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
Resources for Accessible Education
- Accessible Teaching form University of Maryland’s Teaching and Learning Transformation Center
Accessible Education from Council of Ontario Universities' Accessible Campus
- Includes the Educator’s Accessibility Toolkit
- Four-Point Accessibility Evaluation from California State University Northbridge Universal Design Center
- Web Accessibility Criteria for Color Contrast from California State University Northbridge Universal Design Center
- Creating Accessible Learning Environments from Vanderbilt University
- Create Accessible Digital Products from Section508.gov
- ADA Standards for Accessible Design from ADA.gov
- Web Accessibility Initiative from W3C
- WebAIM: Web Accessiblity in Mind
Guidance for Accessible Education
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.
- Make your Word documents accessible to people with disabilities from Microsoft
- Create Accessible Documents from Section508.gov
- Creating Accessible Documents in MS Word from University of Washington
- PDF Accessibility Overview from Adobe
- Create Accessible PDFs from Section508.gov
- Check PDFs for Accessibility from University of Washington
- Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible to people with disabilities from Microsoft
- Create Accessible Presentations from Section508.gov
- Creating Accessible Presentations in MS PowerPoint from University of Washington
Apps for Assistive Education
Apps for Reading
- Change Dyslexia - for Spanish speakers
- Immersive Reader
- Voice Dream Reader
Apps for Low Vision or Blindness
Apps for Hearing
More Tools for Accessible Instruction
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
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.
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.
This page provides a paraphrased summary of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1.
Alternative text provides a textual alternative to non-text content in web pages.
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.