Things to Consider Before Agreeing To Publisher Direct Or 3rd Party Textbooks And Materials
Please remember, per Foothill-De Anza Board Policies, publishing reps are not to sell in your classrooms nor are they allowed to solicit directly on campus. They must check in and be granted permission to be on campus.
Federal law requires that higher education institutions that receive federal funding (think financial aid and grants) make all instructional materials accessible to all students. Unfortunately, publishers are not governed by these same laws. So content or tools on a publisher's homework website (that comes bundled with the textbook), could present accessibility problems. We at De Anza College cannot make changes to the publishers' websites. So if barriers exist, an accessibility plan will need to be developed to ensure all students can achieve the course's outcomes. This may mean extra work for the instructor, so choose carefully.
Ask About Security
The content and student access must comply with Foothill-De Anza Electronic Information Security Policies and Standards. For more information, please contact ETS.
Will There Be Accessibility Issues?
Are videos captioned and audio recordings transcribed?
There should be transcripts for audio recordings and captions or subtitles for video. If there are not, ask the publishing representative if they would provide a captioned version in a timely manner if a student who needed them registered for your class.
Can all of the text that is displayed on the screen be read aloud by text-to-speech software?
Screen readers (assistive technology used by people who are blind) read real text. They cannot read images of text or text embedded in Flash animations/movies/simulations.
How accessible are the E-books?
Check to see if you can find a Document Accessibility Profile (DAP) on the e-book. The goal of DAP is to make it easy to find and use accessibility information for electronic textbooks and other documents,
Can all interactivity (media players, quizzes, flashcards, etc.) be completed by keyboard alone (no mouse required)?
People who are blind or people who have upper mobility disabilities cannot use a mouse. They use the keyboard to navigate and interact with the Web. It is required that any interactive elements on the publisher's website (or on a DVD included with the book) be operable by a keyboard alone if they are used in your course. For example: An interactive exercise that requires dragging and dropping is not keyboard accessible, so unless there is a keyboard option to dragging and dropping, that sort of exercise should not be used in your course.
Is there any documentation available (VPAT or White Paper for example) that confirms accessibility or usability testing results?
A VPAT is a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template. It is used by many organizations
to report the level of accessibility of their software products. If the publisher
doesn't have a VPAT or any research that confirms the accessibility of their product(s),
don't just take their word for how accessible they are.
If any of these answers are "No", you might want to consider talking to your Campus Bookstore. Contact: Kelly Swanson, Bookstore Director, (408) 864-8417.
Ask About The Usability And Interoperability Of Their Materials
You need to consider all of these aspects when adopting outside materials.
Is your multimedia (Adobe) Flash or (Oracle) Java-based? (Another way to put this, is "Can your materials be watched on an iPad?")
Content created in Flash and or Java can be inaccessible and may not run on mobile devices and tablets, which are becoming more prevalent.
Does any software need to be installed on student or De Anza College computer?
If software needs to be installed on De Anza College computers in a particular lab, consult with that lab's coordinator.
What are the computer requirements for using their materials? Will the materials work on mobile devices?
Distance Learning tells online students that these are the computer requirements for taking an online course. If your course requirements are greater or for a classroom-based course, make the computer requirements known in the class schedule.
How will students get access to the materials?
Does it require an access code? If so, students should be aware that used books may not have the necessary access code or may have an old unusable code.
Can the electronic content be made available for purchase through the campus bookstore?
Some students would like to own the material so they have it for future reference (rather than just online during the term.)
Does This New Version Actually Contain Enough "new" Material To Justify The Cost To Students?
Faculty should carefully consider the content of new versus existing editions of textbooks. Repeated use of the same textbook in a course provides opportunities for students to acquire used textbooks, which can often save students significant money. In choosing between a new version and an existing edition, faculty should consider whether content revisions warrant the cost differential that is often associated with using a new edition.