Course Content Accessibility

Creating Accessible Courses

Thinking about accessibility from the point of creating courses and course content is a key step in ensuring full and equal access to online course material for all students. We recommend starting with the following resources and strategies:



Create an accessible syllabus

To ensure that your syllabus is accessible, we recommend using the template provided by the CET&L. The CET&L Course Design Page contains recommended topics from UC Faculty Senate, including ways to design an accessible syllabus.

Use Ally tools in Canvas

Utilize the Ally tools available in Canvas to understand the current level of accessibility of your course content and learn steps to improve the accessibility of the content. 

If you are unfamiliar with Ally, please review the Ally Overview article in the UC Knowledge Base. 

Provide and select accessible media for your course materials

There are a number of things we can do quickly and easily to make our course content more accessible for all students. The following are a few strategies, tips, and resources to help get you started.

  • Ensure that your required readings or textbooks are available in digital formats before submitting book lists to the University of Cincinnati Bookstore.
  • Select textbooks and required readings that are available in alternative formats in addition to print, 
    • Sources for digital versions include UC or public libraries, VitalSource and RedShelf eTextbooks, Amazon (Kindle versions), Audible and other audiobooks, etc.
    • Make students aware of their options for textbook/readings access! Add this information to your syllabus, welcome emails, Canvas course announcements, etc.
  • Select multimedia content that already has captions provided.
  • If you are showing content during class, always enable captions.
  • Use this as an opportunity to revisit your old course content and update the resources you provide to your students to make sure the documents and multimedia you are sharing with them are accessible. 
  • Start with accessibility in mind and prioritize making new course content accessible at the point of creation. It is much easier and efficient to prioritize making new content accessible, than it is to remediate old content.

Course Content Related Accommodations

Typical accommodations for which a student will contact Accessibility Resources related to course material accessibility include:

  • Course Materials in Alternative Formats
    • This accommodation includes but is not limited to providing required and recommended textbooks, readings, and other academic material in accessible alternative formats.
    • A staff member from Accessibility Resources may contact you if the student requires additional access to other course materials, such as making documents compatible to be read with screen readers or text-to-speech technology.
  • Captioning of recorded media
    • A student approved for this accommodation may request that all audio and/or multimedia content be captioned. 
    • The student will request captions through the Accessibility Resources website. Services are provided by the Communication Access Team.

Responding to requests for accessible course content

  • You are responsible for providing basic accessibility, as described on the Academic Accommodations and Faculty Responsibility page, and this accommodation can often be fulfilled independently by the faculty member. 
  • However, there are times when additional efforts must be made to make content accessible for a specific student, depending on the impact of the student's disability, the format of the course material, and any technology or assistive device the student may use to access course material. 
  • If a student makes a request for additional accommodation beyond the access you have provided and beyond a level that you are able to readily and/or reasonably provide, please reach out to Accessibility Resources. A staff member will work directly with you and the student to facilitate access to the content.