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Accessibility in Distance Education

Accessibility in Online and Hybrid Courses

In accordance with university policy and federal law, all members of the university community are responsible for ensuring that faculty, staff, and students are not discriminated against because of a disability. To accomplish this goal, reasonable and appropriate accommodations may be necessary for physical or programmatic access. Online and hybrid courses also must be accessible to students with disabilities. As online and hybrid faculty affirm when completing the Best Practices Checklist for Online and Hybrid Courses, instructors must use accessible technologies and provide guidance on how to obtain special accommodations. Instructors are required to provide equivalent, text-based alternatives to all auditory and visual content. Course designs must accommodate the use of assistive technologies such as screen readers, and no aspect of any online or hybrid course may prevent reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. 

Providing Accommodations to Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities are legally entitled to request accommodations at any time during the semester. Faculty members are encouraged to help students identify their needs early by including an accommodation statement in their course syllabus. An accommodation statement may read:

"If you are a student with a disability who will require an accommodation(s) to participate in this course, please contact me as soon as possible. You will be asked to provide documentation from the Office of Disability services. Failure to contact me in a timely manner may delay your accommodations."

Faculty Resources

University Policy
UPPS 07.11.01: Disability Services for Students provides policy statements and procedures for providing students with accommodations.

Office of Disability Services
The Office of Disability Services website provides extensive resources for faculty, including accommodation resources, information on creating an inclusive environment, a Teaching Resource Guide, and additional information on accessibility.

TRACS Support
The TRACS Support Disability Accommodations page provides information on making courses accessible, universal design, and teaching strategies.

Mediaflo
Faculty can learn how to create captions and transcripts using Mediaflo, the University's online media management system.