There are many ways in which faculty can ensure an accessible experience for their students by creating accessible course content. By ensuring an accessible experience, you not only benefit the students with disabilities in your course, but it positively impacts the learning experience for all students. The two biggest areas which we like to highlight would be videos and PDFs.
Videos: If you are showing a video in your course, it is best practice to ensure that the video is captioned. This ensures that the video is accessible to those that are D/deaf and hard of hearing, but it also may benefit students who are English language learners or the student who forgot to bring their headphones to the library. For more information, please visit the UVA Library page on Making Media Accessible
PDFs: Many readings are available to students as a PDF. If you are using PDFs in your course, we would like to ensure that they can be read by text-to-speech software, such as Read & Write. This software is often used for those with print-related disabilities (such as those that are blind, low vision, or have a reading disorder), but again has the potential to benefit all of your students.
At a minimum, we ask that your PDF have “selectable” text – that is, text that is recognized as text by the computer. Additionally, look at the “reading order” – which can often be seen when you are highlighting the text – to make sure that it is reading it in the right order. Finally, your images, figures and graphs should have “alt-tags” on them (i.e. descriptions of the graphic) so those that are blind can still have access to the information it contains.
SDAC staff is available to assist in making course content accessible, so please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.