Accessibility Resources for Students
As Hoyas it is all of our responsibility to ensure any course materials we produce are accessible to everyone. This leads to a more inclusive classroom experience that is mindful of individuals’ differing needs, whether the classroom is in person or virtual.
Just as your professors need to make sure that all the class materials they are posting in Canvas are accessible, students also need to make sure what you post or share is accessible.
Learn About Accessibility
Approximately 20% of the population has some kind of disability that may impact their vision, hearing, cognition, speech, or motor control. These disabilities are on a continuum and are often, though not always, invisible.
Accessibility, in our case, is ensuring websites, documents, and other multimedia content can be accessed, read, and interpreted by as many individuals as possible, regardless of their ability and the tools they use to access that content.
WebAIM (Web Accessibility In Mind) has lots of good resources including an introduction to how people with disabilities use the web.
Make Course Materials Accessible
Georgetown’s learning management system, Canvas, already has built-in accessibility features but it’s important that web content created within Canvas through discussions, assignments, etc., and documents or videos uploaded in Canvas also be accessible.
Like any other web content, content you create within Canvas needs to be accessible to people who may be accessing it in many different ways. There are easy things you can do to make your content accessible such as adding alt text to images or making sure link text is descriptive. See our 5 essential fixes for things you can easily do to produce accessible content.
You can also make your Microsoft office or Google documents accessible using built in tools. The following are accessibility resources for common software:
Creating an accessible PDF is more complicated and depends on how it is created. If you start with an accessible Microsoft or Google document, your PDF will likely be accessible. If you start with a scan, it will be more difficult and you will need Adobe Acrobat professional. Adobe documentation covers the different ways of creating PDFs. LinkedIn Learning is another good resource that is available to everyone with a Georgetown NetID. LinkedIn Learning includes courses on Creating Accessible PDFs and Advanced Accessible PDFs.
Video and audio recordings
If you are producing video or audio recordings you will need to make sure that they are captioned or include transcripts. YouTube has automatic captioning, though you will still need to edit your captions to make sure they are accurate.
Digital Texts and Library Resources
HathiTrust, the Accessible Text Request Service, requires coordinating with the Library for access. Students should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A free trial from Kurzweil 3000 offers learners new multi-sensory software to read, comprehend, synthesize, apply, and demonstrate their knowledge.
The following resources provide digital texts:
- Learning Ally
- National Library Service at the Library of Congress
- Emergency Electronic book database
- Publishers offering electronic textbooks
Accommodations seek to address barriers a student may face in their academic life, encompassing a wide array of supports, including textbooks in alternate formats, extended time on exams, and technology supports.
Students should consult with their campus disability services offices if they need an accommodation:
Academic Resource Center, Main Campus
Office of Disability Services, Law Center
Office of Academic Services, Georgetown University in Qatar