For Michigan State, accessibility begins at procurement
- Michigan State University has clear policies and procedures in place to ensure accessibility is top of mind in the tech procurement process.
- Campus Technology reports that the university's requirements, revamped in 2015, state that accountability must be taken into consideration at multiple points: in its procurement terms, during a product's initial screening, during an accessibility evaluation, when considering alternative access, and in its accountability structures.
- Under the aforementioned accountability structures, for example, an EIT Accessibility Acknowledgement is signed to guarantee a commitment to working with the needs of students with disabilities or creating alternative access plans for them on an equal level with students who aren't disabled.
When it comes to having accessibility top of mind, Michigan State appears to be ahead of the curve compared to many peers. As detailed by a recent 3PlayMedia whitepaper, colleges and universities overall remain behind when it comes to ensuring all students can access digital materials and platforms.
That's not to say accessibility is simple, either — especially with digital platforms. But it is required by law. Among considerations that administrators must take into account: Is there audio for the visually impaired? Can color-blind students still see all text or charts against all backgrounds? Do all videos or animations have captions or transcripts for the hearing-impaired?
At each of the last few Educause conferences, the Campus Computing Project's Casey Green has pointed out that accessibility assessments continue to show a "lawsuit waiting to happen" for many colleges and universities. But this doesn't have to be the case if more institutions follow the lead of policies like those in place at Michigan State.
- Campus Technology Building Accessibility Into IT Procurement
Follow Roger Riddell on Twitter