What Is KSU Technology?

Determining what is and isn't Kent State technology can be complicated. After studying the information below, if you have remaining questions please contact us at EqualAccess@kent.edu.

I. Is My Product Considered Kent State Technology? 

Use the flowchart below to determine whether your product has components that can be categorized as Kent State technology and therefore should be reviewed and/or managed by the Division of Information Technology.

Accessible Version available. 

Download the Accessible Version.

If your product is considered Kent State technology, please visit our Pre-Purchase Review Process page. 

II. Digital Accessibility Foundations

Why is digital accessibility important?
Digital Accessibility is an important component of providing and promoting an equitable, welcoming and inclusive learning environment and is required by law and regulation. Accordingly, with the routine, extensive and increasing use of web assets, digital content and related materials in higher education, KSU strives to provide resources that are accessible to all individuals.

What does it mean to “be accessible” in reference to digital content, software, and 3rd party services?
When referring to digital content, software, and 3rd party services, “accessible” means that students with disabilities can interact with it in as equal or equally effective way as non-disabled students. Also the content, software, and services must interact correctly with assistive technology. Assistive technology refers to software and hardware that provides individuals with disabilities equal access. Common examples of assistive technology include screen readers, text to speech software, magnification, closed-captioning, etc. Proper creation and formatting of digital content, proper programming of software, and proper adherence to accessibility standards for 3rd party content and services provide equal access to individuals with disabilities.

Can I get a list of what Kent State considers technology?
Information and communication technology (ICT) accessibility, formerly known as EIT, generally refers to software, hardware, digital content, and content standards that are used to provide and promote equal access to persons with disabilities. In higher education institutions such as Kent State University, the ICT Accessibility “footprint” typically includes, but is not limited to:

Software Applications: Applications installed on office and lab computers, applications used in tandem with face-to-face and online classes, mobile applications, simulations, etc.
Web/Cloud-based information and applications: Kent State University website, FlashLine, Banner, Blackboard Learn, Canvas, Google Drive, Online application forms, Qualtrics forms, KSU app, Online labs, 3rd party web services (free or paid) such as marketing, specialized websites, publisher websites, etc.
Digital Documents/Materials: All digital content posted to the Kent State University website or within face-to-face and online courses such as syllabi, course information, assignments, Word docs, PDF files, videos, audio, multimedia, university forms, university business documents, etc.
Procurement/Business: Purchase processes, requirements and evaluation of ICT products and services, including RFP (bidding) and non-RFP (regular purchase) ICT products and services from 3rd party vendors, etc.
Telecommunications: Phones, Voicemail, Video Conferencing, Screen sharing technologies
Self-contained products: Headphones, headsets, touchscreens, operable controls (key carded door openers), public information kiosks, public sound systems, computers, clickers/personal response systems, etc.

What specific law(s) inform digital accessibility?
At Kent State University, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. Section 794, and its implementing regulation at 34 C.F.R. Part 104, and the Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. Section 12131 et seq., and its implementing regulation at 28 C.F.R. Part 35 inform our efforts in ICT accessibility. Additionally, Kent State University looks to Section 508 (29 U.S.C. § 794(d)) for guidance and best practice in regard to ICT accessibility. Section 508 mandates that electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by the federal government be accessible to people with disabilities.

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III. Policy

View the information and communication technology (ICT) accessibility policy at the policy register site

What is the University policy regarding digital accessibility/electronic and information technology accessibility?
The university policy regarding Digital Accessibility or electronic and information technology accessibility (known colloquially as the ICT/EIT policy) is a key part of Kent State University’s long-standing commitment to provide and promote an inclusive and welcoming environment. The policy has three key functions:

Formally establishes good-faith efforts to meet legal requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) accessibility

Outlines clear expectations/scope of information and communication technology (ICT) accessibility across the university system

Operationalizes processes to promote, coordinate and support information and communication technology (ICT) accessibility initiatives

Whom does the digital/ICT accessibility policy impact?

The policy applies to all staff, faculty, and third parties providing EIT/ICT to or on behalf of the university.

When did the policy go into effect?
A: The policy went into effect May 1, 2017

Does this policy change the academic accommodation processes/support already provided via Student Accessibility Services?
A: No, the process for students to request accommodations and the work that SAS does with faculty to help make courses accessible in the event of an academic accommodation remains in place and will not change. This policy is part of a broader effort to enhance ICT accessibility across all university systems.

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IV. Academic Implications of Digital Accessibility

It sounds like this policy only applies to online courses. If I teach a face-to-face course, do I have to follow this policy?
Yes, the policy applies to any course (face-to-face or online) that has ICT components (such as digital content, videos, multimedia, etc.).  In fact, many face-to-face courses use a variety of digital course materials and therefore it is best practice and good course design to make sure these materials are accessible.

What resources and support are available for creation and remediation of digital content?
Learn more about resources for digital accessibility. In addition, faculty and instructors can contact their local support staff to learn more about how to meet ICT accessibility standards and make course materials accessible.

Do I have to follow the policy even if there are no students in my class(es) that have received an accommodation?
A: The U.S. Department of Justice has suggested that it is the institution's responsibility to proactively ensure that required modifications are made once it is on notice of a student’s needs.  Accordingly, the student should not need to first attempt to access resources before the university is required to provide accessible content. Staff, faculty and third parties providing ICT content to or on behalf of the university should ensure that digital content is made accessible when created or distributed.  

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V. Procurement and purchasing

Do technological purchases under RFP/RFI/RFQ bidding thresholds ($25,000 for goods and $50,000 for services) need to be reviewed?
Yes, purchases of ICT accessibility products and services purchased without competitive bidding must adhere to the policy and the University’s ICT accessibility implementation procedures. In order to comply with federal law and 4-16 University policy regarding electronic and information technology accessibility, all Kent State University faculty and staff who wish to procure 3rd party ICT products should complete the following Pre-Purchase Review Process.

Should all ICT products and/or services be evaluated before purchase and before contracts are signed?
Yes, in order to comply with federal law and 4-16 University policy regarding electronic and information technology accessibility, all Kent State University faculty and staff who wish to procure 3rd party ICT products should complete the Pre-Purchase Review ProcessThis evaluation should be done prior to purchase, before any new contracts are signed or before existing contracts are renewed.

Are Kent State University staff required to follow the policy for purchases of work-related software (software used within an office or for a small group of staff members)?
Yes, all software purchased for use by Kent State University employees, whether used for the public or within an office/group setting should be evaluated to determine if it meets ICT accessibility compliance standards. Please see the Pre-Purchase Review Process.

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