[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 10 (Tuesday, January 15, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 2919-2923]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-00577]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

34 CFR Chapter III


Proposed Priority--National Institute on Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research--Disability and Rehabilitation Research 
Project--Inclusive Cloud and Web Computing

    CFDA Number: 84.133A-01.

AGENCY: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, 
Department of Education.

ACTION: Proposed priority.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services proposes a priority under the Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program administered by 
the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research 
(NIDRR). Specifically, this notice proposes a priority for a Disability 
and Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP) on inclusive Cloud and Web 
computing. The Assistant Secretary may use this priority for 
competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2013 and later years. We take this 
action to focus research attention on areas of national need. We intend 
this priority to contribute to improved employment outcomes for 
individuals with disabilities.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before February 14, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments about this notice to Marlene Spencer, 
U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., room 5133, 
Potomac Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2700.
    If you prefer to send your comments by email, use the following 
address: marlene.spencer@ed.gov. You must include the phrase ``Proposed 
Priority for Inclusive Cloud and Web Computing'' in the subject line of 
your electronic message.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marlene Spencer. Telephone: (202) 245-
7532 or by email: marlene.spencer@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text 
telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-
800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This proposed priority is in concert with 
NIDRR's Long-Range Plan (Plan). The Plan, which was published in the 
Federal Register on February 15, 2006 (71 FR 8165), can be accessed on 
the Internet at the following site: www2.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/other/2006-1/021506d.pdf.
    Through the implementation of the Plan, NIDRR seeks to: (1) Improve 
the quality and utility of disability and rehabilitation research; (2) 
foster an exchange of expertise, information, and training methods to 
facilitate the advancement of knowledge and understanding of the unique 
needs of traditionally underserved populations; (3) determine best 
strategies and programs to improve rehabilitation outcomes for 
underserved populations; (4) identify research gaps; (5) identify 
mechanisms for integrating research and practice; and (6) disseminate 
findings.
    This notice proposes a priority that NIDRR intends to use for a 
DRRP competition in FY 2013 and possibly later years. However, nothing 
precludes NIDRR from publishing additional priorities, if needed. 
Furthermore, NIDRR is under no obligation to make an award using this 
priority. The decision to make an award will be based on the quality of 
applications received and available funding.
    Invitation to Comment: We invite you to submit comments regarding 
this notice. To ensure that your comments have maximum effect in 
developing the

[[Page 2920]]

notice of final priority, we urge you to identify clearly the specific 
topic that each comment addresses.
    We invite you to assist us in complying with the specific 
requirements of Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 and their overall 
requirement of reducing regulatory burden that might result from this 
proposed priority. Please let us know of any further ways we could 
reduce potential costs or increase potential benefits while preserving 
the effective and efficient administration of the program.
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public 
comments about this notice in room 5133, 550 12th Street SW., PCP, 
Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., 
Washington, DC time, Monday through Friday of each week except Federal 
holidays.
    Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities in Reviewing the 
Rulemaking Record: On request we will provide an appropriate 
accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability who 
needs assistance to review the comments or other documents in the 
public rulemaking record for this notice. If you want to schedule an 
appointment for this type of accommodation or auxiliary aid, please 
contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program is to plan and 
conduct research, demonstration projects, training, and related 
activities, including international activities, to develop methods, 
procedures, and rehabilitation technology, that maximize the full 
inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, 
family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency of individuals 
with disabilities, especially individuals with the most severe 
disabilities, and to improve the effectiveness of services authorized 
under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Rehabilitation Act).

Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects

    The purpose of NIDRR's DRRPs, which are funded through the 
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program, 
are to improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the 
Rehabilitation Act, by developing methods, procedures, and 
rehabilitation technologies that advance a wide range of independent 
living and employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities, 
especially individuals with the most severe disabilities. DRRPs carry 
out one or more of the following types of activities, as specified and 
defined in 34 CFR 350.13 through 350.19: research, training, 
demonstration, development, dissemination, utilization, and technical 
assistance.
    An applicant for assistance under this program must demonstrate in 
its application how it will address, in whole or in part, the needs of 
individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds (34 CFR 
350.40(a)). The approaches an applicant may take to meet this 
requirement are found in 34 CFR 350.40(b). Additional information on 
the DRRP program can be found at: www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/res-program.html#DRRP.
    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(a).
    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350.
    Proposed Priority:
    This notice contains one proposed priority.
    DRRP on Inclusive Cloud and Web Computing.
    Background:
    The World Wide Web (Web) has become a fundamental tool for 
employment, education, civic participation, entertainment, and purchase 
of goods and services. However, participation in such activities on the 
Web for people with disabilities lags behind that for the general 
population. For example, Web use often requires broadband access, but 
the National Broadband Plan states that only 42 percent of people with 
disabilities use broadband at home, compared to 65 percent of people 
nationwide (Federal Communications Commission, 2010).
    One reason for this disparity is that the Web infrastructure is not 
set up to address disability access issues seamlessly across all of its 
functions (Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure, n.d.). Additionally, 
software and devices (e.g., computer, smart phone, tablet) used to 
access the Web are often inaccessible for people with disabilities, and 
individuals with disabilities have limited access to technical 
assistance with selecting, setting up, and using appropriate 
technologies. Furthermore, people with disabilities often are required 
to purchase separate accessibility software and assistive devices for 
each device they use to access the Web, which adds to the economic 
burden of Web use by people with disabilities (Lyle, 2010).
    Cloud computing, a technology used to store, access, and process 
information on the Web, has the potential to enhance Web participation 
by people with disabilities by providing an infrastructure that better 
supports accessibility for this population. International efforts are 
underway to develop a cloud-based infrastructure for the Web that 
includes options for disability access within its general structure--a 
change from the current, more inaccessible structure, where individuals 
with disabilities must set up their personal Web-enabled devices (e.g., 
smartphones) to meet their specific needs. The goal of this effort is 
to enable individuals with disabilities to log onto any Web-enabled 
device and have their user profiles and accessibility needs 
automatically recognized and appropriate tools activated, which would 
reduce the need for individuals to set up assistive technologies on 
each Web-enabled device they use. Three international projects 
addressing this need are described at Global Public Inclusive 
Infrastructure (n.d.), Cloud4all (n.d.), and Fluid (n.d.).
    In order to support this effort, NIDRR has identified some (but not 
all) of the research questions that must be answered (see Table 1), 
together with possible computer science approaches to addressing them. 
Answering these and other relevant questions successfully will require 
collaboration between people with disabilities and experts in both 
disability and computer science fields relevant to cloud and Web 
accessibility and structure.

Table 1--Research Questions of Importance in Developing Accessible Cloud
                    and Web Computing Infrastructure
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            Possible computer science
           Research questions                       approaches
------------------------------------------------------------------------
How to make content and interactions     Natural language processing.
 easier to understand for people with
 mental disabilities.
How to make it easier for people with    Authentication technology.
 disabilities to log on to the Web.

[[Page 2921]]

 
How to change the presentation of        Adaptive user interfaces.
 information on Web pages to respond to
 difficulties encountered by people
 with disabilities.
How to manage user profiles and          Federated information
 accessibility options over time, as      management.
 technology evolves.
How to make software more easily         Software architecture.
 modifiable to meet individual needs.
How to improve the ability of software   Automated user interface
 tools to identify accessibility          testing.
 problems in documents.
How to enable people with disabilities   Social computing.
 to share accessibility experiences and
 approaches.
How to incorporate specific              Software design.
 accessibility features (e.g., closed
 captioning, volume control, video
 description, screen reader technology,
 accessible user interfaces) into an
 inclusive Web infrastructure.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sources: Jurafsky and Martin (2008); Cranor (2011); Jameson (2009); Haas
  et al. (2009); Fowler (2004); Li et al. (2007); Erickson (2011);
  Nielsen-Bohlman et al. (2004); Meiselwitz et al. (2009); Hurst et al.
  (2011); GPII (n.d.); Brajnik (2009); National Council on Disability
  (2011); Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility
  Act of 2011, Pub. L. 111-260.

