Common Questions on Accessible Instructional Materials

We've collected and answered most common questions about accessible instructional materials below. Please feel free to contact us if you have further questions.

Why do I need to make materials accessible if I don’t have any students with a disability in my class?

We want to provide a learning environment that’s accessible to everyone regardless of disability.

  1. How do you know a student with a disability is not enrolled in your class? Disabilities manifest themselves in various degrees. They’re not always visible or apparent, and a student will not necessarily identify themselves as having a disability.
  2. One ultimate outcome of the Accessible Technology Initiative is that all materials will be accessible to as many people as possible from the outset. As instructors want to reach as many people as possible in their instruction, this principle ensures that nobody falls through the cracks.

How will I know if there is a student with a disability in my class?

We want to provide a learning environment that’s accessible to everyone regardless of disability.

Students are not required to self-identify their disability. That is each student’s prerogative. Those who are registered with the Disability Programs and Resource Center (DPRC) are encouraged to discuss their needs with instructors.

Another thing to keep in mind is that students with disabilities may feel ashamed, may be in denial or may be even unaware that they have a disability.

All students eligible for services through the DPRC meet documentation requirements.

What can I do if I don’t know ahead of time what textbook or other materials I will require for my class?

In those situations it's important that the instructor be in close communication with the student and the Accessible Media Coordinator in order to make the necessary information available as soon as possible.

I have a full teaching load, so I do not have a lot of free time, but are there manageable things I can do as an instructor to assist the students in my class who require alternate formats?

There are 3 things that are not too time-consuming but would be tremendously helpful to a student who uses accessible media.

  • First, select your textbooks in a timely fashion. If we have 7-8 weeks lead time, we can find or produce the books by the start of classes.
  • Second, when you have a course reader that needs to be converted to another medium, give us the cleanest copy you can, either your master copy or links to on-line articles if possible. It takes us three times as long to proofread a course reader as it does a textbook because of the varying quality of the material, so you can help speed that up considerably.
  • Third, plan your reading schedule well in advance and stick to it. Because of the volume we deal with, we have to produce books in pieces according to the reading schedule. If your schedule is not clear or you change it after the class starts, students who use alternate media can be without reading materials for 1-2 weeks while we convert the newly assigned material.