Accessibility

What is accessibility?

Accessibility ensures that all students can equally access, use, and understand learning content. This is often achieved through universal design. Universal design for learning takes into consideration a variety of learning modalities and disabilities. Accessible course materials include but not limited to alt text for images and graphs, a clear course structure, and captioning and transcripts for course media like videos and audio.

Why is accessibility important?

Legally, digital course materials are required to be accessible to all students (see WebAIM’s overview of United States Laws). However, designing accessible course content is not solely for the benefit of students with disabilities. Research has shown that all students can benefit from certain improvements in the usability of course materials. For example, providing accurate video transcripts can improve comprehension for non-native speakers.

Who’s responsible?

Accessibility is a shared responsibility between the instructor and the university. Numerous resources are available on campus to help you understand your responsibilities and to carry them out. Find out more about the units on campus, including the CTI, and how they can help.

Accessible Course Content

One of the main responsibilities we have is making course materials accessible to students. This includes digital materials that will be emailed or posted online, to Canvas or Blackboard, or any other online space you use in your course.

Use our accessibility checklist to review your course content, update that content, and to create new accessible materials. 

Further Resources

Student Disability Services has a number of resources to help instructors improve access and inclusion. This should be your first stop if a student already enrolled in your course has requested accommodations. 

IT@Cornell has resources for maintaining accessible websites.

Cornell University maintains a website for accessibility information broadly, including for events.