Instructors can create a class, using the information below, that is not only dynamic but accessible and inclusive for a variety of students – including those who work full-time, study from a distance, and have disabilities.
DRC appreciates the opportunity to work collaboratively with faculty and instructors in creating an accessible learning environment. Contact us for consultation.
Below are details for creating an accessible and inclusive class experience. You can also view a condensed list of this information.
Following Universal Design for Learning principles, provide course content using multiple methods of representation, engagement, and expression to support diverse learners.
- If you post PDF versions of your PowerPoint, also post the PowerPoint file to allow students to choose their viewing preferences.
- If you have a reading about a class topic, create or find a video that also discusses the same topic.
Flexibility and Communication:
- Build-in opportunities and methods for feedback and open communication with your students.
- Include flexibility for class attendance and participation.
- Include the disability access syllabus statement.
- Use accessible course syllabus templates provided by Curricular Affairs.
- Syllabus should include clear information and schedule for required readings.
Class Layout and Field trips
- When planning classroom activities, assess the accessibility of the classroom layout and field trip location.
Course Content, Lectures, and Assessments
Provide students with accessible course materials to allow for flexibility in accessing the content via mobile devices and with assistive technologies.
- Create accessible documents, PowerPoints, websites, and D2L content.
- Common accessibility issues include color contrast, hyperlinks, use of headers and image descriptions.
- Scanned or “image” documents cannot be read by a screen reader or assistive technology with text-to-speech abilities without additional modifications.
- Make course handouts and files available electronically to increase access for students who may use assistive technologies such as text-to-speech, screen reader, and magnification software.
- Upload textbook information to UA Bookstores.
- Use an open education resource (OER) to increase access and reduce costs for all students.
- Select accessible readings, such as journal articles, by accessing/downloading files directly from the University of Arizona Library resources.
- Ask publishers/vendors about accessibility of pre-packaged/third-party software used for homework solutions, assignments, assessments, etc.
Lecture Content and Presentations:
- Post notes, PowerPoint slides, and resources for a universal design experience.
- Read content aloud if it’s not incorporated into your speech. Examples include quotes, scenarios, examples, etc.
- Describe visual content displayed during your lecture or while you are writing/creating content on the Whiteboard.
- Repeat questions asked during class or posted in chat.
- Record lectures to allow students to re-watch on their own time and review missed content.
- Assign students to teams and rotate the team responsible for sharing a set of notes with the class.
- Allow students to use personal electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, and recorders to capture lecture content
- Follow Techniques for inclusive and accessible presentations.
Only use or create captioned multimedia content
- Include the word “captioned” in your search for media.
- Look for podcasts/audio files that include a transcript.
- When showing a clip in class, enable captions.
- Use automatic, machine generated captions in common applications such as Zoom, PowerPoint 365, Panopto, etc. to enhance access.
- NOTE: If there is a disability-related accommodation for communication access in your class, DRC will provide captioning services.
- Incorporate more time than a quiz or exam is designed for.
- Follow assessment best practices and employ alternative assessments such as:
- Short, low-stakes, frequent assessments.
- Online assessments or projects where time is not an essential element.
- Written assignments such as essays, reviews, or abstracts.
- Case studies.
Use University supported technology which has been vetted for accessibility, FERPA-compliance, and student privacy and safety.
- D2L Accessibility Checker
- D2L Accessibility Resource Library
- Turning Technologies Clickers
- Enable polls to accept mobile responses for students who use their mobile device or laptop for access.
- VoiceThread Accessibility
- Zoom accessibility techniques
- CAST resources for more on Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
- DO-IT: 20 Tips for Teaching an Accessible Online Course
UA collaborations and resources:
- Teaching Discussions channel - MS Teams Channel to provide chat option with peers and teaching support staff.
- UArizona Tech Resources for Online Learning
Consult with DRC’s Digital and Physical Access Team.