and Instructional Technology Services management team and the ADA Coordinator are jointly responsible for implementation of this policy.

VI.   Compliance

6.1   Review

The Chief Information Officer and the ADA Coordinator will review campuswide compliance biennially as part of the information technology plan cycle.

6.2  Consequences

Non-compliance will be reported to the university cabinet at the time of review.  The availability of resources for compliance may be an issue.  Resource needs for compliance should be addressed through classroom/laboratory modernization, capital budget, or regular budget processes.


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