The resources below will help you learn more about your responsibilities relative to accessibility in your online courses. They are intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal advice.
Understanding Your Responsibility by Law and Practice
- ADA Q&A: Section 504 & Postsecondary Education (PACER Center) is a Q&A guide for understanding how ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act apply to higher education.
- A Guide to Disability Rights Laws (US Department of Justice) provides access to several federal acts including the Rehabilitation Act, an act that applies to online teaching and learning (click Rehabilitation Act, then read Section 504 and Section 508).
- Dear College or University President (US Department of Justice and US Department of Education), also referred to as the Dear Colleague Letter (DCL), is a position statement that underscores the importance of assistive technology for the blind. It clarifies practical aspects of ADA and Section 504.
- Harvard and M.I.T. Are Sued Over Lack of Closed Captions (The NY Times) illustrates the importance of captioning video content.
Reasonable Accommodations, Fundamental Alteration, Effective Communication, and Undue Hardship
- Reasonable Modification and Effective Communication (ADA Best Practices Tool Kit – chapter 1) outline and illustrate what is meant by these terms as well as what is meant by “fundamental alteration” relative to meeting the special needs of individuals with disabilities.
- Effective Communication (ADA National Network) briefly outlines and describes the concept in relation to ADA requirements.
- What is Considered an “Undue Hardship” for a Reasonable Accommodation? and Are There Any Limitations on the ADA’s Auxiliary aids requirements? (ADA National Network) acknowledge some limitations and requirements associated with the terms “undue burden” and “fundamental alteration.”
Making Course Materials Accessible
- Use the Accessibility Checker on Your Windows Desktop to Find Accessibility Issues (Microsoft) not only provides information on access checking but also detailed instructions for making a variety of content accessible in Office programs like Outlook, Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. Links to these instructions can also be found at the bottom of the main page. After making your Microsoft files accessible, you can create Accessible PDFs from them.
- Captions for Videos Overview (Open SUNY) is a short video underscoring important aspects and considerations related to captioning and the Captioning Tip Sheet (DCMP) for a bullet list of captioning considerations.
- Adding Captions to YouTube Videos (University of Washington) illustrates three quick steps for captioning a YouTube video and provides a link to the YouTube help resources on Subtitles & Closed Captions.
Determining if Materials are Accessible
- Accessibility Checklist W3C WCAG2.0 (Elsevier) outlines a set of specific standards for web accessible content that is becoming the hallmark for practice. This site includes links to more specific information and tools as well as tabs of organized content. The filter is set for all guidelines at WCAG 2.0 level AA; use the filter to search for specific information as desired.
- Checking a Website for Accessibility Without Tools (Open SUNY, self-paced Access MOOC, Creative Commons license) is a brief video demonstration of several techniques for assessing basic features of websites for accessibility.
Additional Resources for Instructors
- Equal Access: Universal Design of Instruction (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology – DO-IT) concisely and comprehensively describes an approach to enhancing access to instruction for all learners, those with disabilities and those without.
- Higher Ed Accessibility Lawsuits, Complaints, and Settlements (University of Minnesota Duluth) provides links to articles and discussions of several cases. Some of the links no longer go to viable sites, but others are helpful in better understanding the issues involved with access.