FAQs for Faculty

Digital Accessibility ADA Compliance


From the November 25th, 2014 Resolution Agreement:

By December 30, 2015, the University will make its EIT accessible to individuals with disabilities, particularly students with visual, hearing, or manual impairments or who otherwise require the use of assistive technology to access the EIT. Should the University choose to provide the information and services in some manner different from that used to provide information and services to others, the method chosen must permit students with disabilities to receive all the educational benefits provided by the technology in an equally effective and equally integrated manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use.

Layman’s Translation: Any file or video that you convey to students electronically after Dec 30, 2015 for their use in coursework must be ADA compliant.



Q. So just what does this include?
A. This includes any document, spreadsheet, slides (power point), PDF, any file, or web site that your students must use during the semester. This includes:

  1. Attachments to emails
  2. Posted files in Blackboard (or any other LMS or sharing site such as Google Docs)
  3. Posted files in College, Departmental, personal web sites (on-campus or off-campus) any web sites the student needs for their course work


Q. What about YouTube (or similar) videos?
A. All videos students need for their course work require transcripts.(Note that YouTube will produce a rough transcript that you will need to edit for accuracy.)


Q. Where can I get Training?
A1. Human Resources will have a series of courses available beginning in Summer 2015.Contact Rosalyn Donaldson. (She will be sending out a broadcast email with information.)
A2. The Office of Cyberlearning will, by June 1 create a Self-paced training course in Blackboard. These training materials will focus on producing ADA compliant EIT. Videos within the course will provide step by step instructions for individuals that are unable to use the Windows/Microsoft Office Suite Ribbon tool.

See: ADA Training Options


Q. I understand that if I have a PC, this is not that hard?
A. True, you can install (without administrative privileges) a “productivity toolbar” on your work and home computer from the Desktop Tools web page.


Q. I use a MAC, what are my options.
A. If you have a newer MAC laptop or desktop (2011 or newer), ITS will give you a VM-Fusion license (PC emulator) so you can run the Windows desktop suite and take advantage of the “Productivity toolbar” mentioned above.
Rely on training.


Q. How will I know if my personal web site is ADA compliant?
A.The best tool we found is WAVE from WebAIM. While it may, on rare occasions, provide a false positive, it is overall very reliable. Please consult Using WAVE Tool to Check Pages for Accessibility for instructional information.


Q. What if I inadvertently post something that is not compliant?
A. The EIT coordinator will advise you and collegially discuss a timeframe for correction.


Q. What about my class handouts, do they need the printed ADA Compliance Statement?
A. No! See: What does and does not need the printed materials ADA Compliance Statement.


Third party system or content use (e.g., MatLab)
Q. “What do I do when my software or vendor provided material is not accessible?” or
“How do I know if my software or e-books are accessible?”

(Please revise or restate as you see fit.)

Please contact your vendor with questions. Use the vendor inquiry statement below.

Vendor Inquiry Statement
“Youngstown State University is committed to providing accessible computer software and electronic content for our students and employees. Please confirm whether your programs and/or e-books meet Section 508 standards. If your system or content is not accessible, please explain when it will be or if there is an equivalent accessible alternative. Please respond to [Insert contact information here].”


Q. What does it mean for content to be accessible?
A. Content should be readable by assistive technology such as JAWS or Apple Accessibility.


Q. Can I put scans of handwritten notes on my website for use in a course?
A. No - A scan would be considered an image. Images are not recognizable to a screen reader. When you add alternative text to an image, you are limited to a 150 characters limit to define what you wrote. You should consider alternatives like voice to text systems or handwriting to text conversion systems.


Q. How can I produce ADA compliant mathematics documents using LaTeX?
A. LaTex, like most scientific notation software does not easily produce ADA compliant content and is a work-in-progress. The best information we have at this time is contained in our LaTex ADA Guidelines*.


Q. Do videos always need subtitling?
A. A transcript is another alternative to subtitling a video. If your video is posted online and there is no transcript, synchronized captions (a/k/a closed captioning) are needed.


Q. What do I do if I have a student who needs to use braille?
A. Direct them to Disability Services for assistance.


Q. How do I get training in creating accessible content?
A. Please see either EIT Training Schedule for information regarding Training or Self-help documentation.


Q. Can I use an online homework system for my course?
A. Vendors must be working toward making their systems & content accessible or eventually YSU will be forced to drop them. (See above for 3rd party software.)


Q. How to I test a specific document for accessibility?
A. If you use a PC, the “Accessibility Checker” will report whether your document has issues. A Mac does not have this feature and you will have to rely on training.


Q. Should I learn how to use a screen reader like JAWS?
A. PC. If you have a PC, having JAWS installed on your PC is an option. You can submit a Work Order via Self Service. (You will need your computer’s TS tag number.)

A-MAC If you have a MAC “Apple Accessibility” will “read” your content.


Q. What is a good statement to include on a webpage that I create?
A. See ‘Web Standards” Page 3 of the EIT Accessibility Standards.*


Q. What is a good statement to include on a syllabus about accessibility?
A. The Office of Disability Services has an approved Guideline for Creating a Complete and Accessible Syllabus.

Q. What does it mean that a piece of software is accessible? How do I know if it is? Is, for example, MatLab accessible?
A. Accessible software is compatible to popular assistive technology and should be readable & navigable using assistive technology such as JAWS or “Apple Accessibility”.


Q. My question was not addressed above.
A. Please email Jim Yukech.