Frequently Asked Questions About Accessibility
Pearson works continuously to ensure that our products are as accessible as possible to all students. The following FAQs are provided to answer questions we routinely receive from customers about MyLab Writing. If you don't see your question answered, please email us.
- When discussing course materials, what does "accessible" mean?
- Is MyLab Writing accessible to print-disabled students?
- Is MyLab Writing accessible to hearing-impaired students?
- What is "substantially equivalent ease of use?"
- Do you have plans to further extend MyLab Writing's accessibility?
- How do you test your products' accessibility?
When discussing course materials, what does "accessible" mean?
Essentially, "accessible" means that any course materials you distribute to your students (whether in-class or online), and which are essential to the student's success in class, must be usable by all students in your class. In this case, usable means providing the benefits of the educational program in an equally effective and equally integrated manner.
Is MyLab Writing accessible to print-disabled students?
The latest release of MyLab Writing is compatible with the JAWS screen reader*, enabling print-disabled students to read selected multiple-choice and free-response problem types, and interact with them via keyboard controls and math notation input. For low-vision students, MyLab Writing works with the ZoomText enlarger.
Our accessibility design is guided by the three-pronged functional definition of accessibility provided to post-secondary institutions by the Department of Justice and the Department of Education. Under their interpretation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), all students "must be afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services." MyLab Writing incorporates such opportunities to the extent feasible. In cases where the technology does not yet exist or is not readily available to provide an identical user experience, then a substantially equivalent ease of use is warranted.
*The mobile-enhanced (HTML5) player supports JAWS 15 and 16. The standard (FLASH) player supports up to JAWS 14.
Is MyLab Writing accessible to hearing-impaired students?
Most videos in MyLab Writing have closed captioning.
What is "substantially equivalent ease of use?"
The DOJ and DOE refer to substantially equivalent ease of use as a concept to apply when the opportunities described above do not provide a student with a disability with identical ease of use, compared to the ease of use of students without disabilities. In these instances, the student must be provided with accommodations or modifications that "ensure equal access to the educational benefits and opportunities afforded by the technology, and equal treatment in the use of such technology."
Of course, many different situations may occur. We designed the educational benefits and opportunities provided by MyLab Writing, and will share our expertise with you to help identify accommodations or modifications that will provide substantially equivalent user experiences.
Nonetheless, Pearson's accessibility team is working to reduce, and eventually eliminate, the need for substantially equivalent ease of use in favor of the more preferable "identical ease of use."
Do you have plans to further extend MyLab Writing's accessibility?
Yes. Accessible instructional technology is a dynamic and ever-changing field. While we have succeeded in achieving the basic premises of accessibility, there is always room for additional innovation and even greater improvement in ease of use.
For example, ongoing accessibility development focuses on graphical and tabular problem types, allowing access via both JAWS screen readers and, for a subset of non-algorithmic items, Braille translation software/embossers. We are working closely with advocacy groups and accessibility consultants to determine the most effective ways to present highly visual content in non-visual forms.
How do you test your products' accessibility?
We rely on a variety of resources—in-house specialists, advocacy groups, accessibility firms, independent consultants, and students—to evaluate our products and to gain insight into the effectiveness of our accessibility efforts.