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Accessibility/UDL: Guides, Instructions, Checklists, and Tools


Quick Accessibility Checklist (HTML)
The Quick Accessibility Checklist is designed to help faculty and staff who want to develop or modify Web-based course material, lectures, and assignments in an accessible way. It covers multimedia elements, web tools, HTML tags, and advanced web design.

How Do You Teach (PDF)
A checklist to determine how well your teaching methods align with the principles of Universal Design for Learning.

Ten Tips for Accessible Documents (HTML)
Have you ever realized that not everyone receiving your documents can read and understand them as well as you think? Regrettably, most of us don’t consider people with disabilities when creating documents. The tips in this checklist can help you create documents that cater to your whole audience, not just a portion of it.

Tips for Making Online Documents Accessible: Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and PDF (HTML)
Web accessibility means committing to making your website accessible to all users, regardless of their physical or sensory ability. But accessible design extends beyond your website. To be truly accessible, any documents provided as links to download must also be accessible. This article contains tips for making such documents accessible, as well as links to checklists specific to Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and PDF.

20 Tips for Teaching an Accessible Online Course (HTML)
Covers both the design of course materials and instructional methods. Produced by DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) as part of the DO-IT AccessCyberlearning project.


Accessible Syllabus (HTML)
The philosophy statement on Accessible Syllabus reads as follows:

“This website is dedicated to helping instructors build a syllabus that plans for diverse student abilities and promotes an atmosphere in which students feel comfortable discussing their unique abilities. Countless instructors complain that students don’t read the syllabus. We believe students would use the document more effectively if it were designed more accessibly.”

Developed by Tulane University graduate students, with support from the Tulane Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching, Accessible Syllabus is an interesting mix of practical guidelines and high-minded advocacy, with an emphasis on questioning traditional policies and practices.

Composing Access: Enhancing Accessibility at Conferences (HTML)
Developed by the Committee on Disability Issues in College Composition (CDICC) and the Computers & Composition Digital Press (CCDP), Composing Access is a guide to enhancing access at academic conferences, with tips and strategies for preparing accessible presentations, enhancing accessibility while delivering presentations, and organizing an accessible academic conference.

DIY Resources for Closed Captioning and Transcription (PDF)
While using a 3rd party captioning service certainly makes the captioning and transcription process easier for video producers, sometimes it is not a plausible solution (mainly due to cost). People often ask if there is a “free” way to caption their videos. If you want accurate captions, usually the only free way to get them is to do it yourself. This guide takes you through the DIY captioning and transcription workflow and includes helpful tools, different workflow strategies, and captioning and transcription standards to help make the DIY process as quick and easy as possible.

From Theory to Practice: UDL Quick Tips (PDF)
A quick-start guide to incorporating the principles of universal design for learning into learning objectives, instructional materials, teaching methods, and assessment.

Guide to Alternative Text (HTML)
Adding alternative text for images is the first principle of web accessibility. It is also one of the most difficult to properly implement. The web is replete with images that have missing, incorrect, or poor alternative text. Like many things in web accessibility, determining appropriate, equivalent, alternative text is often a matter of personal interpretation. Through the use of examples, this article presents appropriate use of alternative text.

Media and Materials: Guidelines (HTML)
Developed and maintained by UDL on Campus by CAST, this resource provides guidelines for developing and using media and materials in accord with the principles of Universal Design for Learning, including such media and materials as video, audio, images, text, web conferencing, open educational resources, and ePubs (digital books).

Presentations and Hearing Loss: Strategies for Inclusiveness (HTML)
Tips and techniques for making a presentation without excluding people with hearing loss.

Real Connections: Making Distance Learning Accessible to Everyone (Video)
Educators and students share guidelines for designing Internet-based distance learning courses to fully include all students, including those with disabilities.

