Skip to main content

Accessibility Checklist for Teaching Faculty

Academic Technologies, the Center for Teaching Excellence and the Office of Disability Services have collaborated on an accessibility checklist for faculty and teaching staff. The checklist covers creating accessible Word, PDF and PowerPoint documents, physical space accommodations, and creating content for Blackboard and other online use that works well with screen readers and other assistive technologies. 

The following chart can also be downloaded as a one-page PDF.

More resources for teaching students with disabilities can be found here: http://sds.cornell.edu/Faculty/index.html

Course Readings & Materials

Blackboard and Online Content

Video and Audio Content

Physical Space

Include a statement in your syllabus inviting students to discuss access needs for your online course. Faculty can then contact Student Disability Services (SDS) for assistance.

Documents shown via projector and/or online are easy to view and have proper color contrast. Handouts are available online in accessible formats for use with assistive technology such as text or screen readers, magnification tools.

Text should be standard serif and sans serif font. 

Check for accessibility issues with your documents with the Accessibility Checker.

Create accessible PowerPoint presentations.

Create accessible Word documents.

Create accessible PDF documents.

Content is easy to navigate and comprehend- IE folders, files, and modules are labeled appropriately and informative. i.e.: “Week Two: Topic” instead of “files”. 

Color themes are easy to read i.e.: contrasting text and background colors.

Alternative text appears with graphics and images to be accessed by screen readers. Such text describes the image so that important information reaches the learner (alt tags or longer descriptions). 

Documents uploaded to Blackboard (PDF, Word, PP) are accessible to students via screen and text readers.  

Blackboard Collaborate live stream can be captioned on-the-fly by an assignee in the group.

Video(s) created and used for instructional purposes should be properly captioned.

Student Disability Services provides captioning services for qualified students with disabilities at no cost. Contact SDS at sds_cu@cornell.edu if assistance is needed.

Academic Technologies can assist with captioning options for videos that you own or have permission to caption. Please contact: acadtech@cornell.edu. (fees apply)

Videos automatically captioned by YouTube are not adequately captioned and need to be reviewed for accuracy before using.

Narrated PowerPoint presentations are not accessible. Consider recording presentations in Panopto and then having the lectures captioned.

Create a plan to provide equitable alternatives to inaccessible AV.

Classrooms should have a clear path of travel (36” aisle) for wheelchair users.

Use microphone for amplification and have assistive listening devices available and operational.

Ensure that classroom equipment is within reach and accessible. If lecture area is not accessible by wheelchair, check in with student occasionally to see if s/he has questions.

Describe content written on blackboard or presentation for low vision students (e.g., problems on blackboard, iclicker questions).

Arrange office hours in accessible location (if necessary).

Inform students with mobility disabilities about the access features of field trip destinations or alternate class locations (e.g., accessible entrance, elevators). Have an alternate plan for student if access is not readily achievable

Was this page helpful?

Your feedback helps improve the site.

Comments?