What is Accessibility and Why Does it Matter?
Designing with accessibility in mind means taking steps to ensure that everyone has equal opportunity to engage with digital and web content, including course materials. Being proactive in creating accessible course content prepares you to meet the needs of diverse learners, now and in the future. Teaching and Learning with Technology provides many resources to help you as you work to create accessible course content.
We encourage you to take advantage of the TLT resources below, as well as those provided by other Rutgers units:
Online Training Opportunities
- Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Training Course (self-paced): This course is self-paced, available anytime, and free to all Rutgers faculty, staff, and graduate students. You can work through it at your convenience. It should take you about five hours to complete, though it does not need to be done all at once! This course is intended to be an introduction to the key concepts of Universal Design and accessibility, and to provide practical examples of how you can make course materials more universally accessible.
- UDL Training Course in Canvas
- UDL Training Course in Sakai
- Online Teaching Certificate Course: Universal Design and Accessibility in Online Teaching. This non-credit course is offered online over a 5-week period and is asynchronous, but not self-paced. The course introduces some basic concepts related to accessibility in online courses, and the benefits of using "universal design" for course materials. Participants will learn about the wide variety of access challenges, in online courses, and practice creating robust and broadly accessible materials. The cost for Rutgers faculty, staff & graduate students is $100 per course. Click the link above to register and view upcoming dates.
1-on-1 Accessibility Consultation with an Instructional Designer
Video Tutorials and Webinars
- Tutorial Video: Accessibility and Universal Design: Text and Documents . Video focuses on using headers and styles effectively, and on how to make accessible PDFs.
- Tutorial Video: Accessibility and Universal Design: Math & Equations. This video focuses on how to use the math editors of common Learning Management Systems to create accessible mathematical equations on the web, and how to convert LaTeX to MathML.
- Sensus Access Tutorial Video. SensusAccess is a web-based, self-service application that allows users to automatically convert documents into a range of alternate and accessible formats.
- Video Tutorial: Accessibility and Universal Design: Images and Video. Video focuses on how to add alt text and captions to images, and how to prepare a video for captioning.
- Video: Captioning Kaltura videos using Cielo24: Videos created in Kaltura are automatically captioned by Cielo 24 using automatic speech recognition. This service provides 70-95% accuracy. Video owners will need to review and edit their captions for accuracy. If you are an instructor in a course that uses Canvas, Moodle, or Sakai, you may wish to notify your students to report any errors to you. Include a note in your syllabus that all captions are machine-generated and to contact you regarding inaccuracies. The instructions below are for Canvas but apply to all of the systems that use Kaltura:
- How to find your video’s captions
- How to request captions
- How to access the caption editor
- How to edit your video captions
- Video Tutorial: Accessibility and Universal Design: Course Management. Video covers what information should be included in course documents, and how to structure your course consistently
- Video: How to use UDOIT. This video, by the makers of the UDOIT accessibility checker, briefly demonstrates how to use the checker in Canvas.
- Workshop: Creating Accessible Online Content: This workshop is designed to explore how to design courses and materials that are accessible to all students. We will cover the basics of online accessibility, focusing on best practices for creating accessible course materials such as text documents (Word/PDF), images, and videos with captions. We’ll also go over key accessibility features in the Canvas LMS.
- Workshop: Universal Design and Inclusive Teaching Strategies: This workshop will introduce you to the principles of inclusive teaching and Universal Design, frameworks which focus on designing learning spaces and experiences that meet the needs of diverse learners. You will leave this workshop with practical strategies, tips, and ideas to make your classroom a place where all students are welcomed and empowered to succeed.
Product Accessibility Statement
An Accessibility Statement, also known as a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT), explains how a product, tool, or technology fulfills key accessibility laws and guidelines. The VPAT may also highlight different accessibility features that the designers think are relevant to the user. For each tool or technology you plan to use in your course, copy the relevant accessibility statement link from the list below, and add it to your syllabus or course site for student reference.
The Rutgers IT Accessibility website provides resources for faculty members, web designers/developers, and other university staff to address accessibility in information technology. Included are tools to aid in web accessibility, online course accessibility, instructional materials, assistive and adaptive technology, video/multimedia captioning, and software procurement. Information technology accessibility in the Rutgers context is the application of universal design principles and accessibility standards to make websites, web applications, and various services usable by all members of the university community. The Rutgers University Web Accessibility Policy defines the standards for the accessibility and usability of web-based information and services in order to create an inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff, and to proactively comply with federal regulation and law.
Accessibility Policies and Standards: In order to provide more accessible services, Rutgers has instituted a Web Accessibility policy and is generating an Online Course Accessibility policy. These policies encompass the regulatory principles that the university wishes to adhere to in the effort to increase accessibility at Rutgers.
Instructional Accessibility: This section offers a series of accessibility standards for various document types, tutorials for learning management systems and hardware, and a prepared course-pack for instructors. This includes the Rutgers Accessibility Guidelines, as well as specific tips and strategies regarding accessible syllabi, PowerPoint presentations, PDFs, and more
Assistive Technology: Assistive Technology (AT) is any piece of technology, ranging from low-tech to high-tech that can assist individuals with disabilities. For this purpose, Rutgers has compiled a list of some assistive technologies (including some that Rutgers has worked with), tutorials, and instructions on how to acquire the tools.
SensusAccess: SensusAccess is a self-service, alternate media solution for educational institutions. SensusAccess allows students, faculty, staff and alumni to automatically convert documents into a range of alternate media including audio books (MP3 and DAISY), e-books (EPUB, EPUB3 and Mobi) and digital Braille. The service can also be used to convert inaccessible documents such as image-only PDF files, JPG pictures and Microsoft PowerPoint presentations into more accessible and less tricky formats.
Office of Disability Services
At every Rutgers campus there is a designated office that provides services for students with disabilities. ODS provides the necessary tools, resources and support for individuals with disabilities to become responsible decision-makers and self-advocates in charge of their own future.
Faculty Information: This section contains important information to help you work with the Office of Disabilities (ODS) in the management of a student's approved reasonable accommodations. Also in this section you will find suggestions for working with students with disabilities, and finally, information for faculty and staff with disabilities.
Syllabus Statement: ODS provides a recommended syllabus statement that should be included in all syllabi.
Accessibility Toolkit: Toolkit of resources for accessible websites, online courses, technology, course materials, and assistive technology
Contact: ODS serves all Rutgers students with disabilities, including those on the New Brunswick, Newark, Camden and satellite campuses. Visit the Contact page for information on office locations as well as contact details for ODS staff.