Accessible Content Creation
in Mathematics
Chris Hughes
Scot Leavitt
April3, 2013
Abstract
Mathematicspresentsmanyaccessibilitychallengesthatotherdisciplines
maynothavetodealwith. PortlandCommunityCollege(PCC)isdedicated
tomakingeducationaccessible toallandfundedtwofull-time mathematics
facultymemberstoinvestigatethesechallenges. Thisreportsummarizesthe
processand the findings, including best practices. The mainconclusion is
that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer. Every student’s needs must be
addressedindividually; however, there aresome commonpracticesthat can
helptosupporta wide rangeofstudents. Thisisnot surprising considering
thediversestudent populationthatPCCencompasses.
Contents
1 Acknowledgments
1
2 Background of the project
2
3 Project process andprogress
3
4 General best practices
7
5 Specific best practices
9
6 Recommendations
12
References
13
A Converting content
14
B Anticipated questions
17
1 Acknowledgments
We would like to thank the administrators that provided financial support for
this project: Sue Quast, Loraine Schmitt, Andy Freed, Irene Giustini, and Dan
Findley. We would also like to thank the director of Disability Services, Kaela
Parks,forhersupportandthemanyenlighteningdiscussionsthatshelead. Thank
you toSupada Amornchat and MelanyBudiman fortheir technical support.
We gained invaluable insight from our time with Maurice Mines– thank you for
the manyexperimentsthat you helped us with and all ofthediscussions thatwe
had. Wewould alsolike to thankWinslowParker–welearned agreat deal from
1
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2
2 BACKGROUNDOF THE PROJECT
youandhaveafarbetterunderstandingofmanyoftheaspectsoflifethatablind
persondeals with on aday-to-day basis.
Finally, we would like to thank Karen Sorensen for her continued support, en-
couragement, and positive attitude. Karen kept us on track, kept our spirits up
whenwehit roadblocks, andmadetheprojectfun andinterestingfromthestart.
2 Background of the project
The beginning
At thestartofFall Term 2011, theMathematicsSubject AreaCommittee(Math
SAC)wasmadeawareofthecollege’sinitiativeofaccessibilityinitsonlinecourses.
Mathematicsfacultymembersquicklyrealizedthatoursubjectmatter presented
unique complications not faced by other disciplines. While properly formatting
documentsfollowingthecollege’sguidelines [15] wouldhelp intheaccessibilityof
the documents faculty create, it would not assist mathematics faculty members
with thesymbolicandgraphicalnature ofour discipline.
Fall 2011
At the first SAC meeting of the 2011-12 academic year, the Math SAC formed
the Mathematics Accessibility Committee. Focused on distance learning (DL)
classes, this committeecreated several sample documents thatcontained various
examplesofmathematicalcontentandinvestigatedhoweach would beconverted
toa webpage and accessed using JAWS for Windows, ascreen reading program
for the PC. Based on those experiments and the beginning research into other
areas the Mathematics Accessibility Committee would need to consider – such
as Braille and Nemeth Braille Code, DAISY readers, Desire2Learn (D2L – our
current learning management system), LAT
E
X, Microsoft Word, and publisher-
created online content – the committee quickly realized that the scope of this
project would require more time than any faculty member could dedicate while
alsomaintainingafull teaching load.
May 2012
Thiscommittee’sopinionthatreleasetimewouldbenecessarytotrulyinvestigate
thistopicwasfurther confirmed atapresentation byHarisGunadi (representing
OSU at thetime, now at PCC). The presentation focused on the different tools
used tocreate mathematical content and theaccessibility oftheiroutput.
Release time
The Mathematics Accessibility Committee determined that it would require re-
lease time from classroom obligations for two mathematics faculty members to
investigatethetopicofaccessiblemathematicalcontentin detail. Thecommittee
requested thereleasetimefortwofacultymembersgiven thescopeoftheproject
and the various ways members of the Math SAC produce classroom materials.
