Disability Resource Center

Making Content Accessible

Why Accessibility?

It's the right thing to do.

  • People with disabilities are far more likely to run into barriers that prevent access to content.

It's the law.

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 and 508 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 mandate civil rights for individuals with disabilities and requires accessibility for said persons.

What is an Accessible Course?

What characterizes an accessible course?

  • Presents as few obstacles as possible to the diversity of learners.
  • The greater the accessibility, the more likely all students will have equitable opportunities for learning and growing.

Questions to Consider

  1. Can all my students access and benefit from the websites and digital files I use to share information?
  2. Will all my potential students be able to participate in core class activities, regardless of their physical ability?
  3. Can students demonstrate their mastery of learning goals without confronting unnecessary obstacles?
  4. Do I need to worry about accessibility if none of my students need accommodations?
    • Yes - especially if you plan to re-use the content each semester.  It will already be accessible for any new students who enter your class.

Choose Inclusive Pedagogies

  • Learn about your students.
  • Improve the usability of your Canvas site.
  • Include a syllabus statement

Inclusive pedagogy embraces this diversity and aims to engage students in learning that is meaningful, relevant, and accessible.  

Textbooks & Documents

  • Include ISBN on syllabus
  • Choose texts that have an accessible version – e-versions of textbooks with added accessibility features benefit students who are/have:
    • Blind or Low-Vision
    • Deaf or Hard of Hearing
    • Learning Disabilities
    • Physical Disabilities
  • Avoid Scanned Documents
  • Randall Library: Think to Link | Subject and Course Guides (uncw.edu)
  • Documents - Make it accessible from the start!

Dare to Learn Academy Courses:  PDF Pain Relief & Word Doc Accessibility


  • Introduce yourself when speaking
  • Face audience when speaking or face camera during remote instruction
  • Pause frequently to allow for note-taking and to absorb material
  • Try not to move around too much
  • Use a microphone for larger settings, pass the microphone around to students who may be speaking in class
  • Verbally explain visual aids (e.g., charts, graphs, etc) – explain what they show
  • Make lecture notes/slides accessible and available electronically
  • If you make an important announcement in class, consider sending it via email or posting on course website as well
  • Turn on closed captioning

Slides & Presentations

  • Font size (minimum 24 pt)
  • Font style: sans serif (e.g. Calibri), bold for emphasis (not italics, underlining)
  • Hyperlinks: use meaningful hyperlinks, different color, don’t use “here”
  • Images
  • Alternative Text
  • Decorative Images
  • Color & Contrast: WebAIM: Contrast Checker
  • Video & Media
  • Caption videos Captioning Services Request Form
  • Turn on closed captioning for Zoom, MS Teams

Quizzes, Tests, Exams

  • Avoid “pop” quizzes
  • If not utilizing the whole session, schedule towards the end of class
  • Provide multiple formats (e.g., paper/pencil, scantron, electronic)
    • All entries should be accessible using a touchscreen, mouse, or keyboard

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

The goal is to provide flexible and robust learning environments in which all students can thrive without the need for special accommodations.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a set of principles for curriculum development that gives all individuals an equal opportunity to learn. The purpose of UDL curricula is to help students master learning itself—in short, to become expert learners. Designing curricula using UDL allows teachers to remove potential barriers that could prevent learners from meeting this important goal. UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone. It is not a single, one-size-fits-all solution, but rather a collection of flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs. UDL focuses on the three brain networks that determine how individuals learn:

  • Recognition networks: The what of learning. How we gather facts and categorize what we see, hear, and read.
  • Strategic networks: The how of learning. How we organize and express our ideas.
  • Affective networks: The why of learning. How we get engaged and stay motivated.

To learn more about Universal Design for Learning, please visit:

Additional Resources