Accessible Course Materials: Guide for Faculty
Hampshire is committed to providing accessible course materials for all our students. Here's how you can help when it comes to reading materials for your courses.
WHY: No students should have to overcome obstacles that their peers do not in order to enjoy the same educational experience. It's also the law.
WHAT: Reading materials are a good place to start, and making them accessible is fairly straightforward.
- For articles, an electronic copy (usually a PDF) of a born-digital version, or a scan of a clean original is ideal.
- Clean, electronic course materials benefit everyone due to their versatility.
WHEN: It's much easier to adopt this practice for all courses going forward than to have to scramble to find new copies for a specific student.
- It is also crucial that you have the course materials for the first couple weeks of the semester planned out by August, in case we do need to find or create electronic alternatives for a specific student.
Accessibility: What Do We Mean?
While all course-related materials and activities need to be accessible, we're specifically asking for help with reading materials since they are ubiquitous and easily made accessible. Being accessible means being in an electronic format, with text that can be recognized and read by a computer. All materials can be placed in the Moodle site for your course.
PDFs of Readings Should Be:
- "Born-Digital": Ideally, PDFs are electronic versions that come straight from an electronic database or other electronic resource. These provide clean, clear text that is easily navigated with screen readers and can be electronically highlighted and annotated. Or...
- Clean Scans: If no born-digital version is available, a scan of a clean original is also acceptable. No margin notes or scribbles, please!
Works on Paper and Actual Books:
- Please scan in paper articles or find born-digital versions, as above. These can be placed in the Moodle site for your course.
- For actual books or textbooks we will work with students as needed to find accessible electronic versions.
- The director of accessibility resources and services is the primary contact for students needing accommodations, and the faculty who teach them: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For help finding fresh electronic versions of articles and resources, contact your school librarian.
- For help scanning you can ask your school administrative assistant, IT school support specialist, or the Duplications Center.
Five College Accessibility Resources
For an in-depth look at making course activities and materials accessible, check out the Five College Accessibility website.
Accessible Documents Made Easy
The Robobraille file converter site does a great job of converting documents into accessible formats with computer-readable text. It converts many different file types into a variety of formats, for example from a PDF to a text-to-speech MP3 audio file.
What do accessible and non-accessible PDFs look like? Watch a text-to-speech program in action trying to read them.
Learn more »