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 includes 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, online 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.

When creating online courses, keeping in mind the principles of universal design will help you ensure that materials are easy to use and understand for all learners. For specific questions, please contact Cornell Student Disability Services (SDS). Additional resources related to accessibility for digital content can be found on CIT's Accessibility Website.

Considerations for Accessibility

In blended and online courses, accessibility needs to be considered before students may disclose a disability. Try to add course materials as pages instead of as documents to increase the accessibility of the content. Captioning and transcripts may have a fee associated with them.

Getting Started with Accessibility

Contact the Center for more information on accessibility in blended and online courses or explore the Resource Library items on your own. For general information about accessibility, contact Cornell Student Disability Services (SDS).