By balancingthebackgroundsof the twofacultymembers,thecommittee would
be abletobringagreater depth ofexperienceand knowledgeto the project.
August 2012
Inmid-August2012,theMathematicsAccessibilityCommitteewasinformedthat
release time had been granted for one faculty member to have release from one
class for two terms. While this was a positive step, the committee felt that
theproject would proceed betterhavingtwo faculty membershavingaone-class
release for one term. Again, the committee felt that the benefit of two people
with complementary backgrounds working together was a necessary component
toinvestigate this topicas fully as possible. Happily, the recommended revision
totheproject(aone-class release fortwopeoplefor one term)was approved by
thevarious deansand directorsprovidingthefinancial support to the work.
Fall 2012
Afew weeks prior to the start of Fall Term 2012, Chris Hughes, Scot Leavitt,
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3 PROJECTPROCESSAND PROGRESS
3
Andy Freed, and Karen Sorensen met to plan the goals and general direction of
the project.
3 Project process and progress
For the following section, “we” will refer to Chris Hughes and Scot Leavitt, as
this section isanarrativeofour workfrom Fall Term 2012.
WemeteveryTuesdayandThursday,oftenaccompanied byKarenandAndy. As
the narrative that follows will show, we balanced our time between researching
options,contactingthevariouscompaniesthatproduceproductsthatweuse,and
testingpotential options for our SAC membertouse.
Input from SAC
We realized that before diving into what does and doesn’t work from the per-
spectiveof accessibility,we needed tofind out whatSACmemberswereusingto
createanddeliverthecontentused in theircourses. Beforethestart oftheterm,
weconducted aSurveyMonkey surveyoftheSACasking:
ifan instructors classesare face-to-face, online, or both;
whatprograms areused tocreatecontent for mathematics classes;
howthecontent isdelivered;
whatnon-text itemsare used;
hownon-textitemsare created;
whattype ofcomputer thismaterial iscreated on;
whattextbookpublishercontentis used;
howonline tests/quizzes aretaken;
howhomeworkfor onlineclasses issubmitted.
Thisinformationgaveusastartingpointforthecomputerapplicationsandonline
systems thatwewould need to investigatefrom theperspectiveofaccessibility.
JAWS
Based on theinitial DL-focusedworkdonein theprioracademicyear,westarted
theprojectfromtheperspectivethatJAWS[6]wastheidealformatfordelivering
accessible content for our classes. Our understanding at the time was: “If we
can get the document into a webpage that uses MathML for all mathematical
content, then we’re set.” Based on this understanding, we started by focusing
our attention on making sure the documents and equations we create could be
converted towebpages containingMathML.
MathML
MathML stands for ‘Math Markup Language’ (which parallels html standing
for ‘Hypertext Markup Language’) and was first developed by the W3C (World
WideWeb Consortium)in 1998. Typically, auserdoes notcreateMathMLfrom
source, butinsteadusesaconversionprocesstogetMathML.Theconversionpro-
cess varies depending on the software used to create the mathematical content.
MathMLhashugeadvantagesfromtheaccessibilityperspective, asitcanberead
‘mathematically’ by JAWS as long as the page is rendered in IE 5.5 through 8
withtheMathPlayerpluginfromDesignScience[10](atthetimeofthisreport).
Survey
We started by looking at the most common ways math faculty members create
content for their courses (Microsoft Word + MathType, Microsoft Word + Mi-
crosoft’s nativeequation editor, L
A
T
E
X, and LibreOffice/OpenOffice)and how we
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4
3 PROJECTPROCESSAND PROGRESS
could export those documents to webpages containing MathML. Depending on
themethod ofcreation, the particular content, and the computer-typeused, the
process varied from ‘perfect’ toimpossible.
