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Higher Education Critical Components of the Quality Indicators for the Provision of Accessible Educational Materials & Accessible Technologies

The Critical Components for the Quality Indicators for the Provision of Accessible Educational Materials and Accessible Technologies for Higher Education (HE) include actionable language specific to a higher education audience. For more information on how to use the quality indicators and critical components and how they were developed, see the Preface to the Quality Indicators.

You can also download the Quality Indicators and Critical Components for the Provision of Accessible Educational Materials and Accessible Technologies for Higher Education.

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Accessible Educational Materials (AEM)

Print- and technology-based educational materials designed to be usable across the widest range of individual variability.

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Accessible Technology

Technology that can be used by people with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. Incorporates the principles of universal design.

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HE Critical Components for Quality Indicator 1

Quality Indicator 1: The agency has a coordinated system for the provision of appropriate, high-quality accessible materials and technologies for all learners with disabilities who require them.

To effectively address this quality indicator, the following components should be present across a coordinated system for the provision of accessible materials and technologies.

  • A means for ensuring the provision of print materials in high quality accessible specialized formats (braille, large print, audio and digital text) and accessible technology to deliver them
  • A means for ensuring the provision of accessible digital materials
    • All digital materials procured from free and commercial sources meet accessibility standards, such as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 508)
    • All digital materials selected and acquired by faculty for course content and assessment are accessible
    • All digital materials created by faculty (e.g., syllabi, documents, web pages, video, etc.) are accessible
  • A means for ensuring the provision of accessible technologies that are either directly usable without assistive technology or made usable with assistive technology
    • All technologies procured from free and commercial sources meet accessibility standards, such as WCAG 2.0 AA and Section 508
    • All technologies selected by faculty for course content and assessment are accessible
  • A means for ensuring the provision of accessible materials and technologies to learners who need them with appropriate copyright protection
  • Collaborations, internal and external, that are important to developing and sustaining a coordinated system of sources for accessible materials and technologies

Technology

Equipment or system where principal function is creation, conversion, duplication, control, display, interchange, transmission, reception, or broadcast of data.

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Print Instructional Materials

Printed materials written and published for use in elementary and secondary school instruction, required by a SEA or LEA for use by students in classroom.

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Audio

Digital form or representation of a sound which may be used for non-visual access to text and images.

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Digital Text

Published material retrieved and read via a computer.

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Accessibility Standards

Current or revised electronic and information technology accessibility standards developed under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

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HE Critical Components for Quality Indicator 2

Quality Indicator 2: The agency supports the acquisition and provision of appropriate accessible materials and technologies in a timely manner.

To effectively address this quality indicator, the following components should be present when addressing timely manner.

  • An institutional definition of timely manner as stipulated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title II or Title III and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
  • A means for ensuring timely delivery
    • Tracking timely delivery (e.g., Disability Services Office records; student satisfaction feedback)
    • Coordinating with Accessible Media Producers (AMPs) (e.g., Bookshare, AccessText Network, American Printing House)
    • Following Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) guidance that textbook and related curricular material information be posted on the Internet course schedule at the time students register for courses
    • Instituting a widely communicated, efficient, and reliable process by the Disability Services Office for providing accommodations to students who need them
    • Including timelines in purchasing agreements with publishers and technology vendors
    • Procuring accessible materials and technologies that are available
    • Training faculty to select, acquire, and use accessible materials and technologies
    • Training faculty to create accessible documents (e.g., Word files, PowerPoint files, PDFs, spreadsheets, and other self-made materials)
    • Identifying delays to timely manner (e.g., late posting of textbook and supplemental material information; late selection of textbooks and supplemental materials by faculty; late faculty appointments; failure to include digital accessibility language in RFPs and purchasing contracts; failure to procure accessible materials that are available; delay in the provision of accommodations by the Disability Services Office; unavailability or lack of use of AT or other content delivery devices; lack of training on how to select, create, and use accessible materials and technologies)
    • Correcting identified delays
  • Collaborations, internal and external, that are important to the timely delivery of accessible materials and technologies

Section 504

Prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. Written 504 plan used to guide provision of instructional services.

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Accessible Media Producers (AMPs)

Produced specialized formats of instructional materials for use by blind or other persons with print disabilities.

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PDF (Portable Document Format)

Universal computer file type used to exchange and view documents on any computer with Adobe Acrobat or Foxit Reader software installed.

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Accessibility

Access for all people, including people with disabilities, to web environments.

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HE Critical Components for Quality Indicator 3

Quality Indicator 3: The agency develops and implements written guidelines related to effective and efficient acquisition, provision, and use of accessible materials and technologies.

To effectively address this quality indicator, the following components should be included in the development and dissemination of written guidelines.

  • Guidelines that explain relevant federal, state, and local policies (e.g., statutory and regulatory requirements including but not limited to timely provision, technology accessibility standards, provision of reasonable accommodations, copyright protection and management of print and digital materials, definitions)
  • Guidelines for overall processes implemented by the Disability Services Office for providing accessible materials and technologies for all learners with disabilities who need them, including the process for requesting and receiving accommodations
  • Guidelines for overall processes for providing accessible materials and technologies for all learners with disabilities who need them
    • Inclusion of digital accessibility language in contract, purchase order, RFP, and other procurement document templates
    • Procedures for selecting or creating accessible digital materials (e.g., accessible documents, closed captioning, audio description services)
    • Procedure for posting required textbook and related curricular material information on the Internet course schedule at the time students register for courses
  • Identification of an accessibility coordinator with the responsibility of overseeing the development, dissemination, and implementation of guidelines
  • Guidelines for delineating duties and responsibilities at all levels of the institution
    • Student and Academic Affairs
    • Faculty
    • Disability Services Office
    • Electronic and Information Technology (EIT)
    • Library
    • Purchasing/procurement department
    • Bookstore
    • Human Resources and Risk Management
    • Student data and information system managers and data security specialists
  • Guidelines represented in multiple formats (e.g., print, digital, audio, electronic or embossed braille) and widely disseminated through multiple means (e.g., website, policy manuals, handouts)
  • Collaborations, internal and external, that are important to the development and dissemination of guidelines

Video Description

Inclusion of verbal or auditory descriptions of on-screen visuals intended to describe important details not contained from main audio output.

