Faculty and Staff Information
Faculty members are required to implement accommodations for students registered with the Accessibility Services office. However, the accommodations should not compromise the academic quality of the course. If a faculty member disagrees with an accommodation or has questions about implementing it, they are encouraged to discuss their concern with the staff at the Accessibility Services office to ensure academic rigor is maintained.
Faculty should refrain from discussing a student’s issues regarding disabilities and accommodations in front of the class, in the presence of other students, or to faculty or staff not directly involved in the accommodation process.
There may be times when students approach faculty requesting accommodations directly. In these instances, faculty members should direct the student to the Accessibility Services office. Faculty can, but are not required to, provide accommodations to students until they receive a letter of accommodation or direct communication from the Accessibility Services office.
As an instructor it is important to consider accessibility when creating materials for the online environment. All content going into the Learning Management System needs to be accessible in order to meet our students' needs and to comply with federal regulations. The best time to implement strategies for accessibility is during the creation process, and there are many resources available to instructors for learning how to create accessible content.
Accessibility Services recognizes that most instructors have been teaching online courses for many years with content that is currently not accessible. Information is available through e-Learning Services regarding updating existing course content to meet accessibility requirements. Federal regulations require us as an institution to be proactive about updating course content to be accessible, rather than waiting until a student who requires accommodation enrolls in our online courses.
Please visit the e-Learning Services web page to learn more about creating and updating your course content to meet accessibility requirements.
Faculty should never directly inquire whether a student has a disability. Rather, as you would with any of your students, set up a meeting to discuss your concerns about grades, writing, absences, classroom behavior, etc. If the student alludes to the idea that there is a disability/issue please refer the student to the Accessibility Services Office. You should always be prepared to provide other referral sources (e.g., Accessibility Services, Counseling, Writing Center, Student Health) for any student that may be struggling.
Creating Accessible Documents
Regardless of whether the document is in Microsoft Word, Adobe PDF, or another document format there are a few basic guidelines to make your content accessible:
- Use headings and keep order
- Use lists - bullets or numbered
- Use descriptive hyperlinks
- Add alternate text to images and graphics
- Identify document language
- Color contrast
- Don't use color as the only way to convey meaning
- Use tables wisely
- Understand how to export from one format to another
- Microsoft Word
- PDF - follow the Microsoft Word instructions for best practices. If you have Acrobat DC convert your Word Doc into PDF using Acrobat DC. If you do not have Acrobat DC send your Word Doc to Accessibility Services via email for conversion and further remediation.
- Captioning - TBA