Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Do You Have (or Need) An Accessible Technology Coordinator?

What is an Accessible Technology Coordinator?  According to the US Department of Justice (DoJ) in a recent Consent Decree with Miami (of Ohio) University required the creation of an Accessible Technology Coordinator (ATC), who reports directly to the Vice President for Information Technology. 

In the Consent Decree DoJ specified that the ATC will be knowledgeable concerning:
  1. The general requirements of Title II of the ADA and its applicable regulation;
  2. Accessibility and usability of web content;
  3. Accessibility and usability of technology, including equipment and devices used in classrooms and laboratories (e.g., clickers, lab equipment, smart boards);
  4. Testing and evaluation of the accessibility of web and other technologies;
  5. The W3C's WCAG 2.0, ATAG 2.0, UAAG 1.0, WAI-ARIA 1.0, MathML, WCAG2ICT, and any successors to those standards
  6. DAISY and EPUB 3. (Open Accessible Standards for publishing)

And the ATC will be familiar with:
  1. Accessible document development and remediation; and
  2. The appropriate provision of auxiliary aids and services for students with disabilities in non-electronic or non-digital formats, such as Braille hard copy, tactile graphics, large print hard copy, sign language interpretation, and reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures, such as procuring technologies outside of general policies and making reasonable security exceptions for assistive technologies.

In addition the ATC will make quarterly reports to the Vice President for Information Technology and the Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity.
As if that’s not enough, the Accessibility Technology Coordinator will also serve on the University Accessibility Committee to be chaired by the Vice President for Information Technology.  The Committee will meet at least quarterly and will include the Web Accessibility Coordinator, the Accessibility Technology Specialist (positions created in the Consent Decree) and representatives from ten departments across the university.
Now you know what the Accessible Technology Coordinator is and what DoJ has created for a position description.  Do you have the need for an ATC?  Are you in full compliance with ADA Title II?
The Consent Decree, can be provide guidance for all academic institutions that need to meet Title II of the ADA (that's most academic institutions)  as well as governmental agencies and businesses that have a web presence.
There is a lot more in the Consent Decree including creation and promulgation of an Accessible Technology Policy; training of employees; creation of a procurement process for software and web technology to ensure those products are accessible.
The full document runs 56 pages, but only about 32 of them provide guidance specifically for academic institutions on what they should consider doing to meet Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and amendments. 
I’ll cover other aspects of this Consent Decree in future posts.

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