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RIT Ready: Moving Forward Into Fall
Faculty Course Technology Support
Blog » Making Digital Course Content Accessible

Marybeth Koon--As instructors create and adopt more digital teaching resources, they must also ensure that students with disabilities can access those materials. This section of the Accessibility Tool Kit 1.0 provides instructors with resources that will help them make their materials accessible to students with disabilities. As you look at this list, consider that resources for making online courses accessible are also useful to faculty who teach in a blended or flipped modality.

The Online Accessibility Teaching Element provides a high-level overview of what online accessibility is and what it means for learners with disabilities. It includes a brief introduction video, links to GOALS project cheats sheets, and RIT's Teaching and Learning Services-related links on services. Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (or VPATs) for supported academic technologies are also included.

Who's Responsible for Accessibility is an adaptation of PCC's Who's Responsible document. This document helps clarify for faculty how they can contribute to implementing accessible practices and who on the RIT campus can help them.

The TLS Accessibility Checklist is currently in draft form. This is an item-by-item reminder of the most common accessibility considerations faculty should keep in mind as they develop their online course materials. Although originally intended for online courses, anyone developing electronic content and/or using academic technology in a course of any mode may find this resource relevant. See also the TLS blog post High-Impact Accessibility Practices.

Ten Tips for Creating Accessible Content is a simple, one-page resource created by Janet Syliva, a web accessibility expert and consultant with Accessibility Solutions and Research Center.

George Mason University's Guide to Creating Accessible Electronic Materials is a detailed, 60-page reference book for faculty and students who are managing, developing, or distributing electronic learning materials. This "just-in-time" guide was developed by GMU's Assistive Technology Initiative for individuals creating electronic materials. In this documentation, GMU also references the GOALS Project Cheatsheets.

Additional Resources for Web and Online Course Accessibility provides a detailed introduction to web accessibility basics and a list of key principles of accessible design. One of the resources on the Web AIM site is a detailed discussion of their interpretation of the web standards included in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, §1194.22.

WebAIM has created an accessibility tool called WAVE that evaluates the accessibility of any web page. Use this tool in combination with their other resources to avoid common mistakes in web accessibility.

The principles for creating accessible distance learning courses on the Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology (DO-IT) website can be adapted to blended or flipped classrooms.

Effective Practices for Description of Science Content within Digital Talking Books provides guidelines for describing STEM images through multimedia representations of text-based publications and other assistive technologies.  These guidelines are based on research in which individuals with visual loss shared information on reading preferences and evaluated methods to determine an effective approach to conveying visually complex concepts with text-to-speech resources.


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