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    The Premier AT Conference

37th Annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference Has Concluded

Security + A11y = Streamlined Higher Ed Vendor Assessments

Date & Time
Wednesday, March 16, 2022 - 3:20 PM PST  
Grand ABCD  

One of the most commonly cited areas of need for higher education accessibility professionals is the vetting of third party tools and services used on campuses. With hundreds or thousands of purchasers and the ability for faculty to integrate nearly any technology into their courses, the problem is often overwhelming to resources, constrained professionals and offices working for accessibility. In 2021, the EDUCAUSE IT Accessibility Community Group, comprised of hundreds of higher education digital accessibility practitioners, formed a working group to tackle the problem. The working group, representing 15 Universities in the United States, synthesized best practices in purchasing accessible technologies and the questions most commonly asked of vendors to make such assessments.

The HECVAT (Higher Education Community Vendor Assessment Toolkit) was established in 2016 and is used by more than 100 Universities at present to help vet purchased technologies for meeting IT Security and Privacy requirements that have been adopted by the community, some legally required, similar to those for accessibility. Because the tool is required by hundreds of institutions, many vendors thoroughly complete a HECVAT one time on an annual basis and then are able to provide it to any higher ed institution who might be looking to purchase its product or services.

The IT Accessibility and HECVAT community leaders combined their testing rubrics into the HECVAT in fall 2021. The resulting framework will instantly have hundreds of Universities asking the same rigorous accessibility questions of vendors as part of purchasing decisions for the first time leveraging the scale of the sector. The twelve questions assess vendors in three areas: (1) the accessibility of the product itself according to technical standards (2) organizational maturity for accessibility of the product’s creator and (3) how the product provides supporting documentation and general user experience as part of accessibility.

This Presentation Link is provided by the Presenter(s) and not hosted by the Center on Disabilities at CSUN. The Center on Disabilities has confirmed, as of March 16, 2022, content linked is relevant to the presentation, but has not been reviewed for accessibility nor will the Center on Disabilities attempt to remediate any accessibility issues in the linked content. Please contact the Presenter(s) with any accessibility concerns.

  • Higher Education
  • K-12 Education
  • Legal
  • Sales
  • Administration & Business Support
Audience Level
Session Summary (Abstract)
Higher education accessibility experts from 15 universities synthesized procurement best practices into a curated list of vendor questions. They were incorporated into the HECVAT, a widely-used IT Security assessment toolkit for third-party platforms, addressing a consistent organizational accessibility challenge. Learn about the questions, scoring and how to use the toolkit.  
Session Type
General Track  
  • Digital Accessibility
  • Education
  • Evaluation & Remediation
  • Law, Compliance, and Policy
  • Leadership & Strategy


  • Kyle Shachmut
    Harvard University

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