MS Word
When converting aMicrosoft Word document toa webpage that uses MathML,
we must have Design Science’s MathType [11] installed on our computer. It
is actually MathType, not Word, that does all the work. Whether we create
aWord document and use MathType or Microsoft’s native equation editor, we
must still rely upon MathType tocreate theMathML webpage. Unfortunately,
not all versions of Microsoft Word and MathType can perform this conversion.
WeelaborateonthismoreinourSpecificGuidelinessectionandintheAppendix.
LAT
E
X
When converting a LAT
E
Xdocument to a webpage that uses MathML, certain
packages need to be installed. When we have these packages loaded, the con-
version process generally works smoothly. Equations are cleanly converted into
MathMLandthewebpagesarereadfairlywellbyJAWS.Thisconversionprocess
isexplainedin theappendixofthisarticle.
LibreOffice
UsingLibreOffice’sbuilt-inequationeditingcapabilities,LibreOffice
1
word-processed
documentsconvertwelltowebpagesthatcontainMathML.LibreOfficecandothis
conversion without anyadditional plugins or software.
Powerpoint
AfterfindinghowWord,LAT
E
X,andLibreOfficefaired,weturnedoutattentionto
Microsoft PowerPoint. Whilewe can embed MathType equations in PowerPoint
slides, there is no way to convert the entire slide or slide show into a webpage
with MathML. Any attempt resulted with each slide being converted into an
image and all content (mathematical or not) simply became part of the image.
Therewere some suggestions of away toconvert from Powerpoint toWord, but
further investigation foundthat thereisnouseful waytodosoatthistime. The
Word document we obtain from the process has an editable PowerPointslide on
eachpage,butonceweconverttheWorddocumenttoawebpage,theentireslide
isagain converted toan image.
Scientific Notebook
Scientific Notebook, an application that noone in the Math SAC currently uses,
was recommended to us. Scientific Notebook is a PC application that allows a
user to create documents containing text, mathematical content, and graphics.
Specifically,KaelaParks(thedirectorofDisabilityServicesatPCC[16])has had
tremendous success using this softwareas anote-takingdevice in the classroom.
Scientific Notebooksaves the source as a.tex file, which can easily be converted
intoseveral differentelectronicaccessibleformats.
TestGen
Some faculty use Pearson’s TestGen to create their tests. TestGen is a test-
generating program that, when combined with the test bank for a particular
Pearson textbook, can be used tocreateassessmentsin both print and an online
environment. Theoutputfilefrom TestGensavesall mathematicalcontent(frac-
tions,expressions, equations)asimages withoutalttext. Sincethemathematical
content issaved as images, JAWS cannotinterpret them. Wecontacted Pearson
about this, inquiring if they were working on a way to make the output from
TestGen intosomethingthatuses MathML. The responsewas:
ThereisnotawaytoexportaTestGenTesttoascreen-reader-accessible
format andthe MyMathLab website will only take TestGen .tst files
1
Some may confuseLibreOffice with OpenOffice; see theappendix for some details of the
history
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3 PROJECTPROCESSAND PROGRESS
5
MathJax
Related to our investigation of MathML, we learned about MathJax. Quoting
from [9]
MathJax is an open source JavaScript display engine for mathematics
that works in all modern browsers.
In other words, MathJax makes mathematical content appear correctly in any
modern web browser on any computer, whether the content is stored on the
webpageasMathML orLAT
E
X.
BeforetheadventofMathJax, therewasvastinconsistencyinabrowser’sability
torenderMathML correctly (if atall). MathJaxprovidesaclean waytoprovide
uniform renderingacrossall modernbrowsers[9]: ‘Nomoresetupforreaders. No
morebrowser plugins. Nomorefont installation... Itjustworks.’
Two directions
At this point, our project began to split into two directions. One direction was
focusingononlinecoursesandthevariousonlinesystemsthatmathematicsfaculty
members at PCC use. The other direction came about when we met Maurice
Mines.
Web-based systems
While PCC’s current learning management system is D2L, many faculty mem-
bers makesubstantial useofPearson’sMyMathLab(MML), whileothersusethe
MAA’sWeBWorK.
