Q: Do your instructional materials allow students to choose or adjust how they study? Or, do you present instruction and materials using only text and lecture? (If so, it lacks accessibility.)
UDL’s multiple means of representation encourages you to deliver instruction in different forms, so that students can choose a method that best facilitates their learning. Offering multiple versions of content—and using multiple teaching methods—is the broadest accessibility solution.
Video and Multimedia
Using video, audio, or animation to supplement or replace your lectures can improve students’ retention of ideas and engagement with your learning materials. And multimedia meets the accessibility needs of students who may be blind, deaf (“D”eaf), or hard of hearing.
- Web Conferences
- Video Chat
- LMS Recording Features (Blackboard Collaborate/Ultra, Kaltura)
Captions and Transcripts
Onscreen captioning and transcripts help all students, even those without disabilities, better understand what is being said or shown and, by extension, make them better able to study a video’s content.
- How do I request caption/ transcript services for videos? (ODU)
- Captions, Transcripts, and Audio Descriptions (WebAim)
- Add subtitles & closed captions (YouTube)
- Correct YouTube Auto-Captions
- Captions for Blackboard Collaborate (Blackboard LMS)
Request captioning from the YouTube video’s creator, if auto-caption is too inaccurate.
Photos and Graphics
Photos, graphic organizers, and illustrations can explain, exemplify and replace text materials—this makes content more accessible to students who struggle with cognitive or learning disabilities, text comprehension, or reading on a computer screen.
- Venn Diagrams
- Mind Map
- Smart Art (PPT feature)
PowerPoints, Handouts, and Note Sharing
Printable versions of your lectures or videos, like PowerPoint slides, can guide learning, and they address the needs of students who struggle with video or audio. Note sharing and using guided notes have been shown to highlight critical information and assist students who have cognitive disabilities.
Students expect digital textbooks, but be aware that not all digital textbooks are accessible. In fact, many are locked down for proprietary reasons, preventing students from printing (or selling) copies. Instructors should ensure there are accessible options before adopting a textbook. Digital material should be searchable and work with assistive technology, like text-to-speech. Publishers provide electronic textbooks to students with disability accommodation requests. Or, there are many open sources: