Resources for Accessible Teaching
The NIU Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center has compiled the following information and resources for faculty regarding accessible instruction. This webpage includes NIU based resources as well as general resources categorized as Pedagogy, Technology, Legislation, Guidelines, and Accessibility and Learning Management Systems. Development of this webpage is ongoing, with new resources added regularly, so feel free to visit often.
- Disability Resource Center
Formerly the Center for Access-Ability Resources, advocates accessible opportunities by providing a wide range of support services tailored to the individual student, including admissions arrangements, auxiliary aids (interpreters, note takers, readers, etc.), books in alternative formats, advising/counseling, adapted equipment/computers, special residence hall arrangements, etc. Information about the Center can be found at http://niu.edu/disability/ and 815-753-1303.
- University Libraries Services for People with Disabilities
- The goal of Access and Public Services is to offer specialized library-use assistance to any person with any kind of disability who wishes to use library materials and other resources. Assistance will be specifically tailored to the needs of the individual. Assistive equipment is available in a specialized study room. Information about services offered can be found at http://www.ulib.niu.edu/services/disabilities.cfm
- Web Accessibility [PowerPoint]
Presentation describing issues related to the development of accessible web sites
- AccessDL (National Center on Accessible Distance Learning)
This University of Washington website provides guidance and resources on making distance learning courses accessible to students and instructors with disabilities.
- Applications of Universal Design
Promotes the use of universal design principles to create a more accessible and usable world
- Best Practices for Designing Accessible Websites, Software and Content
Provides resources to accessible websites and software, accessible course materials, verifying compliance, and validating code. Other resources include references to paper books, electronic books, and research articles.
- Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework for designing curricula that enable all individuals to gain knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm for learning. UDL provides rich supports for learning and reduces barriers to the curriculum while maintaining high achievement standards for all.
- Equal Access: Universal Design of Distance Learning
Presents legal issues and standards for accessibility, universal design, and ten indicators for accessible distance learning programs
- Equal Access: Universal Design of Instruction [VIDEO]
How to make instruction in a classroom or in a tutoring center accessible to all students
- GRADE: Accessible Distance Education and Universal Design for Learning
Features a 10 module tutorial on the creation of accessible and usable distance education materials, course design models, facts sheets on essential points of accessible design, and guidelines for accessible distance education.
- Illinois Center for Information Technology Accessibility
University of Illinois website listing online courses on accessibility, ADA/Accessibility Boot camp, Firebug Accessibility Evaluator, Seminar for Improving Accessibility for All: Using Universal Design for Media, Mobile Devices, and the Web.
- Illinois IT Accessibility Initiative: ITaccess, University of Illinois
A compilation of accessibility resources and facts for faculty and staff when creating web sites, course materials and online documents. Training tutorials, best practices, links to DRES resources, tools for evaluation and requirements of the IITAA are all covered.
- PDF Accessibility and Usability Issues [VIDEO]
Sean Keegan, a premier expert on document and web accessibility, addresses usability and accessibility issues of the PDF, strategies for the creation of accessible electronic documents, and the appropriate use of software applications to ensure accessibility of web documents.
- Real Connections: Making Distance Learning Accessible to Everyone [VIDEO]
Video presentation providing guidelines for designing Internet-based distance learning courses to fully include all students, including those with disabilities. The presentation is open-captioned and audio-described to assure access to the content for viewers who are deaf or blind, respectively.
- The ABC's of Accessible Design
Describes the process of using word processors and HTML editors for accessible documents.
- The Center for Universal Design
The Center for Universal Design (CUD) is a national information, technical assistance, and research center that evaluates, develops, and promotes accessible and universal design in housing, commercial and public facilities, outdoor environments, and products. Our mission is to improve environments and products through design innovation, research, education and design assistance.
- Universal Design and Online Accessibility [VIDEO]
An informative discussion on the value of Universal Design in Learning and Online Accessibility.
- What is Accessible Design?
This website provides users with the resources required to transform their online content so it can be accessed, understood and enjoyed by all audiences.
- 7 Things You Should Know about E-Readers [PRINT]
Educause explores the pros and cons of this evolving technology
- Accessibility.tv [VIDEO]
Describes a number of applications of assistive technology and instruction
- Accessibility Features in Firefox [PRINT]
Assistive technology support on Windows
- AccessIT (National Center on Accessible Information Technology in Education) [PRINT]
Promotes the use of electronic and information technology (E&IT) for students and employees with disabilities in educational institutions at all academic levels.
