Main Content Region

Instructional Materials

There are some simple steps faculty can take to ensure courses are accessibility to their wide variety of students. The following checklist is provided to help you work towards online course content accessibility. ATS is happy to consult for more complex situations.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) encourages instructors to consider the variety of learners in a course at any given time. All students have different abilities, experiences, and interests. The UDL framework encourages faculty to consider the potential needs of all learners by allowing for multiple means of engagement, representation, and action and expression.  By applying UDL principles across course content, you proactively ensure that your materials are accessible to a diverse group of learners. 

  • Information is provided in multiple ways (readings and videos, for example)
  • Diversity of perspectives is included, as appropriate
  • Flexibility in assignment choices for students to show what they’ve learned
  • Information that is presented visually is also explained verbally
  • Information in graphs and charts is explained in text
  • Videos are captioned and transcripts are provided for audio 

Course Information

  • The course utilizes the Accessibility and Privacy modules, or references the campus accessibility policy in the syllabus
  • A welcoming and inclusive disability statement is included on the syllabus. 
    • Example: “CSUSB is committed to creating an inclusive learning environment. If you experience any barriers to learning in this course, please discuss your concerns with me."
  • The syllabus has campus-required language pertaining to accommodation for students with disabilities:
    • If you are seeking classroom accommodations under the ADA, you are required to register with the Office of Services to Students with Disabilities (SSD). SSD is located in UH-183, or you can telephone them at (909) 537-5238, or email them at To receive academic accommodations for this class, please obtain the proper SSD forms at the beginning of the term.

Accessible Syllabus Template

CSUSB Accessible Syllabus Template (docx)

This syllabus presents a standard layout in an accessible format. We have included requisite language usually included on syllabi as a matter of university policy.  We encourage instructors to adjust layout as necessary. 

Documents: Word, PowerPoint, and PDF

  • Text is “live” (can be highlighted, copied, and pasted)
  • Headings are used and in proper order
    • Note: this is not picked up in the MS Accessibility Checker. Check by going to “View”> “Navigation Pane”
  • There is sufficient color contrast between text and background colors
  • Color alone is not used to convey meaning
  • Images offering important information not contained in the text include alt text
  • Decorative images (images that don’t aren’t relevant to the topic at hand) are marked as such
  • Lists are created using Paragraph styles
  • URLS are masked, and link text is meaningful link text (not “click here” or “read more”)
  • Tables are not used for layout
  • Data tables do not used merged cells or contain empty cells
  • Data tables are marked with a header row and column row, as applicable
  • Language is clear and consistent
  • PowerPoints are created using an accessible template
  • PowerPoint text order is verified in the “Outline” panel
  • The built-in MS Office Accessibility Checker is used to validate content
  • Word and PPT files are exported to PDF using “Save as Adobe PDF”, not “Print to PDF”
  • PDF documents are verified for accessibility by using the Adobe DC Action Wizard’s “Make Accessible” option, when applicable  
  • Google Docs are converted to PDF via Grackle Docs.
    • You will find Grackle Docs under the 'Add-In' tab in your Google Doc.  The Grackle Docs website offers information on how to use the program on your CSUSB Google Docs.

Video & Audio 

 Ally for Canvas

  • Ally is used to validate the accessibility of content upon upload
  • Instructor has basic familiarity of Ally from both the faculty and student perspective
  • Instructor is familiar with the Course Reporting feature
  • The course includes information about  Ally for students (currently available in University & Student Resources module)