Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I have to register with ATI before I can request my material in an accessible format?
A: Yes, you must qualify for services before we can provide you with material in an accessible format. Once you are registered with Disability Services (DS), you may inquire about the ATI referral process. For an appointment at DS, please call 703-993-2474. Employees should contact the ADA Coordinator at 703-993-8730.
Q: Do I have to purchase my own copy of the course materials prior to requesting an accessible format?
A: Yes, you must purchase a copy of the material(s) you need. Additionally, we require proof of purchase (i.e. receipts).
Q: Do I have to show receipt for the material I need converted into an accessible format?
A: Yes, publishing companies require we provide proof of purchase before they provide material in an electronic format. In addition, Mason needs proof of purchase before scanning material in accordance with the Chafee Act. For more information about the Chafee Act, visit: *Copyright
Q: Are you able to convert rented textbooks?
A: Please speak with us if you are considering renting textbooks.
Q: What will happen to the hard copy of my book during the scanning process?
A: To scan printed material into an electronic format, we need to remove the binding from your book. Once the book has been successfully converted, we rebind the book with a plastic comb.
Q: What types of material can I have converted into an accessible format?
A: We convert required course material into an accessible format. This includes textbooks, reading packets, e-reserve material, tests/exams, and quizzes.
Q: What accessible formats can be provided?
A: Accessible Text can provide textbooks and course packets in the following formats: Microsoft Word, rich or plain text, and PDF. In addition to the formats listed above, quizzes and exams and other small documents can also be provided in large print or Braille with prior arrangements.
Q: How do I request my videos to be captioned or audio described?
A: Please complete a Request Services Form for each video file.
Q: I have more than one video that needs to be captioned or audio described, should I use the Bulk Request Form?
Q: Once I submit a captioning or audio description request, what is the turnaround time?
A: Usually, the turn-around time for you to receive the videos in a captioned format is 7 business days. This time-frame may change based on the current demand. ATI will keep you updated on the status of your request should this time-frame extend past the 7 days. As for audio described content, please contact our office as soon as possible to discuss turnaround times.
Q: Do you charge for your accessible media services?
A: No! Captioning and audio description services are available as a free service to the Mason community whether it’s for a classroom accommodation or compliance purposes.
Q: I’ve worked with GMU-TV or Mason Creative Services to create my videos. How do I get these videos captioned or audio described?
A: We routinely work with individuals from these offices. Please note this in your request and we can help in coordinating the process.
Q: How do I caption or audio describe my own videos?
A: The ATI offers several resources for captioning your own videos using YouTube, Kaltura or Vimeo. We also offer information on how to Audio Describe your own videos. Please visit Do It Yourself: Create Accessible Videos for these resources.
Q: How can I have my Mason website tested for accessibility?
A: Please complete a Request Services Form and under Reason for Request, select Mason Website Accessibility Evaluation.
Q: How can I learn about creating accessible websites?
A: Visit our Guide to Creating Accessible Electronic Materials (PDF). There is a entire section on Web Accessibility with resources. You can also contact Kristine Neuber, IT Accessibility Coordinator, or Robert Starr, Program Support Specialist, for questions or to set up a training.
Q: Who can I contact regarding an accessibility issue of a Mason website, document, online video or other materials?
A: All web accessibility related issues will need to be submitted to the ATI using the Request Services Form. Under Reason for Request, select Report a Web Related Accessibility Issue. Your information will remain anonymous.
Q: What do Mason Requestors need to know?
There is an *Architecture Standards Committee (ASC) that has an Architecture Standards Review Board (ASRB). This Board is put in place to ensure compliance of purchases of technology services, hardware, applications, etc. As part of this committee, ATI reviews purchase requests for *Section 508 and *WCAG 2.1 accessibility and compliance standards. Once a request is submitted to the ASRB you will receive an email from the ATI to elicit help in communicating with the vendor to obtain a demonstration version of the software and Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT).