Desire2Learn
D2LhasreceivedtheGoldLevelNFB-NVACertificationfromtheNationalFeder-
ationoftheBlind(NFB)[5]. Twooftheoptional interfaces(MathMLandLAT
E
X)
of the equation editor tool in D2L (version 10) are JAWS friendly. The third
(thegraphicaleditor)is not. Butnomatterwhich editorastudent orinstructor
uses tocreatean equation in D2L, thecode obtained from the equation editoris
MathML. This means that JAWS can read thediscussion postings, e-mails, etc.
thathave equations embedded in them.
Pearson
The Math SAC currently subscribes to Pearson for the majority of its courses:
MTH 60, 65,70,95,111, 112, 243,and 244. AllMTHcoursesthataretaughton-
linecurrentlyuseaPearsontextbook,exceptforMTH20. Assuch,whenconsid-
eringonlinepublisher-based contentwedecidedtofocus exclusivelyon Pearson’s
MyMathLab.
MyMathLab
We explored MML by creating a sample course and experimented with the ac-
cessible nature of optional content for the course. We asked for, and eventually
obtained, a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) for MML. While
wehaveobtained theVPATforMML,itisnotincludedinthisarticleaswewere
told by Pearson that
this (VPAT)isprovidedsolelyfortheirevaluation ofPearson’sproducts
and not to be distributed outside the organization.
TheVPATconfirmedwhatwehadbeenabletolearnonourown: Pearsonistrying
to make more MML content accessible, but there are some definite limitations.
Asof this writing, Pearson clearlystates [12],
MyMathLabsupportsaccesstoselectedsingleandmultipleanswermultiple-
choice and free response questions with the JAWS 12 (only) screen
reader.
On 13 December 2012 we, along with several other invested staff members at
PCC, took part in a phone conference with a senior product manager and an
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6
3 PROJECTPROCESSAND PROGRESS
accessibility representative from Pearson. The conversation proved to be very
encouraging. Besides gettingthehistoryofhow Pearson ended up with somuch
Flash content, theyexplained whatPearson isdoingtomoveaway from aFlash-
based deliverysystemin favorofaMathMLwith MathJaximplementation. This
move would have big implications in terms of the accessibility of their content.
Theydohaveatime-linetorolloutanewversion ofMML thatwill makeuseof
the non-flash-based content, but the soonest we expect to have it commercially
available is12 months from now.
However,theoptimismcreatedbythemeetingisonlyapplicabletonewly-developed
books atPearson. The onlinecontentand question libraries forestablished text-
books,whichtheyrefertoas‘legacy’ textbooks,willberetrofittedwhenpossible.
FormorespecificrecommendationsaboutMML,pleaseseetheSpecificGuidelines
and Recommendation sectionsbelow.
VPAT
AVPAT is a company’s own assessment of how their product conforms to U.S.
Federal Accessibility Standards(defined bySection 508[17, 18]).
If a school or department is looking into using any online resources, be sure to
askfor the VPATfor the online resource. A VPAT givesaschool or department
a starting point from which to assess the accessibility of those resources. We
alsoencourage the school or department toexperiment with the product, as the
VPATtends tobean overall assessmentoftheproductandmightnotlistall the
particular pieces of the productthat the school ordepartmentwillbeusing.
WeBWorK
WeBWorK is an open-source homework system supported by the MAA and the
NSF. Several PCC mathematics faculty members use WeBWorK for both their
online and on-campus courses. Because WeBWorK is open-source and can be
installed locally, itgives several advantagestoother online systems:
Each college can either use problems from the National Public Library or
create its own librariestofittheparticular college’sneeds.
Using the most current version allows for the implementation of MathJax,
whichinturnsmakesallsymbolicmathematicalcontentaccessibleforJAWS.
