WebAssign is committed to providing powerful educational tools and content for all students, including students with disabilities.
Accessibility for students with visual impairments is particularly an issue with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) content, which traditionally uses complex notation and figures. WebAssign provides accessible representations of both notation and figures to screen readers. And, students entering math notation can use the same “calculator” notation that is read by the screen reader without worrying about the visual representation of the math.
Accessible content in WebAssign is tested using the following assistive technology:
- JAWS®, version 16.0
- Window-Eyes™, version 9.2
- ZoomText®Magnifier, version 10.0
See a WebAssign Question Interpreted by JAWS
Screen readers usually need to be configured differently to read STEM content than for other types of content. WebAssign has worked with the makers of JAWS and Window-Eyes to create a set of recommended settings to make it easier to interpret STEM content. These screen readers are Text-To-Speech (TTS) engines that help read the images and words on the computer screen, including STEM expressions. Expressions include non-equivalent upper- and lowercase letters, mathematical symbols and chemical formulas, including the use of superscripts, and subscripts.
WebAssign can help you select or create accessible content for your class. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your request.
WebAssign will work with the instructor, the institution’s disability office, and the publisher of your preferred textbook to create a course that can be completed with the use of assistive technology, such as the screen readers mentioned above. Please be aware that this may take up to eight weeks. We recommend contacting us well before the start of the course.
WebAssign will also help coordinate with the publisher to provide you with an accessible form of the textbook. Due to copyright and ownership restrictions, publishers remain in control of the distribution of their material.
A recent external audit conducted by consultants from Tech For All found that “in our assessment of assignment questions, non-text content has well-written alternative text. Assignment questions are correctly marked up and easy to complete for visually impaired users.” However, we still have work to do to improve our navigability. We are planning on making incremental changes throughout the upcoming academic year to improve the user experience. Our ultimate goal is to support WCAG 2.0 level AA standards across the entire student experience.