Accessible Online Courses

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Online and hybrid courses give access to growing numbers of students with disabilities who previously could not navigate a traditional campus or degree program.  Still, many faculty are not familiar with techniques for improving their course design.  To address this, many schools are developing institutional policies for minimum accessibility requirements for online courses and providing faculty with training and resources to design courses using multiple modalities. Northeastern University Online guides faculty through Creating an Accessible Online Course.  They offer this short video to explore Five Best Practices for Creating an Accessible Online Course and use Universal Design for Learning by also offering it as a .pdf. 

These approaches presume an awareness and understanding of Universal Design for Learning.  These resources explain how, with awareness and intentionality, faculty can provide multiple means of representation, action and expression, and engagement which not only makes the courses accessible for students with disabilities, but also enhances teaching/learning experiences for all.

    • Accessibility Best Practices for eTeaching: A checklist of best practices from George Washington University to help faculty members think through and improve accessibility for online courses and materials. It is based on a rubric from Quality Matters, a collegial process for promoting quality in online/blended courses.
    • Creating Accessible Content: A resource from University of Central Florida for faculty teaching online/blended courses and dealing with ADA and 508 compliance.
    • ADA Compliance in Online Courses: Washburn University’s concise checklist of best practices to help faculty to improve their online and blended courses.
    • This free service allows to test web pages and help expose and repair barriers to accessibility and encourage compliance with existing accessibility guidelines, such as Section 508 and the W3C’s WCAG (quality, accessibility, and privacy issues).
    • Web content accessibility validation solution, created to identify errors in design related to Section 508 standards and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. This service is a free accessibility validation tester.
    • E-Toolbox from University of Connecticut features e-Tools that faculty can select and incorporate into course planning, content delivery, and assessment of student learning in online and technology blended courses to address the different learning styles of students, including students with cognitive disabilities.
    • WebAIM Section 508 Checklist: A checklist by WebAim to determine if your online materials and courses are complaint.