Creating Accessible Course Materials

All materials provided to students by instructors, both in class and online, must be accessible to all students, including those that require the use of screen readers. Here are several resources on how to make your course materials accessible for all students.



Accessibility Best Practices

  1. Select videos that have closed captioning and always turn them on. This practice benefits Deaf and hard of hearing students, students whose first language is not English and students who are not strong auditory learners.

  2. Select textbooks and other course readings far in advance of the semester start date. Many students at CSUF require course materials in alternative formats, including Braille, large print and other electronic and audio formats. DSS begins converting your course materials as soon as we can get them. A delay or change in the course materials means a delay for the student in receiving the materials.

  3. Remind students that DSS is a resource available with your syllabus statement.

  4. Provide clean copies of articles, library resources and class postings. A clean copy is not crooked, free of underlining, notes and has clear letters.

  5. Learn more about universal design practices below.


Resources on Campus for Instructors

Faculty Development Center – located in the Faculty Commons area of the library on the second floor south. PLS 244. Email at The FDC supports faculty development in teaching and learning and the use of technology through workshops and one-one assistance.

Online Education and Training - located within Pollak Library South PLS-237. Email at Provides walk-in support and consultation for accessible instructional design and captioning. Also provides certificate trainings for accessibility.

Academic Technology Center - located within the Faculty Commons are of the library on the second floor south. PLS 237. Email at Provides technology support for faculty, including information on the Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI), Adaptive Learning, and Technology Training.

Ally – Ally is a tool that automatically checks for accessibility of many documents uploaded to TITANium. The tool provides instructors with an item by item accessibility rating. Ally further supports faculty members in independently updating course materials to improve accessibility by following the instructions provided.   

Students will be able to download any scanned course item in a variety of formats (including Audio, HTML, Braille) without any additional work by the instructor. Ally does not meet the access needs for students with disabilities, but for all other students this is a great resource.  

Faculty will see accessibility indicators next to course content items.  Please note that Ally does not check the accessibility of all documents, just the ones with the indicator. For additional information about the tool, please see the demo at Ally for Instructors.  If you have any questions, please email or call (657) 278-7777.


Accessible Document Overview

This is a great place to start from PCC. Web Accessibility Guidelines - File


Accessible PDF’s

Scanned documents and images cannot be read by Screen Readers, which is the technology utilized by Blind and Visually Impaired students to either have the reader ‘read’ the screen or access the document through a Refreshable Braille Display.

CSUF PDF Accessibility Guide -

Create and Verify PDF Accessibility (Acrobat) -

Web Aim’s Accessible PDF through Word and Adobe -

Scanning Documents into an Accessible PDF-


Accessible PowerPoints and Word Documents

PowerPoints -

Word Documents -


Accessible Media

Web Aim's Captions, Transcripts, and Audio Descriptions

Web Aim's Alternative Text your Pictures-

Web Aim's Accessible Fonts-


G eneral Guides to Accessibility

PCC’s Accessibility Guidelines - File

Adobe’s Accessibility -

WebAims Accessibility - 


Universal Design Resources

Universal Design of Instruction (UDI) strategies may reduce or eliminate the need for individual accommodations in many cases. UDI also serves the variety of learning styles and cultural backgrounds of our diverse student body and it is consistent with the UCSC Academic Senate COT focus on “learning centered teaching.” Many of your colleagues have already implemented UDI strategies.

Association of American Colleges and Universities: Fostering Inclusion with Universal Design for Learning: This article by Kevin Kelly provides a brief overview of Universal Design Learning and examples of how to create an inclusive learning environment. 

CASTOpens in new window  is a nonprofit education research and development organization that works to expand learning opportunities for all individuals through Universal Design for Learning. 

University of Washington presents, DO-IT: Strategies for Accessible Teaching: This website provides a large overview of what Universal Design (UD) means and what it entails. It also includes different strategies and applications of UD in the classroom.

Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education: UDL provides useful guidelines for developing curricula, selecting materials and creating learning environments that takes into account the wide variability of learners in higher ed environments. Their website provides helpful guides for: Course Design, Media and Materials, Accessibility and Policy, etc.