University of Utah

Course Accessibility in Gen3 Online Course Template

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Important of ADA Compliance

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Rehabilitation Act

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 protect postsecondary students from discrimination on the basis of disability.

Learners with disabilities are not required to inform the university of their disability status. However, to receive personal accommodations, eligible students must be registered with the Center for Disability & Access (CDA). Accommodations are determined based on the individual needs of the student.

In accordance with the law, faculty must adhere to the appropriate academic adjustments recommended by the CDA.

Additionally, all content hosted online must be accessible in accordance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which indicates that all web pages, apps, and software must be functional for people using assistive technology tools.

Refusal to comply may lead to legal action. Instructors may be held personally liable.

University of Utah Accessibility Policies

Article III, Section A of Policy 6-400: Student Rights and Responsibilities lists the Student Bill of Rights. The following sections are important to consider surrounding accessibility concerns:

  1. Learning Environment - Students have a right to support and assistance from the University in maintaining a climate conducive to thinking and learning. University teaching should reflect consideration for the dignity of students and their rights as persons. Students are entitled to academic freedom and autonomy in their intellectual pursuits and development. Students have a right to be treated with courtesy and respect.
  2. Rights in the Classroom - Students have a right to reasonable Notice of the general content of the course, what will be required of them, and the criteria upon which their performance will be evaluated. Students have a right to have their performance evaluated promptly, conscientiously, without prejudice or favoritism, and consistently with the criteria stated at the beginning of the course. Requirements related to evaluation are described in Policy 6-100.

To read the full accommodations policy for the University of Utah, please see Section Q of Policy 6-100: Instruction & Evaluation regulations

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WACG) Checklist

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are a set of international standards used to gauge how accessible web content is to users with disabilities and those using assistive technologies.

The University of Utah aspires to provide students with content compliant with WCAG 2.2 AA standards. When creating new courses or updating current content hosted virtually, our goal as a community is to follow along with these guidelines to ensure all students can access course content easily.

To ensure your course is in compliance with the base WCAG requirements, use the following checklist to review your course material.

  • All images, graphs, & figures included in the course have alternative text available.
  • Provide official textbooks, high-quality PDFs (e.g. text is selectable), and/or text-only documents for all readings in the course.
  • All videos used in the course have closed captions available.
  • Do not use color to emphasize information (e.g. important text is not indicated by being highlighted in a color).
  • Modules, files, and links used in the course have descriptive names (e.g. “Assignment 1” or “Week1Reading.pdf”, not "Click Here" or "Thing.pdf").

This is not an exhaustive list of the WCAG 2.2 AA standards. Find more information here:

How To: Anthology Ally

Anthology Ally (also known as Ally) is a tool that can help to find and update inaccessible content on Canvas. Ally can provide you with a detailed report on your course content accessibility rating, show you accessibility scores associated with each file, and can help you update your course materials fast and easy.

How do I use it?

How To: Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat is a PDF document viewing and editing tool. It can be used to make PDFs meet common accessibility standards using some of the tools in the program.

How do I use it?

How To: Writing Alt Text

Alternative text (also known as alt text) is a written description of a non-text element on a web page. Alt text is displayed when that element cannot be loaded or when a user is navigating with a screen reader software. It explains what the element is, and why it is there.

A few important things to keep in mind when writing alt text: 

  • Add alt text to all images, except images that are completely decorative.
  • Descriptions should be short (i.e. less than 240 characters) and straightforward.
  • Do not start your description with “image of” or “photo of”.

How do I write it?

Find Support @ The U

Martha Bradley Evans Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE)

The Martha Bradley Evans Center for Teaching Excellence (MBE-CTE) supports teaching-oriented faculty, instructors, and graduate students in improving teaching effectiveness through evidence-based, equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist pedagogy.

If you are interested in meeting with one of CTE's instructional consultants to better understand how these factors impact your course, please submit a help request to CTE.

Digital Learning Technologies

UIT's Digital Learning Technologies encompasses digital technologies as well as student-centered digital learning experience design and production. 

If you need help navigating or troubleshooting the technology tools available, please contact [email protected].

Center for Disability and Access (CDA)

The Center for Disability & Access (CDA) works with students to determine and make arrangements for class accommodations. Accommodations are determined based on the individual needs of the student. To receive personal accommodations, eligible students must be registered.

If you are working with a student who needs accommodations but is not currently registered, please refer them to the CDA. The CDA will work with students who may be financially or otherwise unable to receive official medical documentation.

Center for Equity and Student Belonging (CESB)

The Center for Equity and Student Belonging (CESB) creates community and advocates for academic success and belonging for students across intersectional identities and experiences.

CESB provides multiple programs and initiatives for first-year, second-year, and transfer students focused on supporting our diverse student population. If you are working with a student who may benefit from these programs, please refer them to CESB.

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