Accessible Course Materials Guidelines

A primary way that students are receiving information in the classroom is through the course materials that faculty create or select from outside sources. If students cannot access these course materials because they are inaccessibly created, they are not receiving the same education as students who can manage with an inaccessible version. Please use this document as a guide for choosing or creating more accessible versions of the information you are sharing with your students.

Creating Accessible Course Materials

For students with disabilities, visible and invisible, if the course materials are not accessible, they may be only receiving a blank page, jumbled information, or nothing at all. Barriers like these can be impactful for a student’s access to an equal education.

The 4 major areas of inaccessibility in Course Materials are:

  1. Scanned copies of PDFs or library materials that are pictures of documents.
  2. Visually represented materials are not described with alternative text.
  3. Documents do not have a heading structure.
  4. Videos are not captioned.

If you are using word documents, PDFs, or PowerPoint in your classes please watch the 20 minute Document Accessibility training video created by the Poorvu Center for Learning and Teaching for guidance with document accessibility. The Poorvu Center also outlines ways to make sure readings and files are accessible.

Resources for Support

Canvas Ally: The accessibility checker that presents colored dials of accessibility feedback for content that is uploaded to Canvas.

Poorvu Center for Learning and Teaching: Faculty resource for accessibility, course design, accessible instructional practices, etc. that will conduct trainings and provide support with proactively making classrooms accessible.

Student Accessibility Services (SAS): The office responsible for determining and providing academic accommodations for students with disabilities. SAS works directly with students for accessibility concerns in the classroom/community, while also working with faculty to facilitate academic accommodations. For support with Accessible Course Materials accommodations, please email Jordan Colbert, Associate Director for Assistive Technology.

We thank you for your commitment to creating an accessible Yale community!