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Related Projects of Interest

2012 May 25
by anhb
MeTRC Update

The collaboration between the DIAGRAM Center and MeTRC to investigate the effectiveness of image descriptions in mathematics continues to move forward. A series of planning meetings have been held involving DIAGRAM and  MeTRC  team members, as well as well as our OSEP Project Officers. We have to date assembled a list of VI/Math experts from around the country to help and advise us; identified target research questions and possible methodologies; and we have tentatively selected dates the end of September for a face-to-face planning meeting in Washington, D.C., to discuss and perhaps finalize our plans. One key decision that has yet to be made is to choose a Principal Investigator who will carry out the research. We hope that initial fieldwork will begin in January 2013. Anyone with questions, ideas, suggestions, or general advice should contact Anh Bui or Mark Horney (mhorney@uoregon.edu).

IMS and APIP Update

Madeleine Rothberg of NCAM attended the IMS Global Learning Consortium‘s Learning Impact conference in May. An entire strand of sessions was devoted toAPIP, the Accessible Portable Item Protocol standard, which brings accessibility to the world of online high-stakes testing. Plans are already being made to use APIP to deliver the Common Core assessments that K-12 students in 46 states will take beginning in spring 2015. Vendors who produce computer-based tests and test items worked alongside state assessment specialists to create the APIP standard and everyone is now preparing to implement accessible testing. We expect to see similar approaches to accessibility in formative assessment and instructional materials once the systems are well developed, so DIAGRAM’s efforts to improve accessibility of images in instructional materials will support these changes.

Also at the IMS conference, Madeleine attended an exploratory meeting for a new eTextbook Task Force that is looking for opportunities to improve the way eTextbooks fit into other educational technologies by extending IMS’ Learning Tools Interoperability standard. Madeleine will be monitoring this group and encouraging them to include accessibility features, which were received well during the initial meeting. One possibility is to pass Access for AllPersonal Needs and Preferences when opening an eTextbook from within another learning system so that the eBook reader can format and deliver the book accessibly. Books and reading tools using the DIAGRAM Content Model and other DIAGRAM accessibility features would be able to respond to the preferences information. The task force also offers the opportunity to introduce the DIAGRAM Content Model to another community of publishers who are interested in implementing standards. Other DIAGRAM participants who are IMS members are welcome to join in.

SAS Institute Data Visualization Accessibility Prototype

Ed Summers, a member of our Tactile Graphics Working Group, recently announced newly developed prototypes of various types of data visualizations including bar charts, line charts, scatter plots, maps, floor plans, and a periodic table. The prototypes from the SAS Institute are optimized for access via the Safari web browser using the Voiceover screen reader on iOS touchscreen devices. The prototypes can be accessed at:

http://support.sas.com/misc/accessibility/

The prototypes were initially demonstrated during testimony to the Advisory Commission on Accessible Instructional Materials in Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities in July of 2011. They were also demonstrated at the 27th International Technology and
Persons with Disabilities Conference.

SAS is looking for input to move this technology forward. They are seeking students/professionals with visual impairments, Teachers of the Visually Impaired, and Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialists to participate in focus groups. Please email accessibility@sas.com if you
would like to participate.

Enabling Technologies Framework

The Enabling Technologies Framework is a three-year project funded by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and endorsed by the Stakeholders Platform of WIPO. This is a joint project involving both EDItEUR and the DAISY Consortium. Its goal is to evolve mainstream publishing processes so that they are capable of delivering digital publications that are fully accessible to people with reading disabilities. The focus of work has been to develop best practice guidelines for publishers to follow in their production process and where appropriate to integrate existing standards (including ONIX, EPUB and DAISY) into mainstream publishing in ways that enhance these best practices. The outputs have been designed to be used by publishers in all parts of the world. At the end of the first year of the project EDItEUR launched the guidelines document Accessible Publishing, Best Practice Guidelines for Publishers and these are available in Word, HTML and PDF. In April 2012 EDItEUR, along with The Publishers’ Association, RNIB, Dyslexia Action and JISC TechDis, launched a Joint Statement on Accessibility and Ebooks.

DIAGRAM has been in touch with Sarah Hilderley, who is running the project at EDItEUR, and we are exploring some of the natural intersections of our two projects. Sarah is organizing training modules for publishers as well as working on a new survey of publishers to capture their current practices. Stay tuned!

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