What is a VPAT?
The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template or VPAT is a technical document prepared by product vendors that explains the extent to which a product is compliant with accessibility legislation. This template describes in detail what parts of the product meet accessibility standards. The VPAT is a voluntary program and as such, not all products have submitted VPAT documents. Having a VPAT template does not mean the vendor is compliant with accessibility legislation.
Why is this important?
As a diverse and inclusive post-secondary institution, it is critical that education is equitable and accessible for the UMass Boston community, including educational technologies that are used in on-campus, web-enhanced or online courses. UMass Boston’s eLearning & Instructional Support strongly encourages faculty to verify the accessibility level of any educational technology employed in their courses and proactively provide a list of VPATs for educational technology used in their courses. Having a link to VPATs listed in the course will reduce the time necessary to accommodate the user, if the need arises.
Where do I find a VPAT?
Many educational technologies, as part of their product websites, have an accessibility section. Unfortunately, others do not. eLearning & Instructional Support has created a commonly used software list which includes links to accessibility information as well as VPATs that faculty can provide in their courses. The completeness and accuracy of the listed VPAT templates has not been verified. Please contact eLearning & Instructional Support with further questions about the content of these documents. When working with a VPAT, verify that it is up to date and provides an accurate description of the product’s accessibility.
When do I need a VPAT?
It is recommended for each technology used, a vendor VPAT web link, if one exists, be provided in the course syllabus.
Instructors do not need to take any action if using educational technologies that are provided by eLearning & Instructional Support (eLIS). For your convenience, eLearning & Instructional Support has created a web page of vendor VPAT templates for the most commonly used software products at UMass Boston. A link to this page is also available in the “Help & Resources” content area in each Blackboard Learn course.
If you are using an educational technology not provided by eLIS, a URL link to the vendor VPAT in the course syllabus is strongly recommended. eLearning & Instructional Support continues to improve the list of vendor VPAT templates. If you would like to add a vendor/product to the list, please contact eLearning & Instructional Support.