ctcLink Accessibility Update
In 2012, Oracle PeopleSoft enterprise tools (Human Capital Management, Finance and Campus Solutions) were selected as the enterprise suite to replace the community and technical colleges’ 30-plus-year-old administrative system.
At the time of purchase, the chosen vendor indicated PeopleSoft met Section 508 standards with accessibility features (created with PeopleTools) to support the use of assistive technologies, such as screen readers. (Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 directs federal and federally-funded entities to provide access to information and data to people with disabilities comparable to that available to individuals without disabilities.)
Since that time, accessibility best practices and standards have continued to evolve. The Washington state community and technical college system and the state of Washington have implemented additional accessibility policies:
- In March 2016, the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges approved the Accessible Technology Policy for the college system (see SBCTC Resolutions, 2016-03-08, page 3).
- In August 2016, the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) of the State of Washington adopted OCIO Policy #188, establishing Minimum Accessibility Standards. The policy required state agencies (including higher education institutions) to develop plans to comply with the policy.
Oracle’s PeopleSoft software is used by nearly a thousand colleges and universities across the nation, and nearly 26,000 organizations globally, including government organizations, public and private companies.
These customers — just like our college system — rely on this software to be accessible to all their community members, including those who use assistive technologies such as screen readers, voice recognition or dictation programs.
Like any technology, though, Oracle PeopleSoft is not perfect. It has known issues; which Oracle is addressing. Oracle’s Accessibility Program provides an overview of their commitment to accessible technology and their internal development and testing process, as well as a link to a downloadable overview of Oracle's Accessibility Program
ctcLink Accessibility Testing RFP
Despite Oracle’s commitment to creating accessible technologies, there have been concerns about gaps in the product’s accessibility features. Therefore, SBCTC and ctcLink Project team staff have embarked on a plan for an independent vendor to test the ctcLink/PeopleSoft implementation.
Based on input from the ctcLink Project Steering Committee, it was determined a third-party accessibility testing vendor was needed to test ctcLink to better understand the ctcLink/PeopleSoft accessibility challenges.
Jess Thompson, SBCTC Accessible Technology Initiatives Program Administrator, assisted Abraham Rocha, SBCTC Contracts Officer, in developing the Request for Proposals (RFP), which was written to be awarded as a State Master Contract to leverage accessible technology testing beyond PeopleSoft and the ctcLink Project.
Public colleges and universities across the state will be able to use the vendor(s) for accessible technology testing for other solutions locally, not just ctcLink.
Five vendors were selected. Rocha is working with the vendors to finalize the master contract and the statement of work for the ctcLink/PeopleSoft testing.
It is vitally important for PeopleSoft accessibility testing to be done in advance of Deployment Group 2 (DG2) October 2019 Go-Live, so we can understand the volume of accessibility issues with PeopleSoft and put a plan in place to address them.
What will be tested?
- Student self-service (PeopleSoft Campus Solutions)
- Employee self-service (PeopleSoft Human Capital Management and Finance)
- Online Admissions Application
- Continuing Education online registration tool (OSECE)
Planned next steps
- Week of August 1: Four-week accessibility testing cycle to begin
- Early September: Analyze results, prioritize and plan solutions to be part of the DG2 Go or No-Go discussion and decision
Solutions and fixes
As tests are run and SBCTC receives status reports, the in-house ctcLink Project technical team will begin to assess, prioritize and fix issues in parallel with continued testing.
The team will first refer to Oracle’s roadmap for accessibility fixes to determine if and how soon a proposed fix is on an upcoming PeopleSoft release list.
If the ctcLink Project technical team can fix a given issue more quickly than Oracle’s next release, it will do so.
Where to Find ctcLink Documents and Resources
- ctcLink Project Governance
- ctcLink Project Status Reports
- Document and Resource Links for ctcLink & ERP
- ctcLink Deployment Groups
- ctcLink Quality Gates & Milestones
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NOTE: Members of certain community and technical college distribution lists — SBCTC all staff, ctcLink Executive Leadership Committee, ctcLink Steering Committee, ctcLink Working Group, ctcLink Executive Sponsors, PM/OCM, Presidents, PIOs — are on the regular distribution list.