The 508 Universe serves as a central hub for GSA's section 508 training and information resources. In it you can access each of the topic- specific courses that address 508 implementation as well as explore Web links and a glossary of 508-related terms. When you first visit the site, you will be asked to set up a username and password. No additional information is required in the registration process; you are not asked for any identifying or personal data. The username is used to track where you are in the courses so that should you choose to leave a course before finishing it, you can choose to "resume" when you next enter the Universe. This eliminates any possible security risk of using cookies, and no files are written to your computer.
If this is your first time visiting our training area, you will need to REGISTER to enter the 508 Universe and access the available courses listed below.
If you have previously registered for the 508 Universe training, you will not need to do so again. Simply enter your assigned username and password in the "User Login" area on the right, and select 508 Universe to enter the Section 508 Universe. Please review the 508 User Help Guidance for additional information regarding the Universe. Section 508 Universe User Guidance
Designing Accessible Websites Are you a webmaster in charge of developing or revising your agency's web site? Or, are you a manager who oversees the web development efforts of your agency? Either way, you need to know how the Access Board's standards for section 508 affect your site. Find out what accessibility is all about, what the standards are, and how to design for 508 compliance by exploring the Web based course "Designing Accessible Websites".
Accessible Conferences Have you been tasked with planning a conference that is accessible to everyone? This course will help you plan and/or host accessible meetings, conferences, etc. The guidelines provide you with what you need to know to comply with Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. If you follow these guidelines, you will be showing "good faith effort" and will also be creating opportunities for full participation by all attendees. This course does not focus on how to select a date or location, match the meeting to the facility, select lodging, write contracts, identify food/menu issues, and prepare a budget.
Buying Accessible E&IT (Requiring Officials and Contracting Officers) If you are tasked with initiating an action to develop, maintain, purchase, or use Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) products or services, you're probably wondering how the requirements for accessibility affect you. Whether you are a Requiring Official, IT Manager, Procurement Official, Contracting Officer, Project Manager, or Acquisitions personnel, explore the web-based course to learn about the section 508 standards and how the changes in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) impact how you develop requirements for EIT procurements. You'll also find helpful information on how to incorporate accessibility into your requirements life cycle and determine whether products you purchase meet the standard.
Section 508 Coordinators The Section 508 Coordinator's role is critical to implementing section 508. This course will help you organize your agency Accessibility Team and understand your role in implementing and evaluating section 508. It will also provide an overview of the roles and responsibilities of individuals and groups within the government who oversee and ensure section 508 compliance.
Additional Accessibility & Usability Concerns The courses presented in the Section 508 Universe offer solutions for removing access barriers to electronic information and technology. These courses cover information ranging from website design to conference planning to procurement. The Additional Accessibility Considerations course was prepared to address a number of accessibility issues that are not currently addressed in the other courses. Specifically, this course highlights recommended design guidelines as you:
Oversee the development of accessible electronic forms
Write email messages
Whether someone is trying to complete a benefits form or answer an email, everyone should have the same opportunity to access electronic information.
Accessible Video and Multimedia Video and multimedia products can greatly enhance training and other programs in your agency. However, without the ability to hear what is being spoken, or to hear dialogue without the necessary visual context, these products can be confusing or useless to people with disabilities. Learn how to create and evaluate video and multimedia products that are accessible to all audiences. Specifically, you'll discover the elements and steps for adding audio descriptions and captioning to any product.
Building and Buying Accessible Software This course is designed for anyone involved in the purchase or procurement of software for their agency. You'll learn the "back end" to designing software applications including how assistive technology, software, and operating systems interact, general design techniques for ensuring an application is accessible, and tips for testing the conformance of a product to the section 508 standards. This course does not teach or focus on a particular programming language. However, to see an example of how to implement the techniques, you can download a tutorial that creates a simple, conformant application using Visual Basic.
Buying Accessible Computers This course is designed for anyone involved in the purchase or procurement of desktop and portable computers for their agency. You'll learn about the technical requirements that computers must meet in order to conform to section 508. This course does not teach the procurement process but rather focuses on the physical aspects of computers, such as mechanically operated, touch and biometric controls and connectors. However, you may access the Buying Accessible E & IT course to learn more about the procurement process.
Opening Closed Products This course is designed for anyone involved in the purchase or procurement of self contained, closed products. You will learn about the technical requirements that self contained, closed products must meet in order to conform to section 508. In addition, you will learn about some new innovative technologies manufacturers are using to make these products user-friendlier for individuals with disabilities. This course does not address specifically the procurement process however, you may access the Buying Accessible E & IT course to learn more about it.
Micro-purchases and Section 508 This course is designed for anyone involved in making purchase card micro-purchases. You'll gain an overview of the requirements of section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and how they apply to micro-purchases. Upon completion you will be able to: Explain the requirements of section 508 and how they apply to micro-purchases, describe the responsibilities of Requiring Officials and Approving Officials in relation to micro-purchases, determine if a micro-purchase is Electronic and Information Technology (E & IT), Review the Access Board standards and determine which apply to your micro-purchase, and determine how to select products that meet the section 508 standards. Note that this lesson is an addition to, and in no way supersedes, any micro-purchase training you may have received previously.
IRS Course on Software Development The IRS presents a course on Section508 for Software Development. This course provides important information on the vital role played in the development of software that conforms to Section 508.
The Section 508 Awareness CD is now available online. This CD contains general section 508 information for all employees, as well as a self-test and copies of the statute, accessibility standards, and relevant sections of the FAR.
"Acquiring Technology: What Every Federal Employee Needs to Know About Section 508" is currently being revised. You may still use the information provided below to do training. When the revised course material is available, it will replace the version here (February 2005).
The course will still be offered to local Federal Government Agencies (Washington, DC and surrounding metro areas) and to Federal Government Agency field/regional offices (with a minimum of 30 students per class). More information is available by contracting Helen Chamberlain at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Acquiring Technology: What Every Federal Employee Needs to Know" Training Material and Instructor Guide
The Acquiring Technology training is a 3.5 hour course that provides and overview of the Requiring Official's role in the acquisition planning and preparation as it relates to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
The following link provides the training material that you will need to conduct this course within your organization including an Instructor Guide. The material may be printed and tailored to your organizational environment.