How can I get started in making my distance learning course accessible to all students?

DO-IT Factsheet #112

Be proactive in making distance learning courses accessible. Don't wait until someone with a disability enrolls to address accessibility issues; consider them from the start. Applying universal design principles benefits people both with and without disabilities.

Distance learning program administrators should adopt and enforce accessibility standards or guidelines (e.g., the Section 508 [1] or W3C [2] standards for web accessibility) for their course materials and strategies. They should also establish procedures for students with disabilities to request and receive accommodations. Administrators should provide information about standards, training, and support to key staff. Course developers should use the accessibility features of development tools they use (e.g., Blackboard [3]™ ) and avoid including design features that are inaccessible to students with disabilities. Standards, procedures, and support issues should be reviewed and updated periodically.

For more information, consult Real Connections: Making Distance Learning Accessible to Everyone [4] and IMS Guidelines for Developing Accessible Learning Applications [5].