For institutions to be compliant with the law, increasing their online footprint of course offerings, adopting flexible models or hybrid teaching, the accessibility of courses must be a priority. Efforts to increase accessibility benefit not only those with permanent disabilities but also situational or temporary disabilities and those seeking supplementary study options.
A focus on accessibility and universal design facilitates equitable access to learning and course materials. The campus office or contact for disability services determines accommodations for students in accordance with the law.
Graphic created by the University of Illinois Chicago, text edited by the University of Saint Francis. Video: How Haben Girma Became Harvard Law's First Deafblind Graduate
Universal Design seeks to maximize usability by the most people possible. Microsoft's inclusive design methodology embraces this idea and Microsoft's Inclusive 101 Toolkit offers a good explanation of these concepts
OPTIONAL GRAPHIC (click this link for an editable version in Canva to brand to your institution):
According to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, any electronic information or technology that we develop, purchase, maintain or use must provide equitable access and use for individuals with disabilities. The access and use must be comparable to that provided to individuals without disabilities. To learn more visit the U. S. General Services Administration 508 website.
Higher education institutions that receive federal funds are also required to comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Section 504 requires that institutions "respond to the needs of students with disabilities to the same degree as other students," and "provide the auxiliary aids or services that are required to meet these needs, as long as this wouldn’t impose an undue burden" (see Essential Accessibility for more information). To learn more visit the Section 504 Website.
Failure to comply with Sections 504 and 508 may result in accessibility related lawsuits. This is the case in the time of Covid-19 as well, with the pivot to increased online learning.
For more information on campus accessibility, get in touch with:
**ADD CONTACT INFO HERE
You can also visit our website for Disabilities Services: **INSERT URL
PALNI's Accessibility: Creating a Culture of Outreach LibGuide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. PALNI’s logos and branding template are not covered by this license, and all rights to such material are reserved.
This guide was created by a task force of PALNI contributors.
Task Force Members:
Brent Graber | AMBS
Carla Harper | University of Indianapolis
Kelsey McLane | Goshen College
Nathalie Rouamba | University of Saint Francis
Noah Brubaker| PALNI
Higher education institutions strive to create an accessible and accommodating environment that is open to all learners. To best serve students, most institutions rely on policies and procedures to address identified accessibility or accommodation issues with course materials or structure. It is necessary for the institution as a whole to be familiar with, anticipate, and, when necessary, adjust for accessibility and accommodation requirements.
The University of Saint Francis strives to ensure that all people, including those with disabilities, have equal
A student wishing to notify the University of an issue with information and communication technology accessibility should contact the Executive Director of Student Success. The Executive Director will investigate any report and work with necessary university entities to evaluate how the level of accessibility can be addressed or improved. A non-USF student with an information and communication technology accessibility issue or question should contact who will follow-up and respond as needed.
Additionally, the Coordinator of Student Accessibility Services provides services and accommodations for students with disabilities in compliance with the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. To learn how to request assistance, visit https://accessibility.
Administrators at Greenvale State University recently decided to develop a comprehensive accessibility policy. Institutional leaders recognized a need to bring more clarity and cohesiveness to a pastiche of accessibility policies in various departments and offices. They also wanted to avoid finding themselves in the same situation as a nearby college that received a “Dear Colleague” letter from the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights sanctioning that institution for insufficient accessibility across much of its learning-related information technology. Greenvale convened a task force that included administrators, faculty, students, staff, and community members. After
auditing the university’s existing accessibility policies, the task force discovered that while some institutional departments and programs have long maintained accessibility policies, they are inconsistent and poorly executed. Meanwhile, some areas of the
university have no such policy.
From the on-campus experience at Harvard University to the online environment at community colleges across the country, institutions are grappling with how to make education accessible for all learners. That’s why the QM Community came together to build the Accessibility & Usability Resource Site (AURS).
"Accessible" means a person with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective and equally integrated manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use. The person with a disability must be able to obtain the information as fully, equally and independently as a person without a disability. Although this might not result in identical ease of use compared to that of persons without disabilities, it still must ensure equal opportunity to the educational benefits and opportunities afforded by the technology and equal treatment in the use of such technology. (Office of Civil Rights in the Resolution agreement with South Carolina Technical College System, 2/18/13)
Universal Design, or Inclusive Design, is the design and creation of environments both physical and digital that can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, physical stature, preferences, disability or ability. It should be a fundamental goal to design environments that meet the needs of all people. Incorporating the needs of all people results in spaces, products and service that are useful, beneficial and enjoyable for all.
Developing your electronic materials using Universal Design principles is easy and simply, good design. To learn more review the Universal Design tab at the top of this page.
Click on the tabs to open the collapsible content.