Making Courses Accessible

Provided by Disability Services, these tips are based on class-room practices that both faculty and students have reported to be successful.

1. Students learn and engage in different ways.  To ensure your students are able to best learn and engage in your course, it may be helpful to:

  • Utilize multimodal teaching methods in which information is presented in multiple modes such as visual, auditory, and interactive.

2. Students may also differ in how they understand information.  Some students better understand verbal directions while others require written instructions to understand.  While providing instructions, particularly if providing students with an assignment or information about an assignment, it may be helpful to:

  • Provide this information both verbally and in a written format. 

3. For students who struggle to view a PowerPoint presentation from their seat or struggle to write down what is written on the PowerPoint presentation while also listening to faculty speak, it may be helpful to:

  • Make the PowerPoint available to students at least 24 hours before class.

4. For students who need to access their course materials in an alternate-format due to a visual disability or reading disorder, it may be helpful to:

  • Post any articles or other electronic course materials in a text, structured PDF format or word format.

5. Students may also require their textbooks in an alternate format.  In order for students to have their course materials in their needed format prior to the start of the semester or to get a head-start on the readings, it may be helpful to:

  • Post required textbooks and course readings approximately 4-6 weeks prior to the start of the semester.

6. Many students, including students with disabilities, can have difficulty negotiating class participation requirements for numerous reasons including but not limited to anxiety, a processing disorder (may take the student longer to respond), or a hearing disability.  To foster participation from all students in your course, it may be helpful to:

  • At the start of the semester, set the tone of a socially courteous environment.  Invite students who have concerns about this course requirement to discuss their concerns privately.  Provide all students with non-speaking opportunities to fulfill course participation requirements via an online discussion board or written comments at the end of class.