Last updated: February 10, 2023
A quick guide for faculty regarding digital accessibility and accommodations.
This article covers:
- Accessibility Highlights
- Need to Know Contacts
- Deadlines for Bookstore
- Disability Services Program
- Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL)
- ADA Coordinator and the Office of Equal Opportunity
- Submit your textbooks to the DU Bookstore by the deadline
- Contact DSP for Student Accommodation Questions
- Connect with Course Reserves to enhance Course Content accessibility
- Work with OTL to ensure your Canvas Course is accessible
- Reach out to the ADA Coordinator for employee or student employee accommodations
As an institution, we have a responsibility to comply with the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) and the Americans Disability Act (ADA), as well as Section 504 and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Visit the Guide to Disability Rights Laws to learn more. As a faculty member it is important to know how you can best support the institution in upholding our commitments to compliance, inclusion, and the public good.
This document provides proactive resources to the University of Denver’s faculty to enhance digital access for all students, especially those with disability-related accommodations.
Digital accessibility is the idea that all people should have the opportunity to access the same information and services in the digital environment without facing undue barriers or burdens. The view of digital accessibility as an afterthought is an issue of social justice. It is a cultural change for us to consider how we are being true to DU’s mission, values, and the 4D Experience. Visit DU’s Accessibility Page to learn more!
Need to Know Contacts:
- If you have questions about how to access the Bookstore Services, reach out to the DU Bookstore at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you have a question about the student accommodation process, reach out to the Disability Services Program (DSP) at email@example.com.
- If you have questions about the library reserves process, contact DU Course Reserves at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you have a question about how to make your course experience more accessible, reach out to the Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL) at email@example.com.
- If you have questions about accommodations for an employee whether that for yourself or a student employee, contact the ADA Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Direct Contact: Raven Fante, Store Manager, email@example.com
Deadlines for Bookstore:
- Fall Deadline: May 1st
- Winter Deadline: October 15th
- Spring Deadline: Nov 15th
- Summer Deadline: April 15th
Understanding the Importance of using the DU Bookstore:
- The University of Denver Bookstore is the campus-chosen vehicle to provide all course material information to the students. The bookstore provides this service to assist campus staying in compliance with HEOA (Higher Education Opportunity Act).
- Students on Financial Aid, or other third-party payers, are at an academic disadvantage to their fellow students who can pay for their materials out of pocket, as their scholarships are only accepted at the bookstore. This includes student veterans, student athletes, and student financial aid recipients.
- Student athletes who are travelling during their season do not have access to the materials if they are added late, as they get them through the bookstore.
- Students with DSP Accommodations are unable to request their alternate format textbooks from DSP in advance if they are unable to find the information at the bookstore.
- Providing your textbook information in advance helps enhance the access and runway for all.
Submitting your book orders on time contributes to course material affordability by:
- Allowing your campus store time to source used and rental inventory, ensuring that your students have the most affordable options available for the first day of class.
- When adoptions are known before our end-of-term buyback event, we can pay your students top dollar for the materials they sell back and keep the affordable books circulating locally.
- Allowing the campus store team ample time to research your requested materials and determine whether they can be delivered digitally or added to our national list of rental titles, potentially lowering prices even more.
- Allowing the DSP team enough time to secure an alternate format of your textbook for students with accommodations.
Disability Services Program:
Direct Contact: Caroline Newcomb, Assistive Technology Specialist (for alternate format questions), firstname.lastname@example.org
Understanding Text to Speech Software and the Alternate Format Textbook Process:
- Reading and comprehending text is a vital part of the college experience; however, over 20% of the college population has a disability that impacts their ability to comprehend text.
- As such, it is incredibly common for students to require the use of text-to-speech (TTS) software or a screen reader in order to access their course materials.
- Did you know that DU has the Text to Speech Software, Kurzweil 3000 that can be accessed by all students, staff, and faculty using Microsoft Sign On and their DU Credentials? Create an account today!
