Macmillan Learning announced today, April 15, that we became the first education solutions company to become Global Certified Accessible™, providing “born accessible” digital learning (ebook) options for students with disabilities. Books that are born accessible are developed to ensure that all students, no matter their ability, have the same access to information. This is increasingly important for students and instructors as more than one out of every ten students who attends college has a disability.
Benetech, a nonprofit that empowers communities with software for social good, established the Global Certified Accessible program to become the publishing industry’s first-ever program focusing on accessibility certification. The program evaluates whether ebooks are designed to be accessible for learners with reading barriers such as blindness, low vision, dyslexia, or a physical disability.
“In this digital age there’s no reason that students with disabilities shouldn’t have the same access to learning materials as their peers,” said Susan Winslow, General Manager of Macmillan Learning. “Through working with Benetech, we saw how our internal processes could be improved to make materials even more accessible and made all the necessary changes. While we’re very proud of being the first to have the designation - we’re more proud that we now better serve all learners.”
Over the past few years digital experiences have become richer - with dynamic content and features that make learning more interactive. While Macmillan Learning has had processes in place to support learners with disabilities for some time, the company worked alongside Benetech to ensure that the best possible support for access to these digital features were built in.
To become Global Certified Accessible Benetech evaluated Macmillan Learning’s workflow for creating accessible books, as well as many samples of content across the disciplines they publish in, and certified conformance to the accessible EPUB creation guidelines, which are based on WCAG 2.0 AA+ standards put in place by the international standards organizations and the publishing community. Using a collaborative process, Benetech evaluated and provided feedback on more than a hundred accessibility features. The certification applies to all books created using Macmillan Learning’s updated process, which includes all ebooks with a 2019 copyright.
“As teachers, school districts and post-secondary institutions select course materials, they need to know that the ebooks they choose will be accessible for all students,” said Brad Turner, VP and GM, Global Education and Literacy at Benetech. “Now that Macmillan Learning is a Global Certified Accessible publisher, schools can select Macmillan’s certified materials, knowing that every student will be able to read and learn from the textbook in a way that works for them, laying the foundation for a classroom that is inclusive of all learners.”
Macmillan Learning’s certified materials will be available through our regular channel partners as well as a new retail store hosted by VitalSourceⓇ. This also includes a catalog of more than 200 titles from our backlist which, while not “born accessible,” include detailed accessibility information on the VitalSource platform through their accessibility badging initiative.
“We are excited about the leadership Macmillan Learning is providing around accessibility support and transparency in their content,” said Rick Johnson, VP of Product Strategy at VitalSource. “Our industry leading efforts with transparency showcases the accessibility features they have included in their content and will help all learners understand how that content can best support their individual needs.”
For many years, Macmillan Learning has offered accessible materials such as instructor and student resources (e.g., lecture slides, quizzes, PDFs, etc.), and ebooks at no additional cost to Disability Services for qualified instructors and students with disabilities and for instructors supporting students with disabilities.
About Macmillan Learning
Macmillan Learning improves lives through learning. By linking research to learning practice, we develop pioneering products and learning materials for students that is empathetic, highly effective, and drive improved outcomes. Our engaging content is developed in partnership with the world's best researchers, educators, administrators, and developers. To learn more, please visit macmillanlearning.com or see us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or join our Macmillan Community.