Accessible Course Materials


Center for Faculty Development
One Washington Square
San Jose, CA 95192



Students bring a wide variety of physical, visual, hearing, cognitive, and communication abilities to learning. As we design our course materials or activities, we want to keep our students' characteristics in mind. This section focuses on the tools and resources to help you assess, create or convert your instructional materials to ensure they are accessible to all students. Below, we consider both print materials – e.g. Word, PDF and PowerPoint documents and non-print materials – e.g., audio and video files, and materials you create as well as those you draw from elsewhere.

Seven Steps in Preparing Course Materials

Follow the seven steps enumerated below as you prepare your course so your course materials will be in compliance with Accessibility Guidelines as set forth in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

  1. Use accessible syllabus [doc] for your course.
  2. Submit orders for textbooks or course readers through Faculty Resources at SJSU Bookstore by the deadline. (This will permit staff to procure accessible versions of these materials, as needed.)
  3. Submit course reading materials, if any, through SJSU library's course reserves list in a timely fashion. (This will permit staff to ensure that these materials are accessible.)
  4. Follow accessibility guidelines to your create course documents, handouts, or slides.
  5. Add captions to your video or transcripts for your audio course materials. View captioning guidelines for details or complete this request form to request for help.
  6. If you have students registered with the Accessible Education Center, contact their Testing Accommodations office for assistance to ensure that your course quizzes, examinations or assessment materials are accessible.
  7. Make sure your SJSU official faculty profile is updated and all of your course materials uploaded to or referenced on Canvas Leaning Management System are accessible.  The Canvas complies with accessibility requirements, however, YOU must ensure that all of the materials you have uploaded are accessible.  Use this verification tool to test the accessibility of any websites you reference by entering their URLs.

Accessibility Resources

A summary list of available accessibility tools, tutorials, and resources for your reference.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

UDL is a framework that promotes flexibility in the way to present or teach course content, engage students via various activities or strategies, and allow students to express or demonstrate the knowledge or skills they have learned in the class.

Accessibility of Course Materials at SJSU

CSU Policies

"It is the policy of the CSU to make information technology resources and services accessible to all CSU students, faculty, staff and the general public regardless of disability." - Executive Order 926 (EO 926)

US Laws

  • Rehabilitation Act of 1973: the first US law established to prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities in programs receive federal funding
  • American Disability Act (ADA): prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities more specifically in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities.
  • Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act of 1973: amended to  incorporate ADA to protect students with disabilities
  • Section 508 of Rehabilitation Act of 1973: provides specific technical standards for any electronic or information technology procured with federal funding and addresses accessibility issues