College of Natural Sciences Five Year Plan
MAU: College of Natural Science
Submitted by: Ryan Ward, Cori Fata-Hartley, and Stephen Thomas
MSU is committed to providing accessible experiences to all students, faculty, and staff.
General Statement on Accessibility by MAU
General Statement on Accessibility by MAU Please include a general statement on accessibility for your MAU which describes any additional requirements or focal areas you have.
A college that is welcoming for students, employees, and participants in the college's programs and activities.
The College of Natural Science seeks to provide an educational experience that respects the dignity and independence of its students, faculty and staff members, and that embodies and promotes the principles of integration, inclusive design and equal opportunity.
To further strengthen the College of Natural Science's culture of inclusion by creating a learning and working environment - in principle, word and practice - that makes information accessible to all users.
Over the course of this three-to five-year accessibility plan, the College of Natural Science will:
- Identify barriers and establish strategies to address accessibility issues and regulatory requirements within the university selected timeframe;
- Encourage and support efforts related to improving the accessibility of all educational materials, websites and multimedia through university policies, procedures, protocols and standards.
- Proactively evaluate and review the college accessibility plan to ensure compliance, maintain continuity, identify continuous improvement opportunities and the overall success of the initiative; and
- Inspire an environment where educational services and materials are delivered in a manner that respects the rights, dignity and independence of all users.
Process and Training
- Training methods (Faculty and Staff)
- Training materials developed or used (Include links to materials if available)
- Describe communication infrastructure for accessibility between units, college, and university.
- Describe mechanisms for how accessibility issues can be identified and acted upon at the correct level.
- What are your plans to sustain accessibility awareness, knowledge and activities? (Community of practice? Ongoing training and awareness?)
Training and Materials
The college's strategy for accessibility training involves a combination of face-to-face workshops with experts / peers and digital resources that allow for just-in-time training. The college plans to employ trainings offered at the university level (e.g., LCTTP and IT Services), as well as to collaborate with other units on campus to offer workshops and presentations during the academic year. These events will be coordinated by the educational technology leads of each college (and in some cases, departments). Individualized trainings for departments, programs and faculty can be scheduled through the college digital curriculum coordinator.
Communication and mechanisms
For iterative improvement of course accessibility, the college is increasing the number of possible reporting lines for identifying and elevating accessibility concerns. Lines of reporting will include SIRS, course surveys and/or college and departmental advisors. In addition, we will create structures and reinforce communication lines with RCPD to help develop early warning systems that can increase faculty development time in meeting accessibility needs.
Formal and informal faculty and staff liaisons will help connect resources in departments, the college and across the university. Faculty will work with liaisons to identify the appropriate resources to aid in curriculum and content development.
Part of college's approach to sustaining accessibility will be to foster a community of practice on accessibility. Informal groups will help with dissemination, troubleshooting and adoption of accessibility approaches. Additionally, the college will connect accessibility to processes, workflows, awards, professional development and reporting lines that are already in place.
Website content contributor training will use workshops provided by LCTTP and IT Services and individual and small-group consulting sessions/workshops within the college.
Additionally, the college will use venues such as its quarterly website forum and regular CMS open hours to provide website accessibility training and review commonly found website accessibility errors.
Communication and Mechanisms
Website managers at the departmental level will effectively serve as an informal extension of the Liaison Network and function as a collegewide accessibility communication and solution network.
Websites will include links for reporting accessibility concerns. Concerns logged in this manner will be sent to both the college digital content liaison and the responsible website caretakers.
The college will use automated software to increase the frequency of site scanning for accessibility and provide regular website accessibility reviews for departments and follow-up with mediation training as needed.
How is your MAU handling content generation and guaranteeing that all new content is accessible? For new courses, websites, and applications
- Please outline how you will be ensuring that the content or application is accessible.
- Describe your process for training course developers, web developers and for purchasing new software/webware
For online and hybrid instruction, the college has a digital curriculum coordinator who will consult with faculty on the development of new courses and direct faculty members to university and college trainings that will include accessibility and universal design. Instructors and developers of face-to-face curriculum will receive training through regularly scheduled college and university initiatives and through dissemination from course coordinators.
