Frequently Asked Questions - Accessibility :: Instructional Materials

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Any informational content that is required as a component for participation in curricular activities; the basis for most assigned readings, discussions, activities and examinations; effectively the raw material for curricular learning.

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The University has created a guidelines document named Accessible Syllabus Format Guidance which can be downloaded in Word format from Document Center in the Resources Section of the Training and Professional Development website. This document will help guide you in making sure you have addressed all the necessary and appropriate items within the structure of your syllabus. If you have specific questions related to the accessibility of your syllabus, please review the other documents addressing syllabus accessibility in the Document Center; if you still have questions, you can contact the Technology Help Desk at help@humboldt.edu or (707) 826-HELP (4357).

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Much of the timeline requirements are already in place, with the exception of those materials for which incorporating accessibility is not possible or would constitute an undue burden. In those situations, a plan to provide an equally effective alternate form of access must be developed, documented, and communicated. 

By the Fall Term of 2012, instructional materials and websites for all course offerings are required to be accessible; the undue burden exception and requirements as described above continue to apply.

The full timeline published by the Chancellor's Office as part of the Accessible Technology Initiative is available on the HSU Accessible Technology Initiative website.

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Instructional Materials (IM) are considered to be forms of communication and must therefore be delivered in a manner that is equally effective for persons with disabilities. Communication is considered to be equally effective when it is:

  • comparable in quality to those received by students without disabilities
  • comparable in timeliness of delivery and availability
  • provided in a manner and medium appropriate to the significance of the message and the abilities of the person receiving the material
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  • Paper based print materials (books, reader packets, reserve readings, lab manuals, handouts, syllabi, written exams)
  • Electronic materials (web-based and Moodle-based content; electronic reserves, book bundled e-text, computerized exams)
  • Multimedia materials (web-based video/audio, commercial DVDs, materials bundled with books, photographic slides or lab samples)
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It depends. Moodle is generally accessible, but problems can arise if content is added to Moodle without consideration to accessibility. For example, if streaming videos are added to the online environment, they need to have captions or at least transcripts for students who are deaf. Documents need to be accessible for screen readers, etc – bear in mind that some PDF documents are not automatically accessible.

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Absolutely. No one expects faculty to be experts on this issue, nor do we expect your syllabus and instructional materials to become fully accessible overnight. There are a wide range of resources available on campus to assist you. The Faculty  Development Office, the Student Disability Resource Center and the Technology Help Desk are pooling resources to jointly develop training classes and a quick reference of "How To's" to support faculty.

A foundational course, presented by Provost Snyder, is available at the Student Disability Resource Center's Project ASD website and covers the following topics:

  • disability law
  • the accommodation process
  • working with students who have disabilities
  • universal design

Course materials have been developed in collaboration with Disability Service Offices throughout the country and provide a solid basis for additional learning. A growing list of Accessibility training classes can be found in the Training and Professional Development catalog.

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As you improve existing courses or develop new courses, think about the small ways you can make a big difference.

  • Get your text book orders in on time
  • Order DVDs with captioning
  • Turn captioning on when showing a video
  • Review the ATI quick-start tools on the Faculty Development Web page
  • Consider attending a training session, or talk to a colleague who has attended training
  • Talk to the Student Disability Resource Office for advice on reasonable accommodation for out-of-the-ordinary instructional materials
  • Keep in mind that in the end the small changes you make to accommodate students with disabilities will improve course delivery for all students

No one is asking you to completely revamp your course delivery to accommodate the possibility of a disabled student arriving in your class. We are asking you to think about small changes you can make so that all students, regardless of whether or not they self-identify as disabled, are most likely to be successful in your course.

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