Creating Accessible Course Materials

All materials distributed to students, whether in-class or online, in hard copy or electronic format, by faculty or TA, must be accessible to those who use adaptive technology software, such as screen readers. This page has various resources on how to make your course materials accessible for all students. 

If you would like to learn more about screen readers, we have a Screen Reader Quick Start Guide created by Kevin Andrews available to download as a pdf or word doc.

Here are 5 quick tips for inclusive course design:

  1. Select and use video content (DVDs, YouTube videos, etc.) that has closed captioning. Best practice is to always turn captions on. This benefits not just Deaf or hard-of-hearing students, but students whose first language is not English.
  2. Select textbooks and readings or update existing course materials at least five weeks before classes start. Many of our students require course materials in alternate formats. Students with print disabilities require texts in Braille, large print, electronic and/or audio formats. The DRC works in advance of each quarter and then throughout the first weeks to convert required readings into formats that are usable by students with disabilities. A delay in providing updated course materials results in delays for our students, a challenge that is difficult to overcome in a 10-week quarter.

  3. Include the following language in your syllabus:

    UC Santa Cruz is committed to creating an academic environment that supports its diverse student body. If you are a student with a disability who requires accommodations to achieve equal access in this course, please submit your Accommodation Authorization Letter from the Disability Resource Center (DRC) to me privately during my office hours or by appointment, as soon as possible in the academic quarter, preferably within 1 week. I also encourage you to discuss with me ways we can ensure your full participation in this course. I encourage all students who may benefit to learn about the DRC and the UCSC accommodation process. You can visit the DRC website at drc.ucsc.edu. You can make an appointment and meet in-person with a DRC staff member. The phone number is 831-459-2089, or email drc@ucsc.edu.

  4. Provide clean copies of articles for course readers, library or ERes holdings, and eCommons postings (e.g. not crooked, and free of underlining and/or notes in the margins).

  5. Learn about and use accessibility and universal design practices. Examples include website PowerPoint Slides with Alt Tag descriptions and text instead of image PDFs.