Q: What do vendors need to know?
Vendors who wish to do business with Mason must provide information about their product’s compliance with applicable accessibility standards via the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT). There are 2 types of VPATs that we request vendors to complete: The Section 508 VPAT and the WCAG 2.1 VPAT. We request at a minimum the WCAG 2.1 VPAT be completed. Vendor may also send the Section 508 VPAT as well. Please visit our VPAT Matrix (Word Doc) for help determining which standards may apply. Request for demo information to do a manual accessibility review is likely.
Q: What is a Demo and Application Document?
When a demo is required, the Demo and Application Information Document (PDF) asks a series of questions needed in order for ATI to properly complete manual testing of the application.
Demos are required when:
- It is a large University wide application;
- Used across more than one Office/Department;
- Has a large student based population;
- Has a public interface;
- Combination of any/all of the above.
Q: What is a VPAT?
Mason requests a Section 508 VPAT (PDF) and/or a WCAG 2.1 VPAT (PDF) for all E&IT procurement. The VPAT is the product of a partnership between the Information Technology Industry Council and the U.S. General Services Administration to develop an industry-standard rubric for documenting the extent to which E&IT products conform to Section 508 and WCAG 2.1 accessibility standards. It’s basically a checklist to determine the level of accessibility that products support or do not support. The term voluntary refers to the fact that only those vendors who wish to sell products to the federal or state government require a VPAT. Mason procurement and contract process for E&IT acquisition was amended to include the Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards at 36 CFR Part 1194. Visit ATI Mason Policy for more information.
Q: What responsibility do vendors have in doing business with Mason?
The VPATs must be completed and signed by a company representative with sufficient technical knowledge of the E&IT product or service. All vendors shall agree to respond to and resolve any complaint regarding accessibility of their E&IT products or services. All vendors must provide the contact information for a person who will address questions and issues regarding the accessibility of their product and services.
When an application/product is manually reviewed, an Accessibility Report will be shared with the vendor. Depending upon the level of accessibility or lack of accessibility a timeline may be required showing when changes can be implemented.
Q: Where can a vendor find more information about VPATs, Section 508 and WCAG 2.1
Q: How does a vendor complete a Mason VPAT and to where do they send it?
The Section 508 and/or WCAG 2.1 level AA VPATs must be fully completed and signed by a company representative and/or manufacturer(s) with sufficient technical knowledge of the E&IT product or service. Vendors are required to complete VPAT market research requirements for E&IT products as defined by Section 508 regulations. Vendors will return their completed VPAT directly to Mason’s IT Accessibility Coordinator for product review and evaluation. Failure to properly complete and return the VPAT will result in the designation of No VPAT Provided or will be returned to the Vendor to provide completion. The IT Accessibility Coordinator will review and evaluate your product and then forward their evaluation to the appropriate party.
Q: How will the VPAT be evaluated?
The IT Accessibility Coordinator will review the VPAT to evaluate technical compliance and serve as a technical resource to evaluate and approve product compliance.
Failure to properly complete and return the VPAT will result in the designation of No VPAT Provided or will be returned to the Vendor to provide completion. The IT Accessibility Coordinator will review and evaluate your product and then forward their evaluation to the appropriate party.
Q: Will the products or services be tested?
Mason reserves the right to perform testing of a vendor’s product or service in order to validate vendor claims regarding Section 508 and WCAG 2.1 conformance. In order to facilitate this testing, the vendor shall, upon request, provide to Mason a test version of the product being considered for purchase for a period of at least 30 calendar days. The testing version of the product must be equivalent in functionality and features to the commercial version that is under consideration for purchase by Mason.
Failure to provide an equivalent functioning demo will result in slowing the approval process and may result in a decline of approval. (Please contact our office to determine alternatives.)
Q: Where can I find more information about working with vendors to complete VPATs?
Please visit our VPATs Page for more information and resources.