References

Brajnik, G. (2009). Validity and reliability of Web accessibility 
guidelines. In Proceedings of ASSETS '09 ACM SIGACCESS Conference on 
Computers and Accessibility. New York: ACM, 131-138.
Cloud4all (n.d.). Cloud platforms lead to open and universal access 
for people with disabilities and for all. Retrieved from http://cloud4all.info/.
Cranor, L. (Ed.) (2011). SOUPS 2011: Proceedings of the Seventh 
Symposium On Usable Privacy and Security. New York: ACM.
Erickson, T. (2011). Social Computing. In M. Soegaard and R. Dam 
(Eds.). Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction. Aarhus, Denmark: 
The Interaction-Design.org Foundation.
Federal Communications Commission (2010). Connecting America: The 
National Broadband Plan. Washington, DC: Federal Communications 
Commission.
Fluid (n.d.). Designing software that works--for everyone. Retrieved 
from http://fluidproject.org/.
Fowler, M. (2004). Inversion of control containers and the 
dependency injection pattern. Retrieved from http://martinfowler.com/articles/injection.html.
Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (n.d.). About the Global 
Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII). Retrieved from http://gpii.net/About.html.
Haas, L., Hentschel, M., Kossmann, D., and Miller, R. (2009). Schema 
and data: A holistic approach to mapping, resolution and fusion in 
information integration. Conceptual Modeling-ER, 27-40.
Hurst, A., Gajos, K., Findlater, L., Wobbrock, J., Sears, A., and 
Trewin, S. (2011). Dynamic accessibility: Accommodating differences 
in ability and situation. In Proceedings of the 2011 Annual 
Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 
CHI EA '11. New York: ACM, 41-44.
Jameson, A. (2009). Adaptive interfaces and agents. In A. Sears and 
J. Jacko (Eds.). Human-Computer Interaction: Design Issues, 
Solutions, and Applications. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 105-128.
Jurafsky, D., and Martin, J. (2008). Speech and Language Processing. 
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Li, P., Huynh, T., Reformat, M., and Miller, J. (2007). A practical 
approach to testing GUI systems. Empirical Software Engineering, 
12(4) 331-357.
Lyle, E. (2010). A giant leap & a big deal: Delivering on the 
promise of equal access to broadband for people with disabilities. 
OBI Working Paper Series No. 2. Washington, DC: Federal 
Communications Commission.
Meiselwitz, G., Wentz, B., and Lazar, J. (2009). Universal 
usability: Past, present, and future. Foundations and Trends in 
Human-Computer Interaction, 3(4), 213-333.
National Council on Disability (2011). The Power of Digital 
Inclusion: Technology's Impact on Employment and Opportunities for 
People with Disabilities. Washington, DC: National Council on 
Disability.
Nielsen-Bohlman, L., Panzer, A.M., Hamlin, B., and Kindig, D.A. 
(Eds.) (2004). Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion. 
Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 
2011, Public Law 111-260.

    Proposed Priority:
    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services proposes a priority for a Disability and Rehabilitation 
Research Project (DRRP) on Inclusive Cloud and Web computing. The DRRP 
must contribute to the development of an inclusive cloud and Web 
infrastructure that incorporates options for disability access within 
its general structure.
    To contribute to this initiative, the DRRP must--
    (1) Identify, design, prototype, and assess promising methods and 
systems for, and technical approaches to designing, a cloud and Web 
infrastructure that addresses the needs of individuals with 
disabilities. The DRRP must address at least one of the research 
questions outlined in Table 1 above. Applicants may also choose to 
address additional research questions not reflected in Table 1. In that 
case, the application must fully explain how work on the additional 
topic or topics proposed by the applicant will advance disability 
access in cloud and Web infrastructure design.
    (2) Conduct knowledge translation activities (e.g., training, 
technical assistance, dissemination, collaboration) in order to 
facilitate use of the research results by key stakeholders (e.g., 
individuals with disabilities, computer scientists, other researchers 
and software developers working on accessibility technology, policy 
makers, international partners).
    (3) Demonstrate meaningful involvement by key stakeholder groups 
(e.g., individuals with disabilities, computer scientists, software 
developers and researchers working on accessibility technology, policy 
makers, international partners) in order to maximize the relevance and 
usability of the research conducted under this priority. Involvement 
may include, but is not limited to, participation in a 
multidisciplinary research team, advisory board, focus group, or other 
participatory action research method.
    Types of Priorities:
    When inviting applications for a competition using one or more 
priorities, we designate the type of each priority as absolute, 
competitive preference, or invitational through a notice in the Federal 
Register. The effect of each type of priority follows:
    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only 
applications

[[Page 2922]]

that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).
    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference 
priority, we give competitive preference to an application by (1) 
awarding additional points, depending on the extent to which the 
application meets the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) 
selecting an application that meets the priority over an application of 
comparable merit that does not meet the priority (34 CFR 
75.105(c)(2)(ii)).
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the priority. 
However, we do not give an application that meets the priority a 
preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).
    Final Priority:
    We will announce the final priority in a notice in the Federal 
Register. We will determine the final priority after considering 
responses to this notice and other information available to the 
Department. This notice does not preclude us from proposing additional 
priorities, requirements, definitions, or selection criteria, subject 
to meeting applicable rulemaking requirements.

