Accessible Education

Characteristics of Accessible Education

  • Takes into consideration a variety of student characteristics, including ethnicity, race, abilities, disabilities, age, gender, language abilities, and preferred learning style
  • Does not compromise academic rigor
  • Is a proactive and inclusive way of teaching and designing courses and curricula
  • Removes barriers to learning before the barriers can have an effect
  • Reduces the need for specialized accommodations
  • Identifies and clearly expresses essential course content
  • Is consistent with universally-recognized principles of good teaching

Adapted from Introduction to Accessible Education from the Council of Ontario Universities.

Resources for Accessible Education

Academic Institutions

Government Resources

Other Resources

Guidance for Accessible Education

Accessible Documents

Accessible documents have:

  • readable text that is not an image,
  • tags to indicate a heading structure,
  • alternate text for images,
  • a set reading order,
  • a set language,
  • and use lists, tables, and hyperlinks wisely.

What is Alternative Text?

Alternative text helps screen readers recognize and describe images used on websites. An image without alternative text cannot be described in context.

  • Use alternative text when including an image in your guide.
  • Alternative text is read by screen readers in place of images.
  • Enter accurate text that avoids terminology such as “image of…” or “link to…”.*
  • See WebAIM’s section on alternative text.

See more from the University of Washington’s Overview of Accessible Documents page.

Word Documents



Apps for Assistive Education

Apps for Reading

Apps for Low Vision or Blindness

Apps for Hearing

More Tools for Accessible Instruction

ADA Website Accessibility Toolkit

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and, if the government entities receive federal funding, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 generally require that state and local governments provide qualified individuals with disabilities equal access to their programs, services, or activities unless doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of their programs, services, or activities or would impose an undue burden

Mozilla Developer Network Accessibility Guide

MDN Web Docs (previously known as MDN — the Mozilla Developer Network) is an evolving learning platform for Web technologies and the software that powers the Web, including standards and guidelines.

Section 508 Compliance

On January 18, 2017, the U.S. Access Board published a final rule updating accessibility requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Communications Act.

WCAG 2.1

This page provides a paraphrased summary of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1.

WebAIM’s Alternative Text Guide

Alternative text provides a textual alternative to non-text content in web pages.

WebAIM: Contrast Checker

Use this color contrast checker to ensure that your digital or printable materials have enough contrast to be read by a vision-impaired individual.

For more web-based tools, see the Typology of Free Web-based Learning Technologies from Educause.