Universal Design Resources and Issues

Following our brief discussion about universal design and syllabus construction last week, I thought I would share information with you from our online faculty course design workshop. While Americans with Disabilities, section 504, rules have been in place for a while, there is renewed emphasis among academics about its importance, following accessibility lawsuits at Harvard and MIT.  Section 504 requires institutions to provide reasonable accommodations for those who self-identify with a disability.  The National Association for the Deaf claims these Harvard and MIT have not properly included closed captioning with online videos, or that they are inaccurately captioned.

From an instructional design standpoint it is much easier to design courses and resources with accessibility in mind, rather than trying to fix an accessiblity problem after the semester as started if a student should self-identify in a class (online or face-to-face).  If you are linking to someone else’s video online (one that you do not own and therefore cannot add captioning to) it is acceptable to post a text transcript of the video content along with the video.  Some campuses, but not all, have resources for transcription services in the Office of Accessibility.

For more Information go to:

About Universal Design for Learning:
W3C – Web accessibility:
Closed Captioning Law: NAD v Harvard, NAD v MIT Update:
Wrightslaw Explanation of ADA, Section 504:




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