Technology & Information Accessibility

TU is developing both objective accessibility standards for its public website and a better perspective on the applied needs of audiences who use technology adaptations when interacting with website content.

Accessibility Guidance for Remote Learning

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR), a division of the Department of Education, recently released a webinar on providing accessible course content for remote learning in light of COVID-19.

ONLINE COURSES MUST BE ACCESSIBLE

Remote learning can be a powerful and useful tool to continue educating students in light of COVID-19 as long as it is accessible for everyone.

OCR indicated that the term accessible means that “individuals with disabilities can acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same programs and activities as their non-disabled peers with substantially equivalent ease of use.”

Online courses must be accessible to everyone, including individuals with disabilities, unless equally effective alternative access is provided in another manner.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN DESIGNING YOUR ONLINE COURSE

Materials should be accessible for the following:

  • blindness
  • low vision
  • mobility disabilities may affect hand control and/or coordination
  • deaf or hard of hearing
  • seizure disorders
  • cognitive disabilities

Individuals with disabilities may use assistive devices to enable them to access information posted online as part of their online courses.

Examples of assistive technology include:

  • Kurzweil
  • speech recognition software
  • mouth sticks, eye tracking, or pointing devices to navigate websites for individuals with mobility disabilities
  • screen reader software that converts visual information into speech for individuals who are blind Checking for Accessibility

Online Course Accessibility

Online course materials, whether Word Documents, PDFs or multi-media, can be made accessible in a variety of ways.

It is preferable when possible to provide course materials as word documents as opposed to PDFs. If a PDF is necessary, please follow the directions below on making PDF documents accessible.

Microsoft Office offers video guides on making your content accessible for Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Microsoft Guide Links

 

The Office of Technology Services has developed several guides and a checklists for ensuring your documents are accessible.

OTS Resource Links

 

Multi-Media Accessibility

  1. Information presented in a video format should be captioned: If you have a student who uses media or real-time captioning, or who uses a sign language interpreter, this is critical
  2. Information presented in an audio-only format should be accompanied by a transcript: If you have a student who uses media or real-time captioning, or who uses a sign language interpreter, this is critical
Links

Please note, if you have questions about course accessibility you should contact us at .

Textbooks

The TU Bookstore has recently adopted the Direct Access and Affordable Course Materials Initiative.  This program provides accessible interactive course materials at reduced costs.  This program uses RedShelf's eReader. For more information about the accessibility features of program, check out Redshelf's eReader Accessibility Information.

Technology Accessibility Training for Towson Faculty, Staff and Students

For technology accessibility training information, dates and times, please see the OTS workshop calendar.

Public Website Accessibility

TU’s home page and website page templates are built to Section 508 web accessibility standards. The Office of Technology Services (OTS) uses PowerMapper site accessibility reporting software to identify and help repair section 508 issues on the university’s 5,600+ content pages.

Top-level and business-critical legacy videos on our public website are either captioned or include a link to a transcript. Campus video production departments are captioning all new top-level video projects.

TU provides training to assist public website contributors in understanding accessibility standards and how to achieve them when posting content. Public-facing content on the TU website is regularly audited to ensure compliance with section 508 guidelines and remediate any issues.

Website visitors who are having trouble using an adaptive technology with our site are asked to send an email with the page’s web address and a description of the problem to .