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use this priority, we invite applications through 
a notice in the Federal Register.

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

Regulatory Impact Analysis

    Under Executive Order 12866, the Secretary must determine whether 
this regulatory action is ``significant'' and, therefore, subject to 
the requirements of the Executive order and subject to review by the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Section 3(f) of Executive Order 
12866 defines a ``significant regulatory action'' as an action likely 
to result in a rule that may--
    (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, 
or adversely affect a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, 
jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or 
tribal governments or communities in a material way (also referred to 
as an ``economically significant'' rule);
    (2) Create serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an 
action taken or planned by another agency;
    (3) Materially alter the budgetary impacts of entitlement grants, 
user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients 
thereof; or
    (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal 
mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles stated in the 
Executive order.
    This proposed regulatory action is not a significant regulatory 
action subject to review by OMB under section 3(f) of Executive Order 
12866.
    We have also reviewed this proposed regulatory action under 
Executive Order 13563, which supplements and explicitly reaffirms the 
principles, structures, and definitions governing regulatory review 
established in Executive Order 12866. To the extent permitted by law, 
Executive Order 13563 requires that an agency--
    (1) Propose or adopt regulations only upon a reasoned determination 
that their benefits justify their costs (recognizing that some benefits 
and costs are difficult to quantify);
    (2) Tailor its regulations to impose the least burden on society, 
consistent with obtaining regulatory objectives and taking into 
account--among other things and to the extent practicable--the costs of 
cumulative regulations;
    (3) In choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, select 
those approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential 
economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other 
advantages; distributive impacts; and equity);
    (4) To the extent feasible, specify performance objectives, rather 
than the behavior or manner of compliance a regulated entity must 
adopt; and
    (5) Identify and assess available alternatives to direct 
regulation, including economic incentives--such as user fees or 
marketable permits--to encourage the desired behavior, or provide 
information that enables the public to make choices.
    Executive Order 13563 also requires an agency ``to use the best 
available techniques to quantify anticipated present and future 
benefits and costs as accurately as possible.'' The Office of 
Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB has emphasized that these 
techniques may include ``identifying changing future compliance costs 
that might result from technological innovation or anticipated 
behavioral changes.''
    We are issuing this proposed priority only upon a reasoned 
determination that its benefits would justify its costs. In choosing 
among alternative regulatory approaches, we selected those approaches 
that would maximize net benefits. Based on the analysis that follows, 
the Department believes that this proposed priority is consistent with 
the principles in Executive Order 13563.
    We also have determined that this regulatory action would not 
unduly interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the 
exercise of their governmental functions.
    In accordance with both Executive orders, the Department has 
assessed the potential costs and benefits, both quantitative and 
qualitative, of this regulatory action. The potential costs are those 
resulting from statutory requirements and those we have determined as 
necessary for administering the Department's programs and activities.
    The benefits of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects 
and Centers Program have been well established over the years, as 
projects similar to the one envisioned by the proposed priority have 
been completed successfully. Establishing a new DRRP based on the 
proposed priority would generate new knowledge through research and 
development and improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. The 
new DRRP would generate, disseminate, and promote the use of new 
information that would improve employment opportunities for individuals 
with disabilities.
    Intergovernmental Review: This program is not subject to Executive 
Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79.
    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, 
audiotape, or computer disc) by contacting the Grants and Contracts 
Services Team, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., 
Room 5075, PCP, Washington, DC 20202-2550. Telephone: (202) 245-7363. 
If you use a TDD or a TTY, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.
    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this 
document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free 
Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the 
Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System 
at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well 
as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal 
Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF 
you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the 
site.
    You may also access documents of the Department published in the 
Federal Register by using the article search feature at: 
www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search 
feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published 
by the Department.


[[Page 2923]]


    Dated: January 9, 2013.
Michael Yudin,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services.
[FR Doc. 2013-00577 Filed 1-14-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P