E Text Platform Providers Accessibility Announcement

Last week, Courseload, an e-text platform provider that has consistently participated in the EDUCAUSE/Internet2 E-Text Pilot Series, announced that it had achieved major progress in making its platform's collaboration functions (e.g., peer and faculty highlighting and annotation) accessible in line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the technology accessibility guidelines established for federal agencies under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. You can review the company's statement on its platform's latest accessibility features at http://www.courseload.com/news/2013/2/5/courseload-releases-first-etext-platform-with-accessible-col.html. A brief video demonstration of those features is available from Courseload's accessibility page (http://www.courseload.com/accessibility/). For more on the relationship between Courseload's progress on accessibility and the EDUCAUSE/Internet2 e-text pilots, read on...

Over the last couple of years, EDUCAUSE and Internet2 have conducted a series of semester-long e-text pilots exploring different business models for the deployment of online, digital textbooks in higher education, with Courseload regularly serving as a participating platform provider. Last fall, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) publicly questioned whether institutions piloting the use of Courseload were complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and/or the Rehabilitation Act. (For more, please see the public letters from NFB, Courseload, EDUCAUSE/Internet2, and others at: http://www.educause.edu/library/resources/educauseinternet2-etext-pilots-and-accessibility.)

Prior to the release of the Spring 2012 pilot research report, the findings of which led to NFB's concerns, Courseload had begun to make changes to appropriately upgrade the accessibility of its platform. But as plans to launch the Spring 2013 pilot began to take shape, Courseload still had work to do, so it committed publicly to achieving significant and necessary accessibility upgrades prior to the start of the Spring 2013 pilot. While the general public announcement of those changes was made last week, the latest, revised version of Courseload was in place and ready for use as the Courseload platform for the Spring 2013 pilot, consistent with the company's commitment in relation to the pilot.