Online Course Accessibility Training for Faculty

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The online environment has the potential to offer an extremely accessible platform for all students to learn. However, students with disabilities often have difficulty using these online learning tools because websites and course content are not created with them in mind. When course content is inaccessible, it creates unnecessary barriers for students with disabilities. Are your online courses accessible for your entire student population?

Join us for this online training series as we share ways to support the needs of all students online and comply with accessibility regulations. We will discuss:

  • Consequences of inaccessibility
  • Technology availability
  • How to create course websites that are accessible to all users, regardless of ability

Who Should Attend

This online training series is intentionally designed to convey information on accessibility regulations, universal design for learning, and options for accommodation to campus faculty. As such, higher ed professionals that will benefit the most from attending include:

  • Faculty
  • Faculty developers
  • Instructional designers
  • Administrators
    • Information technologists
    • Content developers
    • Disability service staff
    • Academic leaders

Additional Resources

To help make the most of this online training, you will receive a checklist for creating accessible online content. You will also receive scenario-based questions that align with learning outcomes for each session, which can lead to a better understanding of UDL and accessible online content.

Learning Outcome

After participating in this online training, you will be able to enhance the accessibility of your course sites for the benefit of all online users, particularly students with disabilities.


Session 1: Accessibility Regulations and Accommodation in Online Courses

In this session, faculty, instructional designers, information technologist, and content developers will learn about common online accessibility guidelines and legislation as well as student accommodation needs to help make your online courses more accessible.


  • Review of accessibility regulations and guidelines
  • Scenarios - Students with different impairments and associated challenges
    • Social model vs. medical model of disability
      • Student with severe hearing loss
      • Deaf student
      • Student with visual impairment
      • Legally blind student
      • Student with mobility issue
      • Student with reading, verbal, and linguistics comprehension challenges
      • Student with emotional disability
    • Underrepresented or traditionally under-supported communities and cultures may have a more difficult time disclosing to the Office of Disability Resources
      • Veterans
      • Students of color
      • International students
    • Adaptive technology - helping people with disability access the web
  • Course content accessibility
  • Adaptive technology
  • Accommodations made when online accessibility doesn’t happen proactively

Session 2: Universal Design for Learning

In this session, faculty, instructional designers, disability services staff, and academic leaders will learn how to improve accessibility and engagement for all online learners, especially those with disabilities. Specifically, we will talk about seven principles of universal design for learning, and common examples of how to use them:

  • Equitable Use - The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
  • Flexibility in Use - The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
  • Simple and Intuitive - Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
  • Perceptible Information - The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.
  • Tolerance for Error - The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
  • Low Physical Effort - The design can be used efficiently, comfortably, and with a minimum of fatigue.
  • Size and Space for Approach and Use - Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of the user’s body size, posture, or mobility.


Dan Allen, Content Management Specialist, Office of Information Resources and Technology, Drexel University

Dan has been designing websites for higher education and promoting best practices in online content management for nearly fifteen years. During that time, he has been a staunch supporter of web standards and an enthusiastic advocate for accessible web design. At Drexel, he creates and delivers workshops on web accessibility and works with clients to determine web strategies that accommodate all potential users of web content. He is also a member of the university’s online Web Accessibility Committee.

Jenny Dugger, Director, Disability Resource Center, Portland State University

Jenny is focused on enhancing procedures, accommodations, services, and the overall climate of Portland State University in efforts to create and maintain a more accessible and welcoming campus for all students. A great deal of her time is spent educating the campus community on ODS policies and procedures, compliance with disability-specific legislation, and matters of disability awareness. Jenny and her office work with all individuals with disabilities who are members of the university community, including those who take and teach courses online.


Looking for additional resources?

Browse our collection of resources for moving your instruction online.