The college regularly reviews new content and applications for accessibility and
Most college websites are being created in a Content Management System (CMS) that is hosted out of the Dean's office. Content in this system will be regularly reviewed for accessibility and common CMS resources that increase accessibility can be pushed to these sites.
Training resources and course information related to accessible software selection will be distributed through the college's web forums.
How is your MAU handling remediation of content already generated but not accessible?
- Provide a scope for the amount of work that needs to be done
- Please outline how you will inventory and prioritize your current digital content for scanning and remediation.
- Websites (e.g., use Google Analytics, use MSU's compliance scanner)
- Core content (Active and related to the primary mission of the MAU)
- Secondary content (Active not related to the primary mission of the MAU, e.g. internal websites such as meeting reservation systems or other administrative apps)
- Historical (Not currently maintained by the MAU, but available on the internet) All older content than 2010 needs to have a note that it's not accessible and we can make it so if needed - or that we can accommodate
- Websites (e.g., use Google Analytics, use MSU's compliance scanner)
- Courses (e.g., pull data from Registrar; begin with the large enrollment courses...)
- Existing Active Course Content
- Third Party Applications (except those listed on the MSU Acceptable Applications list)
The college currently has 58 online courses and five hybrid courses that will likely include a large number of digital resources that will need to be made accessible. These courses will be given priority, followed by face-to-face courses with large enrollment and introductory courses and more specialized and low enrollment courses.
The College of Natural Science hosts more than 100 websites and web-based applications and will prioritize the materials based on use, need and impact.
The college has two large scale academic applications in use: LON CAPA (Course Weaver) and beSocratic. Because of their integration into the curriculum, these programs are a high priority for evaluating their accessibility and developing potential alternatives. These programs will go through a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) analysis that will guide the development of educational equivalents for their use with students with disabilities.
Attach any exception requests and list their current status as submitted, pending, or approved.
Purchased or Outsourced Content
For purchased/outsourced applications, services and content, please explain
- How accessibility evaluation or verification is included in your process of decision-making and procurement
- Your current or planned support to address the gap with inaccessible content or functions.
- Enterprise Software.
- It should be accessible, if not then the vendor needs to know that they are on the hook.
Purchasing applications from third-party vendors for academic purposes will be done in collaboration and consultation with IT Services using their procedures for determining accessibility and need for support.
Describe how your MAU will improve content or training of faculty with regards to accessibility:
|Strategic Plan by Year|
Create infrastructure to identify and promote accessibility needs, identify most at risk resources, and begin active interventions. Types of activities might include:
Continue to address improved accessibility in high risk assets, develop interventions to impact a wider range of accessibility issues and begin evaluation of interventions. Types of activities might include:
Begin identifying accessibility needs of medium-to low-risk assets and iterative design of interventions based on evaluation data. Types of activities might include:
Extend accessibility remediation to low-risk courses, continue iterative design of interventions based on evaluation data and re-evaluate accessibility reporting mechanisms and sustainability measures. Types of activities might include:
Broaden evaluation of accessible resources to consider persons with psychological and cognitive disabilities. Evaluate overall accessibility of the college's digital resources and develop new 5 year plan.
Types of activities might include:
- Describe the allocation and to what end it serves
- How are these investments sustainable, or not?
- List them and provide a description
Funds have been invested in collaboration with IT Services to set up an undergraduate assistant program that will allow units to pay an hourly fee to remediate the accessibility of materials.
Web development staff time has been reallocated to researching and implementing best accessibility practices and to developing team process to reduce content accessibility errors.
Additional resources that help you support stakeholders (e.g. liaisons, faculty, staff or students) with regards to accessibility:
Any other things you are doing to enable carrying out the policy?
We employ and train a team of student employees to identify inaccessible content and reach out to content owners and identify issues and/or teach remediation practices.
What resources would you like to see put into place to support your MAU in the future?
- Funding and-or tools to help scan online content for accessibility.
- Software licenses for products that help with accessible document creation and assessing accessible documents would also be of great value.
- Video captioning services at a reasonable cost.
- Continued and regularly refreshed courses for accessibility at low to no-cost through IT Services or LCTTP are crucial to our success.