Faculty Tips and Resources
To ensure all students have equal access to the course materials needed to successfully engage in learning, in accordance with the University of Cincinnati EIT Policy, the university asks faculty to provide accessible course content. Below are seven operating principles on how faculty can support students who use various types of assistive technology to access course content.
In the 2019-2020 academic year, focus on Operating Principles 1-4—specifically the creation of new learning materials using the built-in accessibility features in frequently-used software: Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, as well as Blackboard and Canvas. Resources are provided with each principle to help you learn how to create accessible course materials.
Operating Principles for Accessible Electronic Academic Content
If a student reaches out to you for an accommodation, work with you partners at the university to provide the requested accommodations within a reasonable time frame. This will increase the ability for the student to be successful in your classroom.
- Read the Accessibility Resources guide for understanding an accommodation form
- For additional questions about accommodations, please contact AccessResources@uc.edu.
When you create your syllabus, use accessibility guidelines and best practices to provide an accessible syllabus to your students. Consider including a note on the best way to request an accommodation if needed.
There are multiple ways to arrive at an accessible syllabus.
- Use the UC Syllabus Template created by the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning
- Use the Microsoft Word Accessibility Checker
- Upload your syllabus to Blackboard and use Ally to check and fix your document
- Create your syllabus in the Canvas syllabus module
- For more detailed information, read how to make an accessible syllabus
When you include images within your course documents, include an alternative text description (alt text) that accurately describes the image. Adding alt text allows screen readers to describe any images to students. This is especially important for any image that is used to provide further context or information.
- Your description should accurately and concisely describe the content and function of the image
- Your description should not use the words “image of” or “graphic of” but rather describe the image
- You can provide this description through the “alt description” function or feature in the program you are using, or in the space surrounding the image
- Complex figures should have rich descriptions and be usable in black and white
- Here is how to add alternative text in commonly used software and programs from UC:
Microsoft Word and PowerPoint provide a built-in accessibility checker and tutorials on how to use their platforms to create accessible content.
When you select electronic materials for class, it is important that students who use assistive technology can access those materials at the same time as the rest of the class. This allows the students to complete assignments on time and engage in class discussions.
- If there is a digital version of your textbook or links to online journal articles, include both options for student to select which version best meets their needs.
- For more information on accessible reading or supplemental materials, contact Mitchell.Jones@uc.edu in the Accessibility Resources Office.
When purchasing electronic information tools (EIT), such as software, learning platforms, digital content, etc., follow the university’s procurement process. This includes submitting a request for accessibility review. If there are accessibility barriers identified, proactively identify an equally effective alternative solution for students who may use assistive technology.
To ensure all students can utilize digital media within your courses, use captions and transcripts when creating any digital media, such as videos.
For more information on captioning, contact Katheryn.Lane@uc.edu in the Accessibility Resources Office.