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Disability Resources

Enhancing course accessibility

What is accessibility and why it's important?
Accessibility is about making something usable by the greatest number of individuals. While the primary concern has traditionally been for physical access, the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act require colleges and universities to make all programs and services, including web and other electronic or online services, accessible to individuals with disabilities. This requirement also includes any course content (such as text files, graphics, PowerPoint, and links to websites etc.) placed in an online environment, whether the course is online or on campus and using technology inside the physical classroom.

Designing course strategies and materials from the beginning with accessibility in mind enhances the learning experience for all students and is less problematic and less costly than retrofitting materials created without consideration for accessibility. The following tips and PDFs are offered to assist you in making your course more accessible.

Some general considerations for making courses and materials accessible:

  •  Give consideration to how students with hearing or vision impairments access distance education, the classroom environment, textbooks, videos, etc.
  • Give consideration to how testing via the web is different than traditional testing methods.
  • Review resources and guides for commonly used applications.
  • Thoroughly evaluate the accessibility of electronic resources (such as software or electronic books) prior to purchasing for student use. Electronic resources purchased for campus use, including instruction, should be reviewed for compliance with Section 508 standards.
  • Make the class syllabus available online in an accessible format before the first day of class.
  • Provide clean copies of print materials before they are covered in class.
  • Buy only captioned videos and DVDs.
  • Provide transcripts for audio-only presentations and materials.
  • Post only accessible course materials online.
  • Provide alternative methods to receive lecture materials. For example, post lecture notes online, provide transcripts, or allow students to record lectures.
  • Provide multiple or alternative ways for students to demonstrate their knowledge. 

Quick Tip Links: 

Creating accessible PowerPoint presentations

Creating accessible PDFs

Creating accessible Word documents

Choosing accessible software