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3 Universities Adopt Automated Web Accessibility Monitoring

Three universities, Penn State University, Purdue University Calumet, and the University of Texas at Brownsville have moved to an automated system for monitoring and validating Web accessibility and remediating issues that come up.

The three schools will use HiSoftware's Compliance Sheriff product to help maintain accessibility to online information and services for prospective and current students and their parents and alumni.

The HiSoftware Compliance Sheriff monitors Web sites, intranets, e-learning systems, and Web applications and flags "any accessibility issues for resolution, ensuring content is kept compliant with federal regulations including Section 508 and 504, WCAG 2.0, and university-specific requirements," the company said.

Many schools now offer virtual tours of campuses as well as access to course catalogs and syllabi through university Web sites. Additionally, many also offer individual classes and full degree programs online. Maintaining clear access to this information in a shared environment is crucial to the overall experience, and so, according to HiSoftware, schools are looking for monitoring capabilities as part of their overall software solutions.

Penn State is representative of that trend. The university "is committed to providing an accessible online presence and learning environment for all of our faculty, staff, and students," John Harwood, associate vice provost of Information Technology Services, said in a prepared statement. "By automating accessibility monitoring with HiSoftware, we know that our Web sites are being audited for accessibility compliance so we can address any issues and make sure it is equally available to all of our constituents."

About the Author

Jim Barthold is a freelance technology reporter. He can be reached at jimbarthold@comcast.net.

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