As an instructor, it is your responsibility to ensure that all students have equal access to your coursework. Our Learning Designers can help you create an inclusive learning community that is accessible to all students.
Making coursework accessible is best done proactively by employing best practices in your course design. On this page you will find resources and guides to help you build course materials to benefit all students.
Create Accessible Materials
Multiple Means of Access
Providing your course content in several formats improves the course for all students. For example, by presenting a lesson as both a recorded audio file and a text file, you’re not simply accommodating visually and audibly impaired students, you’re also giving every student options, so they can choose the learning method which best suits their needs.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a helpful framework to rely on for designing an inclusive course, through three basic principles:
- Multiple means of representation
- Multiple means of action and expression
- Multiple means of engagement.
Learn more about UDL from The Center for Universal Design in Education at the University of Washington.
You Have (an) Ally in Blackboard
Providing digital versions of your course materials through Blackboard is already a good start toward offering multiple means of access. Blackboard provides a helpful accessibility-check tool available in all courses – Ally – that detects inaccessible content in your course and provides guidance on how to make it accessible. Even better, Ally provides alternative formats of your course materials to your students. However, the alternative formats are as good as the original content you provide. Learn more about Ally.
Update Your Software
Using the latest versions of software programs to create learning materials will give you more options for accessibility. Visit the Software for Faculty and Staffwebpage to get the latest version of MS Office and other software.
VPATs (Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates) are documents that explain how a product meets accessibility standards. VPATs can help you determine the steps you need to take to ensure content you create is accessible for your students. Learn more and view VPATs for the most commonly used software at UMass Boston on the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template page.