WebAssign is committed to providing a comprehensive and accessible learning environment for all learners. In our efforts to meet accessibility requirements for learning disabilities, we are continuously working to improve the experience throughout WebAssign.
Cengage Learning has partnered with Perkins Access, a division of Perkins School for the Blind, to support accessibility within our digital products. Through this collaborative partnership, we are discovering ways we can strengthen the design of our WebAssign platform, implementing strategies to enhance accessibility, and updating our VPAT for WebAssign.
Ongoing Accessibility Improvements
Ongoing work to improve accessibility includes incremental improvements in the redesigned student interface beginning in 2019 and continuing into the coming year; updating applicable Cengage content to include close captioning and alt text; and converting to a new ebook reading experience in current edition Cengage products. Our ultimate goal for the platform is to support WCAG 2.1 level AA standards across the entire student experience.
How WebAssign Delivers Accessible Content
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
- 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 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.
We will work with the instructor, the institution’s disability office, and the publisher of your preferred textbook to review your selected content and make any necessary upgrades 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 if you have any concerns about a selected content from a specific textbook.
Most recent editions of Cengage textbook products in WebAssign already utilize an accessible eBook. For WebAssign products not published by Cengage, we will facilitate communication 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.
Please email us at [email protected] for more information.