Maurice Mines
About four weeks into our project, we were introduced to Maurice Mines and
this was a definite turning point in the project. Maurice was referred to us by
Kaela Parks because he has a strong educational and technical background, is
blind, and Kaela knew the benefit our project would receive from including the
experience of an end user. During the five sessions we had with Maurice, we
were able to ‘test-drive’ all of the ideas and sample files that we believed to
be accessible. Additionally, Maurice was able to give us both a personal and a
historical perspectiveon our project.
Itbecamesoobvioustous(ChrisandScot)oncewestartedworkingwithMaurice
that JAWS was not the solution to our entire project. Instead, the rule of four
(discussed in detail on page7) becomes much more important, especially in an
accessibility context. Depending on the individual student, the accommodation
needed might involve JAWS, printed Braille, a.brf filefor an refreshable Braille
device, printed tactile graphs, or something else entirely. Maurice was also able
toexplain the difference between Grade 1, Grade 2 [3], and Nemeth Braille[13]
and then demonstrate the difference between them.
Winslow Parker
We were introduced to Winslow Parker, retired lead technical specialist for the
4 GENERALBESTPRACTICES
7
OregonCommissionfortheBlind(OCB)[14],viaSonyaRedmond,amathematics
faculty member at PCC. We had two incredibly enlightening discussions with
Winslow (one phone, and one face-to-face). He told us that the OCB is a state
agency that receives 90% of its funding from the federal government and 10%
fromthestate. Itsmainfocusistohelppeoplewhoareblindreceivejobtraining,
and toget them into the workforce.
Visually impaired
Thereareclearlymanydifferenttypesofaccommodationsthatwe,asfaculty,may
berequiredtomake. Someaccommodationswillcertainlybeeasiertoimplement
than others. Our research and meetings with Maurice and Winslow lead us to
focus mostofoureffortson tryingtoaccommodatestudentswhoareblind orvi-
suallyimpaired; inwhatfollowswewillthereforemostlydiscussaccommodations
from thisperspective.
Disclaimer
The findings described in this report are based on many experiments, hours of
reading, and meetings with experts on accommodations. At timeof writing, we
believe the results to be accurate; as software programs evolve over time the
specific findings may become obsolete, but the general principles remain valid.
Any inaccuracies areour own.
4 General best practices
Rule of four
The rule of four is one of the most useful guiding principles both in teaching,
and from the perspective of accessibility. Explicitly, when a concept or idea is
introduced and discussed, wetrytodosoin fourdifferent ways:
algebraically
numerically
verbally
graphically
Depending on the student that we are working with, and the particular accom-
modations that the student has, oneormoreofthese different descriptions may
beharder for thestudent toaccess than the others.
For example, if we are accommodating a student that is hearing impaired then
the verbal description will need to be accommodated. This can be achieved in a
number of different ways which include: usinga sign language interpreter; cap-
tioningvideosand other audiocontent. A student whois visuallyimpaired may
havemoredifficultyaccessingeach ofthedifferentdescriptionsexceptthe verbal.
One size?
Accommodations will vary from student tostudent, and thereis nota ‘one-size-
fits-all’ solution. This parallels the reality of working with a diverse student
population,eventhosethatdonotneedanyaccommodations; everyoneisunique
and needs tobe treated as an individual. This is the main accommodation that
wecan make.
Equally effective
Theruleoffourisaparticularlyusefulreferencebecause,asinstructors,wealways
hope that we are able to use each one with an equivalent level of effectiveness.
Oneofthemost importantprinciples ofaccessibilityis toprovide
an equally effective learning experience.
Inparticular,whenconstructingalectureoranactivity,wemustbesuretocreate
8
4 GENERALBESTPRACTICES
equally effective activities that provide a similar level of learning out-
comes.
Note that this applies to every single class, whether it contains a student that
has an accommodation or not. In the current era of technology we are often
tempted to have our lectures and activities explode with animations, slide-show
presentations, interactive applets, etc. If the purpose behind the mediahas not
been well-thoughtout, then it certainly risksbeingloston thestudents.
