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Course Materials and Accessibility
While considering the cost of your required course materials, it is also important to consider the accessibility of these materials for all students.
- Make your selections early and post them publicly so students enrolling in your courses can work with the Disability Resource Center (DRC) to get their materials in time for the first week of class.
- Open Education Resources (OER) give users the right to change the format so they’re accessible—Consult the Faculty tab on our Textbook Affordability Guide for a curated list of OER providers.
- Consider offering course content and materials in multiple formats—e.g., recording lectures or ensuring that videos or audio materials are captioned or have transcripts
- Think about using an e-book; while not all e-books or digital textbooks are accessible, making them accessible is often easier than adapting print materials.
- When creating a web link, use descriptive text; try to avoid using "click here" to indicate a link.
- Avoid using font colors as the only way to convey something. For example, avoid pointers such as "The text highlighted in blue is the main idea."
- Keep things simple. Try to limit the use of more difficult to access materials or presentation methods. If you do use them, be sure to have available an easier to access version as an alternative.
Adapted from "Accessibility Resources for Faculty," Bluegrass Community & Technical College
Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
Universal Design for Learning acknowledges that not all students learn and demonstrate content mastery in the same way. Consider these tips for incorporating UDL into your classes:
- post lecture notes online prior to class
- provide printed materials in alternate format
- provide options in assignments (e.g., write a report or do a presentation)
- create a rubric for grading and give to students when initially describing the assignment
- consider visual, auditory and written strategies to provide content
- use clickers that have text and symbols on them and/or have a virtual clicker option
- include furniture in a meeting room/classroom that allows for wheelchairs to navigate
- include equipment that is adjustable (e.g., adjustable height table; separate table and chair)
- use multi-media materials with captioning
From NIU’s Presidential Commission on Persons with Disabilities.
Ten Steps Toward Universal Design of Online Courses
From the University of Arkansas, Little Rock. Tips for UD that can be applied to educational content used in both online and face to face courses.
From the University of Washington. An overview of UD with explanations and examples of the principles and applications of universal design for learning.
Screen Readers & Text-to-Speech Tools
Read Aloud is a Firefox add-on that converts webpage text into audio. It offers a variety of voices and allows users to set voice pitch and reading speed. Supports PDF and EPUB and can be used with many e-textbooks and online course materials.
This screenreader for Chrome-users reads webpages aloud and allows patrons to choose languages, voices, and speed. Pre-installed on Chromebooks.