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Creating Accessible Courses

Creating Accessible Course Material

Atomic Learning Tutorials

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A Digitally Accessible Campus - This online workshop walks users through the basics of accessibility. It begins by covering the reasoning behind creating accessible materials in addition to legal issues. Participants taking advantage of this workshop will also see examples of what accessible materials look like and learn about the individuals who benefit from them the most. Finally, common tools that individuals with disabilities may use to access materials will be discussed along with tips on what you can do to make sure your materials are accessible.

Creating Accessible Documents in Office 2013 Training - Creating an accessible document for learners of all abilities is important. This online training series demonstrates several ways to enhance the accessibility of your Microsoft® Office 2013 documents - from text and paragraph formatting options to running the accessibility check. You'll learn how these features are readily available in this suite of applications.


Creating Accessible Content [pdf] - Created to assist faculty/staff with creating accessible content for the web. Many different resources were used to gather the information presented within this document.

Best Practices for Video Tutorials - Geared toward creating accessible video content for Lavery Library, but can be adapted to work for any faculty creating webcasts of lecture material for online and hybrid classes.

Journal Articles

Kari L. Kumar. Accessible by design: Applying UDL principles in a first year undergraduate course. University of Manitoba

This article is available on the library website. It is an interesting article that implemented the UDL design in a first-year course.

Hollins, N. & Foley, A. R. (2013, August). The experiences of students with learning disabilities in a higher education virtual campus. Educational Technology Research & Development, 61 (4), 607-624. DOI: 10.1007/s11423-013-9302-9

The nature of college is changing, so it is important to consider virtual accessibility as we do with classes in a physical environment. The article questions whether classroom accommodations can be transferred to an online environment. The small exploratory study interviewed 16 participants who were college students who acknowledged that they had learning disabilities and they also used accommodations. The researchers identified features of their virtual campus that helped participants to be successful or not successful. The researchers provide a list of suggestions and strategies.

Legal Obligations

As faculty, we have a legal obligation to create courses with content accessible to all students. The following are some online articles related to this legal duty:

College Students and Disability Law - This article discusses the different laws that need to be taken into account when working with students with disabilities and offers guidelines for higher education practitioners.

Online Accessibility a Faculty Duty - This article explains how working with students with disabilities in online courses requires professors to be proactive in contrast to working with in-seat students.

A Case for Accessible, Usable and Universal Design for Learning - This article explains the benefits of using Universal Design for all students.

Universal Design

Universal Design is an approach that designs course materials to be accessible to all students, regardless of their ability or disability. This approach is most efficiently used when creating material for new courses, but it is a great approach when revising or updating course material. The Universal Design approach meets all legal obligations of faculty and is relatively easy to follow using the principles and guidelines provided in the article below. 

UDL Guidelines - Version 2.0

Websites to Support Faculty and Students

The following organizations support faculty of college students with disabilities as well as students with disabilities themselves.

HEATH Resource Center at the National Youth Transition Center - This site is a web-based national clearinghouse that serves as an information exchange of educational resources, support services, and opportunities for postsecondary education for students with disabilities. The HEATH Resource Center gathers, develops, and disseminates information in the form of resource papers, fact sheets, website directories, newsletters, and resource materials. The site provides resources for students, parents, and high school and college teachers.

AHEAD (Association on Higher Education and Disability) - AHEAD is a professional membership organization for individuals involved in the development of policy and in the provision of quality services to meet the needs of persons with disabilities involved in all areas of higher education. Under the Learn tab, there is information and resources for students and parents.

DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Center - Promotes the success of individuals with disabilities in postsecondary education careers, using technology as an empowering tool.