One of the many advantages to creating content that is equally effective, is that
wenaturally reflectand thinkabout howvaluabletheactivity actually is: dowe
needthisinteractiveapplet? doesthisanimationbenefitthestudent,orisitmore
distracting? what do Iwant the student to get from this activity- is it just fun,
or istherea learningobjectivebehind it?
Universal Design
The RuleofFour isclosely aligned with Universal Design [21] which is
a way to describe the concept of designing all products and the built
environmenttobeaestheticandusable tothegreatest extentpossible by
everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life.
Accessible formats
Throughoutthisreportwedescribe‘accessible’formats. Therearemanydifferent
typesofaccessibleformats;for example:
for the JAWS screen reader, the most accessible format is a webpage that
contains MathML, opened in IE 5.5-8 with Design Science’s MathPlayer
plugin;
forarefreshableBrailledevice, themost accessibleformat isa.brffile;
forsome students,a papercopythat simplyhasenlarged fontmay suffice.
Thecommonlinkbetweentheseandalloftheotheraccessiblefileformatisthatif
DisabilityServicesistocreateoneoftheseaccessibleformats, thesourcefilemust
be available to Disability Services if they are to be able to create these accessible
formats for the student. This means that we must always keep our .docx, .tex,
.odt, etcfiles readilyavailableand D2L users shouldhaveasinglefolderinwhich
thesourcesfilesare saved in theircourseshell.
It should be noted that conforming to document formatting standards (such as
using style-based headings, for example) will assist in producing accessible for-
mats, but there may be unforeseeable issues that arise. Maintaining up-to-date
versions of sourcefilesis still avital best practice.
Inaccessible formats
Basedon ourexperimentswiththeJAWS screenreaderand onourconversations
with Disability Services, we have generally found the following file types to be
inaccessible.
pdf files with Mathematicalcontent;
Flash applets;
Javaapplets;
Bysayingthesefilestypesareinaccessible,wemeanoneormoreofthefollowing:
JAWScannotaccessany contentof the file,
Disability Servicescannot makemakeuseof the anypart ofthethefile,
5 SPECIFICBESTPRACTICES
9
the mathematical content in the fileis inaccessibletoJAWS, or
the mathematical content in the file is in aformat that is unusable toDis-
ability Services and it would need to be recreated manually in order for
Disability Servicestomakean accommodation for astudent.
Important
PCC ensures equal access through the complementary approaches of proactive
alignmentwithbestpracticesandgoodfacilitationoftheaccommodationprocess.
We should design courses ‘from the ground up’ to be as universally accessible
as possible. More explicitly, almost all of the content should be screen-reader
accessible,keyboardnavigable,andnotrelyexclusivelyonimagesandothermedia
that are not accessible to all. We will then be well prepared to accommodate
students without much additional effort.
Evenifwehaveaclassthatdoesnothaveastudentwhorequiresaccommodating,
weshouldstillnotuseinaccessibletools unlessan equallyeffectiveandaccessible
tool is alsoavailable.
5 Specific best practices
Creating content
There aremanydifferent ways thatwe,asMath faculty, createour content. The
waythat weaccommodate eachstudent is, of course, goingtovaryfrom student
tostudent. Somestudents may prefertouse.brffileson their refreshableBraille
devices, others may prefer Braille-embossed paper, others will prefer a webpage
thatJAWS can read, and somemay prefer anycombination ofall oftheabove.
One of the most important facts to remember is that we, as faculty,
are notexpectedtoperform theconversion tothese (and other) outputs
ourselves.
DisabilityServices will behappy towork withus in theproduction ofsuch alter-
nativemedia,buttherearecertainstepsthatwecantaketoassistthemwith the
process.
Aswe discuss the followingideas and outlines, rememberthat everystudent has
differentneeds. The followingservesas aguidetobestpractices, but should not
bethought of asgolden rulesthat will always work.
