FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: 
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Category: 
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

Desire2Learn Attains National Federation of the Blind Nonvisual Accessibility Gold Level Web Certification

Baltimore, Maryland/ Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario/Anaheim, California (October 12, 2010): The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), one of the world’s leading advocates for Internet access by blind Americans, and Desire2Learn Incorporated (Desire2Learn), a leading provider of mission-critical enterprise eLearning solutions, announced today that Desire2Learn has been awarded the Gold Level NFB-NVA Certification for Desire2Learn® Learning Suite 9.1.

Working with members of the technology community, the NFB has developed a rigorous evaluation and testing procedure by which Web sites and applications that have made special efforts to be accessible to the blind can be identified and recognized.  Nonvisual accessibility (NVA) certification, as defined in this process, means that screen access software can obtain sufficient information from the Web application to enable the blind user to:

  • Access information in narratives, databases, forms, charts, maps, and essential information conveyed via graphical presentations without visual assistance.
  • Complete transactions that have been identified as primary to the application such as, but not limited to: buying merchandise, completing forms, registering for activities, downloading information, communicating with others, and participating in online educational programs.

Once the site or application has addressed all accessibility issues, it is granted the right to display an NFB-NVA certification seal on its site.  Sites are continuously monitored to ensure that they remain compliant with certification criteria.  If a site remains accessible, its certification is renewed on an annual or a version basis.  Further information on the NFB-NVA certification process can be found at www.nfb.org.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “The National Federation of the Blind commends Desire2Learn for ensuring equal access to its platform and demonstrating a tangible commitment to equal education for everyone.   If blind students are to succeed in the modern education system, they must have access to the same technology that is used by their sighted peers.  Desire2Learn incorporates that assurance in its platform.”

With this certification, institutions have external verification of the Desire2Learn commitment to accessibility.  Institutions with concern ensuring legal obligations regarding accessibility are addressed within the learning management system (LMS), can also reference this certification.

“We commend Desire2Learn for the extraordinary progress made in ensuring the accessibility of its eLearning management application,” said Anne Taylor, director of access technology for the NFB.  “We look forward to continuing our collaboration with this forward-thinking company to advance equal access to all aspects of online learning for the more than 100,000 blind students across North America.”

Desire2Learn regularly tests its products with individuals with disabilities.  These sessions aid in understanding and experiencing the problems encountered.  The resulting design solutions are often those that would not have been found through accessibility checkers alone.

“We are thrilled to have been honored with this significant award from the NFB and thank the access technology team for their assistance in helping us obtain this important certification,” said John Baker, President and CEO of Desire2Learn.  “At Desire2Learn we share our clients’ goal of providing equal and inclusive learning opportunities to all individuals.  We work closely with our clients to develop comprehensive solutions that are flexible to the individual needs of institutions, instructors and students.  Accessibility is not a checklist at Desire2Learn; it is a deep, long-standing and ongoing commitment to empower and engage all individuals in their learning goals.”

Compliance and exceptions with state laws and international standards, such as early adoption of ARIA markup, are reported openly so decision makers and content creators have the information they need to work effectively with their instructors and students.

Baker continued: “Desire2Learn is appreciative of all opportunities to learn from and work with such groups as the NFB.  We look forward to continuing to build a strong partnership with the NFB as we collaborate to ensure we persist in our proactive approach to going well beyond minimum standards.  Desire2Learn’s attention to accessibility breaks down barriers to education and improves human potential.  It is an organization-wide mandate to support accessible, inclusive education and is a critical element in all our research and development efforts.  We are committed to ensuring we are the industry leader in this very important field.”

Desire2Learn and NFB are providing a hands-on accessibility presentation at EDUCAUSE on Wednesday, October 13 at 11:30 a.m. PT.  Details of the workshop can be found atwww.desire2learn.com/educause.  Representatives from NFB, along with Desire2Learn accessibility experts, will be available at the Desire2Learn booth (#1525) at EDUCAUSE this week.

Visit www.Desire2Learn.com/Access, call 1.888.772.0325 or e-mail Info@Desire2Learn.com for further information about the ongoing Desire2Learn commitment to address accessibility in all aspects of its products and services.  To learn more about the National Federation of the Blind, please visit www.nfb.org.