Access by Design: Accessible Instructional Materials Checklist for Cal Poly Faculty
CSU is committed to creating a culture of access for an inclusive learning environment. This means ensuring that all campus electronic and information technology resources are fully accessible to persons with disabilities. The goal is to provide the most effective learning environment for all students while at the same time complying with existing policies and laws.
The information and links below are designed to inform faculty of their responsibilities for ensuring that instructional materials are accessible to everyone.
If you have questions or would like more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Universal Design in Learning
Universal design in learning ensures student success, regardless of ability and learning styles. Designing course strategies and materials from the start with accessibility in mind will enhance the learning experience of all students, not just students with disabilities. For supplemental training and more information, check out Equal Access: Universal Design of Instruction video and related publications developed by DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology), University of Washington.
Specific Steps Faculty Can Take to Ensure Student Access to Instructional Materials
- Contact the University Store to identify textbook and course pack selections at least six weeks before classes begin. This will allow enough time for the materials to be converted into alternate formats. See Academic Senate Resolution AS-654-07.
- Make the class syllabus available online (e.g., in PolyLearn or on the Web) in accessible format before the first day of class. This can help students plan ahead so they can convert materials into accessible formats ahead of time.
- Use the Electronic Course Reserve Process to make reserve items available to students in PolyLearn in accessible formats.
- Use clean copies of in-class handouts so they can be scanned and converted into accessible formats.
- Caption all video used for instruction easily and inexpensively. Buy only captioned videos and DVDs and have captions added to existing videos before using them online or in the classroom.
- Provide transcripts for audio-only presentations and materials. Consider using a speech recognition software tool (such as Dragon Naturally Speaking or Windows 7 Speech Recognition) to convert your lectures and other audio-only materials into text.
- Make course websites accessible by complying with the current standards and practices for campus websites. Use the Cal Poly template, which is already compliant, to create new sites and/or migrate existing sites. This can be much easier than trying to design it yourself or repair a non-compliant site. Consult the Web Accessibility Section of the Web Authoring Resource Center. Contact your college or division's Web Accessibility Coordinator for assistance in designing accessible web content.
- Create or convert and post electronic course materials online in accessible formats. Creating accessible documents is not difficult and there are online tutorials and other resources for commonly used applications to assist you. Doing it right the first time is much easier than trying to fix it later! Guides for commonly used applications.
- Make materials available as soon as possible to facilitate student learning.
- Request an electronic version and/or an additional desk copy of your textbooks to facilitate their conversion into alternate formats.
- Use publishers who offer electronic copies. California law requires publishers to provide electronic copies of textbooks.
- Consider using PolyLearn to post the course syllabus and other important class information and course materials electronically. While PolyLearn itself is accessible, make sure files posted to the course are in accessible formats.
- Provide students with alternative methods to receive lecture materials, e.g., post lecture notes online, provide transcripts, allow students to record class lectures, etc. In your syllabus and early in the course, ask students to let you know privately if they require alternative methods.
- Be open to communicating with students about their learning styles and using multiple instructional methods to address their needs. Consider the possible learning styles of your student and construct your materials accordingly. Provide alternate ways for students to demonstrate their knowledge. See Ensuring Access through Collaboration and Technology.
- Electronic and information technology resources purchased for campus use, including instruction, must be reviewed for compliance with Section 508 standards based on Cal Poly’s E&IT Procurement Implementation Plan. For more information, contact the E&IT Campus Compliance Officer.
Cal Poly Tutorials and Information
- How to add accessible content to PolyLearn
- Creating Accessible Web Sites, Electronic Documents and Multimedia
- Web Authoring Resource Center
Tutorials and Guides from Other Sources
- CSU Resources for Teaching and Learning the Accessibility of Technology - Professional development for accessible technology.
- Adobe – Accessibility Resource Center – Includes guides on how to create accessible PDF and Flash documents
- Web Accessibility Principles – Introductory training session from the online movie library at lynda.com. Section one can be viewed at no cost; the other sections require a license. Site license options are being explored. Lynda.com offers in-depth training on Dreamweaver, Acrobat, Captivate and other tools.
- Accessibility Tutorials for Microsoft Products – Links to online tutorials on how to create accessible Office documents, such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
- Web AIM (Accessibility in Mind) – Links to articles and tutorials on various tools and applications including an Introduction to Web Accessibility
- Cal Poly Academic Senate Resolution on Timely Accessibility to Instructional Materials (AS 654-07)
- Cal Poly Academic Senate Resolution on Accessibility to Information Technology Resources (AS 628-05)
- Cal Poly Universal Design Website
- Cal Poly’s Instructional Materials Plan
- Cal Poly’s Web Accessibility Policy and Standards
- Cal Poly’s Procurement Plan
- Cal Poly’s PolyLearn Support Website – Faculty Support
- Cal Poly’s Disability Resource Center
- CSU Accessible Technology Initiative
- CSU “From Where I Sit” Video Series
- Section 508 Technical Standards and Related Resources