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HE Critical Components for Quality Indicator 4

Quality Indicator 4: The agency provides or arranges for comprehensive learning opportunities and technical assistance that address all aspects of the need, selection, acquisition and use of accessible materials and technologies.

To effectively address this quality indicator, the following components should be included in learning opportunities and technical assistance.

  • Targeted topics that provide all involved individuals with the awareness, knowledge, and skills needed to fulfill their responsibilities (e.g., legal issues, policies and procedures, copyright and management of accessible materials, structure and utility of formats, technology systems and updates, acquisition sources, implementation practices)
  • Intended audiences include, but are not limited to
    • Deans and department chairs
    • Faculty
    • Students
    • Disability Services Office personnel
    • Faculty development personnel
    • Materials and technology procurement personnel
    • EIT personnel
    • Bookstore personnel
    • Library personnel
  • Designed in ways that
    • Leverage local, state, and national resources
    • Consider the roles and responsibilities of the intended audience
    • Use multiple means and formats for delivery (e.g., presentation, webinar, video, brochure, website, handouts, electronic newsletter)
    • Meet WCAG 2.0 AA and Section 508 accessibility standards (e.g., accessible website and digital materials, closed captioning and audio description of video, transcripts of audio, live captioning for webinars, multiple formats of print materials)
    • Acknowledge readiness levels of participants (e.g., beginner, intermediate, advanced)
    • Vary in intensity and duration as appropriate to the topic and audience
  • Collaborations, internal and external, that are important to capacity building on all aspects of accessible materials and technologies

HE Critical Components for Quality Indicator 5

Quality Indicator 5: The agency develops and implements a systematic data collection process to monitor and evaluate the equitable, timely provision of appropriate, high-quality accessible materials and technologies.

To effectively address this quality indicator, the following components should be present in a systematic process to evaluate all aspects of the system.

  • Strategies for collecting data on all aspects of AEM and accessible technology provision that include, but are not limited to
    • Number of students served through the Disability Services Office with accommodations that include accessible materials and technologies
      • Disability categories
      • Student demographics
      • Formats provided
      • Sources used
        • Timely delivery
      • Quality of materials (e.g., accuracy of coding and content, ease of use)
    • Digital materials procured that meet minimum accessibility standards (WCAG 2.0 AA/Section 508)
    • Technologies procured that meet minimum accessibility standards (WCAG 2.0 AA/Section 508)
    • Learning opportunities and technical assistance provided
      • Providers
      • Delivery formats
      • Evidence of impact (e.g., proportion of faculty selecting and creating accessible digital materials, records of timely delivery, student satisfaction with accessibility of materials and technologies)
    • Surveys and other sources of feedback from individuals in wide-ranging roles across the agency
  • A plan for collecting and maintaining data on student use of accessible materials and technologies
    • Collection methods
      • Selection of a data management system that supports
      • Legal requirements related to student confidentiality
      • Monitoring of use by individual students
      • Cross-referencing data on individual use with data on disability categories served
      • Cross-referencing data on individual use with data on institutional student population demographics
    • Data collection timelines
  • Collaborations, internal and external, that are important to developing and implementing a systematic data collection process

HE Critical Components for Quality Indicator 6

Quality Indicator 6: The agency uses the data collected to guide changes that support continuous improvement in all aspects of the systemic provision and use of accessible materials and technologies.

To effectively address this quality indicator, the following components should be present when analyzing and using data.

  • A specific plan for analyzing and using the data, including, but not limited to
    • Purpose for which the data will be used
    • Audiences with whom the data will be shared
    • Strategies for both quantitative and qualitative analysis
    • Strategies that protect individual student identities
    • Timeline for periodic review of data
    • Timeline for implementation of data driven decisions
  • Participation in analysis of data by various stakeholders (e.g., administrators, faculty, Disability Services Office, EIT personnel, purchasing and procurement staff)
  • Strategies for cross-referencing data on timely delivery of high quality accessible materials and technologies with data on student progress and program completion
  • Strategies for cross-referencing data to determine equity in the provision of accessible materials and technologies
    • Cross-referencing student use data with data on disability categories served
    • Cross-referencing student use data with institutional student population demographic data
  • Multiple means for dissemination of results to targeted audiences
  • Use of data to improve future practice, program planning and resource allocation
  • Collaborations, internal and external, that are important to using data to inform changes in the provision of accessible materials and technologies

HE Critical Components for Quality Indicator 7

Quality Indicator 7: The agency allocates resources sufficient to ensure the delivery and sustainability of quality services to learners with disabilities who need accessible materials and technologies.

To effectively address this quality indicator, the following components should be included in allocating resources.

  • Multiple resource types are provided, including, but not limited to
    • Fiscal (e.g., funding needs for material and technology accessibility are determined during the institution’s budget process and capital planning)
    • Human (e.g., faculty and staff at multiple levels have knowledge to assist with selection, procurement, acquisition, and integration of accessible materials and technologies in instruction)
    • Infrastructure (e.g., databases, coordinated provision systems, instructional technology, assistive technology, training)
  • Resources are used to address the needs of all stakeholders, including, but not limited to
    • All learners being served
    • Disability Services Office
    • Faculty
    • EIT
  • Collaborations, internal and external, that are important to leveraging resources for the benefit of all stakeholders