Faculty academic accessibility resources

Faculty are at the core of academic accessibility and the Accessibility Council has developed processes, improved instructional documents and provided direct support for faculty to promote accessibility in course content and design both for current accommodation needs and to promote and improve Universal Design for Learning.

Some of this support is in the form of grants such as flexible time slip hours that allow faculty to hire student assistance while updating content accessibility and grants that allow Information Technology Academic Services to utilize students to caption videos. Additional support includes the offer of free assistance to tune-up course content and provide suggestions, instructions and assistance to make content accessible.

Efforts to ensure academic accessibility include:

Improved notification for faculty

  • Updated Letter of Accommodation (LOA) to add legal explanation and list of accommodations.
  • Creating process to send an electronic version of a LOA.
  • Creating an accessibility and Access Center handbook for faculty.
  • Creating frequently asked questions and contact list for accessibility webpages.

Improved closed captioning process for faculty

  • Created campus-wide work group to support closed captioning efforts including Academic Affairs, Library, Access Center, Academic Services (IT).
  • Updated closed captioning notification process: month prior to semester, Access Center sends letter to faculty about removing inaccessible material, providing handouts and steps for assistance.
  • Created and implemented a formalized workflow/process for closed captioning support.

How to determine if online content (video, article, etc.) is accessible:

  • Yes: Do not assume that materials (such as YouTube videos) are accurately closed captioned because they have a CC icon. To be certain, turn the CC on, turn the volume off, and watch the video to see if you can follow it.
  • Unsure: Investigate whether or not the video has CC, and if so, is it accurate and do the captions synchronize and match the video?
  • No: Remove inaccessible materials. Materials are not meant to be available to any student until they are made accessible for all students. For example, if a video is not closed captioned, do not post it on Blackboard until it has been captioned.

If you are unsure or sure that your content is not accessible, consult with Sam Lohmann, Reference Librarian, for assistance in locating accessible materials. Other options include:

  1. Consider an alternate course material that meets your learning objectives and is accessible.
  2. For short online videos, faculty are always encourage to close caption videos on their own using a system called Amara. Please watch the following video to learn how Amara works.
  3. Faculty may submit a Closed Captioning Request to IT. However, ample time is needed to caption materials. Typically, IT requires the request two weeks before the video is posted or made available to the class. For especially long videos, more time may be required.

Adopt, adapt and assemble support to advance Universal Design

Flexible time-slip support for faculty

The Accessibility Council received funding to provide direct staff support for accessible course delivery. If you are faculty with an identified student who has approved accommodations and you would like additional direct support, you may request up to $350 of assistance (approximately $15 per hour time-slip student employee working 20 hours over the course of the semester). Although the hiring documentation will be processed within the Access Center, the faculty member may choose and/or recommend the student worker (pending successful background check, per WSU policy).

Contact: Access Center – Patience McGinnis

Closed captioning support for Universal Design

For faculty who would like to begin transitioning to universal design, the Accessibility Council receives some funding to assist with closed captioning of course materials. In line with universal design principles, faculty are highly encouraged to ensure closed captioning is available, even if there are no students enrolled in the course who require this accommodation. Doing so helps to make curriculum more inclusive for all students. We would like to help when possible. As funds are available through the Accessibility Council, Academic Services in IT can assist with closed captioning requests.

Contact: Academic Services (IT) – Michelle Eccles

Course accessibility tune-ups

Faculty who have current accommodations in a course or who would like to transition a course to universal design may request a free accessibility tune-up of course materials with advice, instructions, or assistance on how to make course delivery more accessible. Course material will be checked for accessibility and faculty will receive a report on the accessibility of course material along with solutions and suggestions for making material accessible.

Contact: Academic Services (IT) – Michelle Eccles

OER (Open Education Resources) grants

All OER-grant funded efforts have accessibility as a requirement.

Contact: Academic Affairs – Mike Caulfield