What is Publisher and Vendor Content?
This type of content includes textbooks and other course materials, such as PowerPoint presentations, documents, test banks, multimedia, and publisher platforms where students access content and submit work (such as MyMathLab). It also includes other tools, websites and technology platforms developed by an external party that we ask our students, fellow employees and the general public to use.
Why Does This Content Need to Be Accessible?
Dallas College accessibility policy states that all our Information and Communication Technology (ICT) must be accessible. This policy applies to all Dallas College employees, both full-time and part-time. It also applies both to materials that we create and to those that we get from publishers, vendors or any other outside sources. For example, it is the responsibility of the instructor to ensure that all content shared in a course is accessible, regardless of who created it.
How Can I Determine If Publisher and Vendor Content is Accessible?
The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) is a standard form that publishers and vendors can use to document how their product complies with federal guidelines for accessibility. Follow the steps below to confirm that a product is accessible according to its VPAT.
Step 1: Check the Dallas College VPAT Database
Check the VPAT Database (login required) to see if the product you plan to use is already listed.
If the product is listed: Check the status to see if it is accessible based on the VPAT.
Database Status Definitions:
Needs Review: VPAT will be reviewed within 1-2 business days. Check back soon for an updated status.
Has Issues: Review of VPAT has determined that there are issues that will result in lack of accessibility compliance and/or barriers to persons who have disabilities and the assistive technology they may use.
Inconclusive: Does not have a VPAT available or VPAT is not complete.
Accessible based on VPAT: Product appears to be accessible and compliant with accessibility standards. Review of VPAT is based solely on information provided by the vendor within their VPAT. The responsibility for accurate accessibility testing rests on the vendor or a third party that they may have used.
If the product status is “Inconclusive" or “Has Issues", consider an alternate accessible product. Otherwise, you will be responsible for creating accessible alternative formats for the content.
If the product is not listed: Move to step 2.
Step 2. Send a VPAT Request to the Publisher or Vendor
If the product you plan to use is not already listed on the VPAT Database, send your publisher or vendor the following email to request a VPAT for review.
Subject: Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) Request
It is the goal and policy of Dallas College to provide equal access to all our students and employees. Please send me a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 AA Template (WCAG) for your product so that I can submit it for Dallas College accessibility compliance review. Informational links regarding VPAT and WCAG are provided below.
I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for supporting the inclusion of all Dallas College students and employees.
Important: Save a copy of this email and any following correspondence.
Step 3: Submit the VPAT for Review
Once you have received the VPAT and/or WCAG information from the publisher or vendor, submit the VPAT for review (login required).
Fill out all fields of the submission form and attach any VPAT and/or WCAG documents that the publisher or vendor has provided. You will receive an email that confirms your submission, and a separate email within 1-2 business days confirming whether the submitted product is accessible based on the information provided.
Troubleshooting VPAT Requests
If the publisher or vendor cannot provide a VPAT, it is your responsibility to find or create accessible alternatives to their product -- or to switch to a publisher or vendor who can provide accessible content.
For help following up with publishers or vendors, or assessing the accessibility issues users may encounter when using their products, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If publishers or vendors have questions about how to complete a VPAT or how to make their content accessible, there are a number of web accessibility vendors to whom they can reach out for assistance.
Exception Request Process
If you have exhausted attempts to obtain an alternate accessible product and achieving accessible compliance standards is not possible, you should submit the
ICT Accessibility Exception Form to your first level supervisor. Complete this form only if you have considered and reviewed other alternatives and this is the only viable option at this time.
Your request will be reviewed by your first and second level supervisors and by Dallas College's Assistive Technology Specialist and Deputy Chief Innovation Officer. If approved by all parties, the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) will make the final decision to approve or deny the request.
Important: An approved exception request is not an exemption from making a product accessible. It is documentation of temporary acceptance until the product can be brought into compliance through modification, substitution with a comparable product, or discontinuation of use due to end of life cycle. The approval of a request for an exception does not relieve an employee from the obligation to provide reasonable accommodations regarding access to Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) resources.