- DSP needs all faculty to submit their book orders to the bookstore by the bookstore deadline because a single textbook can take 30 or more hours to remediate.
Enhancing Digital Access in the Canvas Course:
In a similar vein, all class content, whether on Canvas or provided in class, needs to be accessible, so that students can use text speech with all coursework. Please work with OTL to ensure all your course content is accessible prior to the start of your course.
Questions about other accommodation?
DSP is always happy to answer questions you might have about a student’s accommodation(s) or how to implement them. Please reach out to DSP@du.edu.
Direct Contact: Course Reserves Team, email@example.com
Understanding the Library Reserves Process:
- The Course Reserves team in the Library’s Access Unit helps DU students access materials assigned by instructors. At the request of instructors, we compile lists of course readings and make them available to students (typically via the Leganto module in Canvas).
- We source material from library databases, public websites, and physical material held by the library. We can also scan chapters of books or articles as PDFs to copyright restrictions (up to 20% of a given volume).
- All of the PDFs that we post in a course are processed for accessibility by screen readers, with the exception of alt text on images. We are also able to update or replace instructors’ existing PDFs so that they meet accessibility standards.
- By using Course Reserves, the library can ensure that copyright permissions are obtained, and fair use doctrine applied.
- Course Reserves can lower costs to students by reducing the texts they need to purchase—we will purchase ebook texts for classes where possible, or we can place a text on physical reserve where it is available for limited check out.
- This process can be started simply by emailing a syllabus or list of needed resources to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL):
Direct Contact: Ellen Hogan, Accessibility Technologist for Learning and Instruction, email@example.com
The OTL is here to support faculty on their accessibility journey. Whether that’s rethinking your course design with an instructional designer, attending one of our workshops, or consulting with our Accessibility Technologist on enhancing digital accessibility, we are here to help! Just getting started on your accessibility journey? Use the OTL’s Canvas Accessibility Checklist to help!
Understanding Proactive Planning for Digital Accessibility with the OTL:
Scanned Course Readings:
- Often, faculty procure PDF scans as course content materials. PDFs need to be made accessible using an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software such as Adobe Acrobat Pro. All students, staff and faculty have access to Adobe Acrobat Pro through the universal wide license to the Adobe Cloud Suite.
- Pro tip: If you cannot click in the document, copy and paste, or control find (CTRL+F), the document is just a picture of text and therefore not accessible with text to speech or screen reader software.
- Want to learn more? Visit the OTL Ed-tech Knowledge Base article on the Top 8 Characteristics of an Accessible PDF. Schedule an appointment with the OTL’s Accessibility Technologist or check out the Creating Accessible PDF training on LinkedIn Learning to learn more!
Closed Captions for Course Videos:
- Providing closed captions on course videos enhance access for all learners, but especially for learners who are Deaf or hard of hearing.
- Faculty can use DU’s Kaltura My Media Space to create closed captions for all Canvas course videos.
- The OTL Ed-Tech Knowledge Base has many articles on making video and audio content accessible.
- Visit the Accessibility at DU page to learn more about Closed Caption Statement.
ADA Coordinator and the Office of Equal Opportunity:
Direct contact: Joshua Kaufman, ADA Coordinator, ADA.Coordinator@du.edu, 303-871-3941
Understanding the Role of the ADA Coordinator:
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator’s role is to prevent discrimination and to make sure that people can easily find information about disability-related accommodations.
- My responsibilities include facilitating accommodations for employees, including student employees, applicants, whether they are students or employees, and guests and visitors.
- I also provide education and training about many disability related issues such as language use, disability etiquette, how to make a referral to my office and digital accessibility basics.
- The ADA Coordinator is in the Office of Equal Opportunity & Title IX but does not investigate allegations of disability discrimination, those are done by investigators in Equal Opportunity.
Enhancing digital accessibility is best done with the support of cross campus partners. As we work together to improve digital accessibility here at DU, please contact your supporting partners. We are here to help!