Universal Design: Places to Start (HTML)
This wiki is maintained by Jay T. Dolmage, an associate professor of English at the University of Waterloo. It contains a variety of guides to integrating the principles of universal design into many aspects of college courses. Among the topics covered are the following:

Universal Design for Learning Syllabus (HTML)
According to UDL on Campus by CAST, “A syllabus based on the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) has the potential to provide additional access and participation in a postsecondary course. This type of syllabus provides a variety of options for how information will be presented for the course, how students will be assessed, and ways to participate in the course as well as explicit expectations and available supports.”  This resource contains information about developing a syllabus and an example of a syllabus highlighting UDL considerations.

Universal Design: Process, Principles, and Application (HTML)
When principles of universal design are applied, products and environments meet the needs of potential users with a wide variety of characteristics. For example, applying the principles of universal design to a typical service counter in a place of business might result a counter that has multiple heights—the standard height designed for individuals within the average range of height and a shorter height for those who are shorter than average or who use a wheelchair for mobility. This guide defines the principles of universal design, describes the process of using them, and provides examples of their application.

Web Accessibility 101: Web Headings for Screen Readers (Video)
Jeremy Hartley, Accessibility Analyst at SSB BART Group, demonstrates how screen reader users navigate websites using heading commands.


Creating Accessible Documents in Microsoft Office (HTML)
Developed by Microsoft for teachers, this 1-hour online course provides information about the following topics:

  • the importance of creating accessible documents
  • creating new and revising old Word, OneNote and PowerPoint documents so they are accessible to everyone
  • Skype Translator and Office Lens as key tools for creating accessible content for all learners

Create Accessible PDFs from Microsoft Office Files (HTML)
Tagged PDF files make it easier for screen readers and other assistive technologies to determine a logical reading order and navigation for the file, as well as allowing for content reflow when using large type displays, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and mobile phones. This tagging can be done automatically when you save a file as PDF format starting in Microsoft Office 2007 versions of Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Visio, or Word.

Creating Accessible Google Drive Documents (Google Docs) (HTML)
Google Drive Documents (Google Docs) is the widely used word processing application available in Google Drive. At present, Google Docs is missing some key accessibility functions, but the methods in this tutorial will increase the accessibility of documents produced through Google Docs. Google Docs should be used with caution, as source material made through Google Docs cannot be made as accessible as source material produced through Microsoft Word.

Creating Accessible PowerPoint Presentations (HTML)
This article offers guidance on ways to create Microsoft PowerPoint presentations to make them more accessible to users with disabilities.

Creating Accessible Word Documents (HTML)
Creating Accessible Word Documents (Video)
Guidance on ways to create Microsoft Word documents to make them more accessible to users with disabilities. Learn how to format your document using Styles, add alternative text to images, and other tips to make your document easier for users and assistive technologies to navigate.

Creating Accessible Excel Workbooks (HTML)
This article offers guidance on ways that Microsoft Excel workbooks can be created in a way to make them more accessible.

Tech-Ease 4 All (HTML)
Help topics and how-to tutorials for accessibility options using Universal Access in Apple’s Mac OS X and Ease of Access in Microsoft Windows.


Easy Checks: A First Review of Web Accessibility (HTML)
Developed by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), this web site provides step-by-step instructions for checking the accessibility of web pages with the following checkers:

Find and Fix Accessibility Issues in Microsoft Word (Video)
Watch this 2-minute video to learn how to use Microsoft Word’s Accessibility Checker, which lets you find and fix issues that can make it difficult for people with disabilities to read or otherwise interact with your document.

Microsoft Office Accessibility Checker (HTML)
Like the spelling checker tells you about possible spelling errors, Accessibility Checker in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint tells you about possible accessibility issues in your Office file so you can fix these issues so someone with a disability can read and get to your content. Rules used by the Accessibility Checker.

Sub-Titling Text Add-In for Microsoft PowerPoint (HTML)
The Subtitling text add-in for Microsoft PowerPoint lets you add closed captions to the video and audio files you include in your presentations. If you work with captioned video and audio files that already have Timed Text Markup (TTML) files associated with them, this add-in lets you import them directly into your presentation. If you don’t have a TTML file, you can add captions directly in your presentation.