Accessible Course Checklist

This guide will walk you thought the considerations you need to address to ensure that your course is accessible.

Remember, accessibility is how we prepare our classes for the possibility of students who have different abilities or needs; there may be additional requirements specific students require as an individual accommodation in our classes.

Course Texts

Any textbook or resource that your students use in your class should meet accessibility standards. This is true for both required materials and materials that are optional or for enrichment.

Q: How do I know if a resource is Accessible?

A: The "Is This Accessible" page has guidance on how to make an initial evaluation of the accessibility of a resource.

Q: What do I do if a resource is not accessible?

A: The ideal solution is to replace an inaccessible resource with an accessible one. This may be as simple as transitioning to a newer edition of a textbook, or may involve switching to a different textbook that meets accessibility standards.

You may not be able to make that transition immediately. If that is the case, you should go through the accessibility exception process to request an exception.

It is possible that an alternative version of the resource is available, or can be made available. For example, a novel might be available in audiobook format. If that is the case, and the alternative format is equally effective, it's acceptable to present both versions to your class and allow students to choose the one that is most accessible to them.

Q: How do we evaluate the online resources and tools packaged with textbooks?

A: In many cases, it can be difficulty to be sure that the tools packaged with your textbook are accessible. It's important to ask your publisher.
On the Accessible Publisher Resources page you can check out a list of publisher resources that have been determined to meet our accessibility standards, those have have been reviewed and failed, and there is a link to request a review of a tool that has not yet been reviewed.

Course Handouts & Instructor-Generated materials

Documents and resources that you create for your classes should be accessible. This can be different for different types of documents, but most of the tools provided by the university (Microsoft Office products, Adobe Acrobat) have tools for evaluating your content for accessibility.

Q: How do I know if a handout is accessible?

A: The "Is This Accessible" page has guidance on how to make an initial evaluation of the accessibility of a resource.

It will be useful to invest in time in training provided by ITS in Microsoft Office and Adobe tools -- in addition to providing a guide to a lot of the power in those tools that we may not know about, the training also covers how to use the built-in accessibility tools to find and correct accessibility problems.

Course Lectures - In Person

Accessibility in a traditional classroom can vary, based on the way instruction is delivered. A set of recommendations and expectations for accessible face-to-face instruction is available.

Course Lectures - Recorded Video

Lecture recordings, no matter what platform we are using to create and deliver those videos, need to have accurate captions to meet accessibility standards. The university recommends and supports two platforms: Panopto and Youtube. Both will provide some automatic captions (generated by a computer) that will need to be reviewed for accuracy.

In Panopto, for the Fall of 2020 and Spring of 2021, we have some professional captioning service available. Video created in Panopto, or uploaded to Panopto, can be professionally captioned by request by following these instructions.

Course Lectures - Synchronous Video

Synchronous instructional video -- lectures delivered live online using Zoom or a similar tool, present special challenges for the delivery of captions with instruction. Live video must be accompanied by sign language interpreters for live (Zoom) classes. Faculty and instructional staff should reach out to the Office of Disability Services to arrange sign language interpreters for live classes. Faculty and instructional staff are encouraged to find alternative methods of curriculum delivery, including video play back with captioning, to minimize expenses.

Course Activities & Assignments

The variety of instructional activities and assignments make it challenging to address that content in a succinct way. These resources will help you consider the accessibility of these elements of your course:

Student-Generated Content

Student-generated content presents a special challenge. If a class makes use of student generated content as an instructional tool (student presentations to the class, writing workshops, seminar presentations, for example), those presentations need to be made in a way that is accessible to all students.

However, it is outside of the scope of most classes to address the methods for delivering that content in an accessible way.
A series of short trainings have been created to address those skills. We recommend that instructors who have classes that use student delivered content require that students complete the appropriate training (or demonstrate that they've already completed it for another class).

Getting Help & Training Resources

For instructors who have questions about the accessibility of their classes, need help developing ideas for equally effective alternatives, or need help using Blackboard, Instructional Design and Access provides weekly drop-in labs.

Also, there are a variety of online trainings that may be useful to you as an instructor.