Colorado State University is committed to providing equal access to electronic information for all students. Among the students who benefit from accessibility are those with various learning styles or disabilities as well as English language learners. We also have a legal obligation to make electronic information equally accessible to all students. This obligation is defined in in the Americans with Disabilities Act and in Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. These federal laws guarantee equal access to educational materials, electronic or otherwise, for students with disabilities.

This website has been created by the College of Liberal Arts IT unit to assist departments and individual faculty and staff in making all electronic materials used in all College of Liberal Arts courses accessible to all students. I sincerely appreciate your efforts to bring all your course materials into compliance with accessibility expectations.

Accessible Online Content

The best practices for creating accessible online content are also the best practices for creating any online content. We don’t always use these best practices, but not doing so is likely because we don’t know or fully understand how to use these best practices. Several groups at CSU are devoted to helping instructors and students use the best practices for creating accessible online content. The CLA IT Web Services site provides the resources needed to make your online content accessible.

Create Accessible Microsoft Word Documents

The following step-by-step guides walk you through how to create accessible word documents using MS Word. The first step, when you are creating a new document is to use headings and styles. If you use links or images, the next step is to generate descriptive ALT text for both links and images. This guide also shows you how to create accessible tables. Finally, the guide shows you how to use the accessibility checker so you can check the document’s accessibility. You can use the checker with your existing documents.

Create Accessible Microsoft PowerPoint Presentations

The following step-by-step guides walk you through how to create accessible PowerPoints using MS PowerPoint 2010. When using PowerPoint, the simplest way to create accessible documents is to use the built in templates. If you use the template and the recommended fonts and styles, your presentation is likely to be accessible. The guide walks you through how to use the templates and how to add ALT text. The guide also shows you how to use the accessibility checker.

Create Accessible PDFs via Conversion

The following step-by-step guides walk you through how to convert accessible Word or PowerPoint documents into PDFs using Office programs (Word, PPT) and Adobe X or XI to optimize the new PDFs:

Creating Searchable Scanned PDFs

On occasion, you may want to scan a document and create a PDF from that scan. The best way to scan a document to create an accessible PDF is to use a scanner that allows you to scan using OCR (Optical Character Recognition). Otherwise, your scan will be a picture of the document, and because screen readers read text, these documents are not accessible. New technology built into Adobe Acrobat Professional may be able to fix some PDFs that were not scanned using OCR. These step-by-step guides walk you through how to use Acrobat Pro to create searchable, accessible PDFs:

Note: While you can create searchable PDFs using Acrobat Pro, you cannot create them using the Adobe Reader. See your department IT administrator to obtain a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Pro.

Video Transcripts and Captions

Video transcripts and captions are important because they enable greater comprehension for all users and they make video content searchable. If a video is searchable, then it’s easier to use search engine optimization (SEO) so that the video comes up in user searches. In addition, students who have specific learning objectives can focus directly on specific video content if the video is searchable by way of a transcript or captions. This step-by-step guide walks you through how you can create video transcriptions and captions.