Stand alone
We will use thefollowing legend tohelp us in discussingspecific software, but it
isimportanttonotethatwewillnotrelyonthislegendexclusivelyasthatwould
not beuniversally accessible. Rather, wewill useit asan equally effectivevisual
aid:
greencheckmarks(X) representcontent formats thatwill stand alonefrom
an accessibility perspectiveand arerecommended;
orange circles() representcontent formats that might stand alone from an
accessibility perspective and caution should be exercised;
red crosses (×)representcontent formats thatwill not standalonefrom an
accessibility perspective and arenot recommended.
Arecommended item means that we may consider using the given format in a
stand-alone, accessiblefashion. Anitem thatis notrecommended meansthatwe
mayusethe given format, but there must be an equallyeffectivetool or activity
toaccompany it- in thissense, the givenformat does not stand alone.
10
5 SPECIFICBESTPRACTICES
For example, during a discussion or demonstration, it is not appropriate for us
to use a GeoGebra (Java-based) applet exclusively. However, it is acceptable
todirect students toaGeoGebraapplet provided thatthereare equally effective
alternative toolsthatstudentsmaychoosetouseinstead. Inthissense,GeoGebra
isnotrecommended asastand-alonetool.
MSWord
Recommended if used in conjunction with MathType. When using Microsoft
Wordtoproducedocuments, theestablishedprotocols forstructuringdocuments
must be followed, including using headings, formatted lists, etc. Please see [15]
foradditional information on properly structuringdocuments. Toincludemath-
ematical content, use Design Science’s MathType and not the native equation
editor whichusesMicrosoft’s OfficeMath Mark-up Language (OMML).
MathTypeX
Recommended. MathType [11] is an equation editor created by Design Science
thatis compatiblewith manyword processingand desktop publishingprograms.
Disability Services is able to convert a Word document containing MathType
mathematical content to an accessible electronic format. PCC has purchased
campus licenses for each campus, so all staff members and students can install
acopy of MathType on their home and work computers. This way there is no
financial burden onany staffor student to use this option.
Microsoft OMML×
Not Recommended. Microsoft has a native equation editor in the following ver-
sions ofWord: Word 2007(PC), Word 2010(PC), and Word 2011(Mac).
Disability Services is not able to convert a Word document containing mathe-
matical content created with Microsoft’s native equation editor to an accessible
electronic format. Mathematical content created using Microsoft’s native equa-
tion editor will be converted into images without alttags when DS tries tocon-
vert a document into an accessible electronic format. Since PCC has licenses
for MathType, we recommend the use MathType instead of Microsoft’s native
equation editor.
Sometimes MathType can convert equationsmadewith Microsoft’s native equa-
tion editor into MathType equation, but this does not work perfectly all of the
time. Using Microsoft’s native equation editor runs the risk of having to retype
themathematical content usingMathType so thatDS can use thefile.
LAT
E
XX
Recommended. LAT
E
Xis a mark-up language; converting LAT
E
Xdocuments into
an accessibleformat isusually straightforward astheaccessibleformats arealso
mark-uplanguages.
However, not all packages will work nicely with the conversion process. Given
that there are over three thousand constantly-evolving packages on ctan (Com-
prehensiveT
E
XArchiveNetwork),itwouldbeveryhard togiveacomprehensive
list of the packages that do and donot work. We have detailed some results in
theappendix, but be prepared tomake adjustments todocuments as and when
theneed arises.
LibreOfficeX
Recommended. LibreOffice (with its native equation editor) converts easily to
an accessible format. DS has less experience of working with LibreOffice and
MathType. Additionally,LibreOfficeandMathTypearenotcurrentlycompatible
on theMacOS.
Scientific NotebookX
Whilewehighlyrecommend ScientificNotebookfromtheperspectiveofcreating
accessible documents, we do not recommend that people change their currently
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