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The term UNIVERSAL DESIGN FOR LEARNING means a scientifically valid framework for guiding educational practice that—

  1. provides flexibility in the ways information is presented, in the ways students respond or demonstrate knowledge and skills, and in the ways students are engaged; and

  2. reduces barriers in instruction, provides appropriate accommodations, supports, and challenges, and maintains high achievement expectations for all students, including students with disabilities and students who are limited English proficient.


Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (20 U.S.C. § 1003(24))

About Accessible Materials

In addition to advocating innovative instruction and multiple modes of representation, engagement, and expression, Universal Design for Learning encourages the use of “accessible” and “usable” course materials. These are documents saved in electronic formats (e.g., DOC, RTF, PDF, HTML) and formatted to enhance their usability for the largest possible audience.

Accessible instructional materials (AIM) are specialized formats of course content that can be used by learners who are unable to read or use standard print materials. They include formats such as audio with transcripts, captioned video, large print text, braille, and digital text.

University Design & Accessibility for Student Success

Universal Design & Accessibility for Student Success is an introduction to building course materials that are usable and accessible. The self-paced content is intended to inspire further exploration and advocacy for designing materials that benefit all students and help them achieve their educational goals. 

After accessing the above link in Blackboard, click the  button to add yourself to the course and go through the material presented at your own pace. Content will not appear without self-enrolling. No set order or dependencies are required. Use the course menu links to access the content and resources.

National Center on Accessible Educational Materials This site provides resources for educators, parents, students, publishers, conversion houses, accessible media producers, and others interested in learning more about AEM and implementing AEM and NIMAS.

Creating Accessible Word DocumentsMicrosoft Word is currently the most common word processor on the market. Because it is so common, the .doc (and to a lesser extent, .docx) format has become the de-facto format for text documents. Word is often used to create files that end up in PDF and HTML. This article will cover several things that you can do to make web content created in Word more accessible.

PowerPoint AccessibilityMicrosoft PowerPoint is one of the most popular tools for creating slide show presentations. It is often used to organize thoughts for a meeting or lesson, to present key points in a live presentation, and even to create handouts. This article outlines how to can make PowerPoint files more accessible on the web.

Designing PDF AccessibilityWhen people talk about "accessible" PDF files, they usually are referring to "tagged" PDF files, even though there is more to an accessible PDF than tags. PDF tags provide a hidden structured, textual representation of the PDF content that is presented to screen readers. They exist for accessibility purposes only and have no visible effect on the PDF file.

Alternative Text for ImagesAdding alternative text for images is the first principle of web accessibility. It is also one of the most difficult to properly implement. The web is replete with images that have missing, incorrect, or poor alternative text. Like many things in web accessibility, determining appropriate, equivalent, alternative text is often a matter of personal interpretation. Through the use of examples, this article presents the appropriate use of alternative text.

What is the difference between captions, transcripts & audio descriptions?
Videos and live audio must have captions and a transcript. With archived audio, a transcription may be sufficient. Learn about the difference between captions, transcripts and audio descriptions.

Writing clearly & simplyUnclear or confusing writing is an accessibility barrier to all readers, but can be especially difficult for people with reading disorders or cognitive disabilities.

Challenges & solutions for design issuesA summary of design issues from the user perspective

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