- AccessSTEM (Alliance for Access to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) [PRINT]
Assists K-12 teachers, postsecondary educators, and employers make classroom and employment opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) accessible to individuals with disabilities, and provides a place to share promising practices
- AccessSTEM Knowledge Base [PRINT]
Enter search text "audio description" for listing of responses to queries including 'How can people who are blind access video and multimedia products?', 'What legal issues are associated with access to video products for students with sensory impairments?' and 'How can I ensure that a student who is deaf can access the content in my podcast?'
- AccessSTEM Knowledge Base (enter search text "caption as") [PRINT]
A knowledge base for answers to common questions, case studies, and promising practices regarding how precollege and college educators can make science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses and programs accessible to students with disabilities.
- Adobe Accessibility Resources Center [PRINT]
Features accessibility products, case studies, best practices, tutorials, accessibility blog, and information for users with disabilities.
- Caption Features for Indicating Non-Speech information [PRINT]
Describes a study is to improve captioning of "non-speech information" (NSI). NSI is a term to describe aspects of the sound track, other than spoken words, that convey information about plot, humor, mood, or meaning of a spoken passage.
- Closing the Gap Resource Directory [PRINT]
Provides parents and educators alike, the information and training necessary to locate, compare, and implement assistive technology
- Creating Video and Multimedia Products that are Accessible to People with Sensory Impairments [PRINT]
University of Washington website describes the process and issues associated with enhancing accessibility of multimedia content
- EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information) (Site not active)
Provider of online training on accessible information technology for persons with disabilities
- Internet Explorer 8 Accessibility Tutorials [PRINT]
These tutorials provide step by step instructions for adjusting the accessibility settings in Internet Explorer 8. Steps are provided for both mouse and keyboard actions.
- National Captioning Institute [PRINT]
The National Captioning Institute (NCI) was established in 1979 as a nonprofit corporation with the mission of ensuring that deaf and hard of hearing people, as well as others who can benefit from the service, have access to television's entertainment and news through the technology of closed captioning.
- National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) [PRINT]
Links to a variety of resources including specialized captioning software, guidelines/tools/recommendations, and examples of rich media
- National Center on Accessible Information Technology in Education [PRINT]
AccessIT promotes the use of electronic and information technology (E&IT) for students and employees with disabilities in educational institutions at all academic levels
- Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America [PRINT]
Professional society for individuals and organizations interested in technology and disability. RESNA contributes to the public welfare through scientific, literary, professional and educational activities by supporting the development, dissemination, and utilization of knowledge and practice pertaining to rehabilitation and assistive technology so that all citizens can achieve the highest quality of life.
- Safari Features [PRINT]
Learn about the 200 + innovative features available in Safari 5 including Accessibility.
- Snow (Special Needs Ontario Window) Adaptive Technology [PRINT]
Overview of resources, reviews, and links pertaining to adaptive technologies
- Technology and Universal Design [PRINT]
Extensive collection of publications, video presentations, web resources concerning information technology and universal design, and an overview describing the value of technology Access for people with disabilities
- Web Accessibility Center at the Ohio State University [VIDEO]
This website presents a range of accessible-related topics including captioning YouTube videos, providing accessible playback controls, creating accessible PDFs, captioning Flash web video and video for iPod, and utilizing JW player controls for accessible Flash web video.
- Working Together: People with Disabilities and Computer Technology [VIDEO]
This video presentation provides an overview of adaptive technology and computer applications for people with disabilities.
- YouTube's Auto-Captioning: Accessibility, Searchability, Profitability? [PRINT]
Article exploring YouTube’s implementation of auto-captioning technology.
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Home Page [FEDERAL]
List variety of resources including ADA design standards, information line, the technical assistance program, enforcement, code certification, new or proposed regulations, and the ADA Mediation program.
- Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended [FEDERAL]
List the current text of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 [ADA], including changes made by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-325), which became effective on January 1, 2009.
- Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards (section 508) [FEDERAL]
List general information (purpose, application, general exceptions, definitions, and equivalent facilitation), technical standards, functional performance criteria, and information, documentation, and support.
