Considerations for Linking to Publisher or other Third Party Online Materials

When you think about linking to publisher materials, or any other third party materials, you should consider the following questions:

How accessible are their digital materials? 

Are the videos captioned and audio recordings transcribed?

There should be transcripts of audio recordings and captions or subtitles for videos. If they aren't available, ask the publishing representative when they plan to have them. If they have no plans, ask them to give Lone Star College written permission to transcribe or caption the media when there's an accommodation need.

Are images described in alternative text? 

PowerPoint slides from publishers often have images without any alt text. Ask your publishers if their images have alt text.

Can all of the text that is displayed on the screen be read aloud by text-to-speech software?

Screen readers (assistive technology used by people who are blind) read real text. They cannot read images of text or text embedded in Flash animations/movies/simulations. 

How accessible are the E-books? 

Are the images described? Are embedded objects like videos keyboard accessible and captioned? Is the E-reader keyboard and screen reader accessible? 

Can all interactivity (media players, quizzes, flashcards, etc.) function using only the keyboard (no mouse)? 

People who are blind or have upper mobility disabilities cannot use a mouse. They use the keyboard to navigate and interact on the Web. It is required that any interactive elements on a publisher's website (or on a DVD included with the book) be operable by keyboard alone if they are used in your course. 

Is there any documentation available (VPAT or White Paper for example) that confirms accessibility or usability testing results?

A VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) is used by many organizations to report the level of accessibility of software products. 

Is your multimedia (Adobe) Flash or (Oracle) Java-based? Can your materials be watched on mobile devices? 

Content created in Flash or Java can be inaccessible and may not run on mobile devices and tablets, which are becoming more prevalent. 

What are the computer requirements for using their materials? Will the materials work on mobile devices?

Distance Learning informs online students about the computer requirements for taking an online course in the Distance Education Orientation for students. If your course requirements are different, make them known in the course syllabus. 

Open Educational Resources (OER) 

OERs have the same accessibility requirements as all other digital materials. However, if they are not accessible, they can usually be retrofitted to be accessible which we can't do if the materials reside on a publisher's server. Plus OERs are usually free to students! Check out: http://www.pcc.edu/library/oer/