Creating Accessible Courses
Just as buildings must be accessible to persons with physical disabilities, websites and course materials must be accessible to students with disabilities.
Choosing Accessible Materials
- Print Materials: Select textbooks, readings, and classroom materials well in advance to ensure that these items are available in accessible formats, such as PDF or word documents that can be used with screen reading software.
- Video and Audio Content: It is best practice to caption all videos. Instructors of Deaf or hard-of-hearing students are required to caption all videos used both in class and outside of class. The River Campus Library can assist AS&E faculty in captioning videos for courses. Transcripts of audio content should be made available.
- Websites: Course websites need to be accessible to all students, including those using screen reading software.
For more information, please see the University of Rochester's webpage on Creating Accessible Course Materials.
Universal Design for Instruction
Universal design for learning (UDL) is an approach to designing course instruction, materials, and content to benefit all students without adaptation or retrofitting. The Office of Disability Resources can partner with you to explore UDL principles and strategies as they relate to your individual courses.
UDL Strategies to Consider
In designing your courses and assessments
- Be thoughtful and specific in your learning objectives and course standards. This will help you identify areas in which flexibility may be possible.
- Consider how attendance requirements align with course objectives
- Eliminate timed assessments, where possible
- Diversify the types of assessments you use or provide options for the ways in which students can demonstrate their understanding of content
In your instruction
- Use more than one method for presenting information (eg., visual diagram along with written descriptions)
- Vary the pacing and structure of lessons; allow time for individual and group interaction with the content
- Allow students to record lectures or, better yet, record your lectures and post the videos to Blackboard
- Post slides or diagrams to Blackboard in advance of each class
Additional Resources on UDL
UDL on Campus: A guide from CAST, developers of the UDL framework.
DO-IT's Center for Universal Design in Education: Resources from the University of Washington.
Other Disability Resources and Awareness
DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) at the University of Washington serves to increase the successful participation of individuals with disabilities in academic programs such science, engineering, mathematics, and technology.
AccessIT at the University of Washington has a compilation of resources that promotes the use of assistive technology for students, as well as employees, with disabilities in educational institutions. The mission of AccessIT is to support the efforts of educators, policy makers, librarians, technical support staff, students and employees to make academic achievement possible through the implementation of assistive technology.