- IBHE Web Accessibility Consortium [STATE]
Supports the implementation of the Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act (IITAA) in higher education institutions throughout Illinois
- iCITA Web Accessibility Best Practices [STATE]
University of Illinois website designed to give web developers the markup techniques they need to make web resources functionality accessible to people with disabilities and comply with the Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act (IITAA) Web Accessibility Standards, Section 508 Information Technology Accessibility Standards and the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 1.0
- Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act of 2008 IITAA Standards [STATE]
The Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act (IITAA) requires Illinois agencies and universities to ensure that their web sites, information systems, and information technologies are accessible to people with disabilities.
- Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) – Assistive Technology Standards [FEDERAL]
RESNA is a standards developing organization accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
- Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America – Resources Education [FEDERAL]
Describes two types of training courses for Assistive Technology Society
- Section 508 [FEDERAL]
Resources for understanding and implementing Section 508
- Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990 [FEDERAL]
Describes the Act requiring new televisions to have built in decoder circuitry.
- The Telecommunications Act of 1996 [FEDERAL]
In the Matter of Implementation of Section 305 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 NPRM on Closed Captioning and Video Description of Video Programming, Video Programming Accessibility (MM Docket No. 95-176)
- Web Accessibility Resource Center [FEDERAL]
Links to resources on Section 508 policy, articles on accessibility, accessibility tools/dictionary/requirements
- 10 Things You Should Know about Accessibility
Series of questions/answers concerning web accessibility
- Firefox Accessibility Extension
This University of Illinois website provides an overview and instructions for the installation of the Firefox Accessibility Extension. This extension makes it easier for people with disabilities to view and navigate web content
- Functional Accessibility Evaluator (FAE)
Evaluate the functional accessibility of a single web page
- HEATH Resource Center – Online Clearinghouse on Postsecondary Education for Individuals with Disabilities
The HEATH Resource Center of The George Washington University, Graduate School of Education and Human Development, is an online clearinghouse on postsecondary education for individuals with disabilities.
- IMS Guidelines for Developing Accessible Learning Applications
Resources on a range of accessibility issues, including a primer on accessibility, principles for accessibility in online distributed learning, using XML for accessibility, and guidelines for accessible delivery of text, audio, images, and multimedia
- Simple Tips for Website Accessibility
Practical tips for making a website, that includes audio, video, images, and text, more accessible
- W3C, Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
Web site provides introduction to accessibility, guidelines and techniques, and managing/evaluating accessibility. WAI develops guidelines widely regarded as the international standard for Web accessibility
- WebAIM - (Web Accessibility in Mind)
Resources for accessibility training, evaluation, design & delivery, as well as solutions for education. Also includes feature articles on evaluating web accessibility, and comments from the WebAIM Blog
- Adobe Connect Success Story
Distinguished university uses Adobe® Connect™ to make content accessible at the world’s largest technical college for deaf and hard-of-hearing students
- Blackboard Accessibility Resources
Video sessions in which a blind user is using JAWS to interact with and complete various tasks in Blackboard Learn including submitting an assignment, taking a test, building content and grading students
- Blackboard and Accessibility
Suggestions for using JAWS with Blackboard
- Wimba Accessibility
Known for its online collaborative suite of software providing opportunities to connect instructors and students in both synchronous and asynchronous contexts, Wimba provides examples of applying accessibility technology, product accessibility templates, and tools.
- Wimba Study Break: Accessible Collaboration in the Online Classroom [Archived Wimba Session]
In 2008, Dr. Sam Slike and a colleague of his at Bloomsburg University won the USDLA national distance learning teaching award because of their innovative use of Wimba to teach deaf and hard-of-hearing students. In this archived Wimba session, Dr. Slike shares his latest accessibility teaching work. Also, Valerie Haven of UMass Boston shares how she set-up closed captioning to stream through the accessible Wimba Classroom interface to make it possible for a deaf and blind student to read the captioning on her Braille keyboard while also using JAWS (text to speech) to read the text chat and to communicate with her instructor and classmates.
Additional information or resources?
Do you have an additional resource to share with NIU faculty? Email the URL, title, and brief description of suggested resources to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center staff are available for consultations on strategies for accessible teaching and can be reached at 815-753-0595, email@example.com (for faculty), and firstname.lastname@example.org (for TAs).
Last Updated: 3/11/2015