Content Accessibility

Ensuring accessible content for all students.

On this page:

The Importance of Content Accessibility

An inclusive, equitable class, ensures that all students can succeed. For all students to do well and improve, it is necessary to reduce the barriers that can hinder learning and reduce success. For example, you can reduce barriers by organizing your course content so that navigation is easily understood by everyone. An accessible, inclusive, and equitable course requires more than a one size fits all approach, since each class has a diverse set of students with a variety of learning needs.

Design with Accessibility in Mind

Creating an accessible learning environment is an essential component to course design. Consider the teaching and learning strategies below to help you design an accessible course for everyone.

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Ensure learning outcomes align with each activity’s objective
  • Activity: Students work in small groups to read and summarize a case study.
  • Learning outcome: Students analyze and summarize information.
  • Expectation: Students clearly understand the objective of the activity, understanding the case study.

Foster an equitable and inclusive learning community

  • Include a diversity statement into your syllabus.
  • Ask and use appropriate inclusive pronouns and preferred names, their pronunciation and spelling.
  • Apply principles from Community of Inquiry framework
Value the presence and abilities of all members of the classroom community
  • Set expectations prior to a discussion.
  • During a discussion make sure that everyone’s voices, perspectives, and opinions are honored and valued.
  • After a discussion, have students privately reflect on their experience.

Appreciate the diverse experiences, abilities and circumstances of each class member

Reduce or lower the barriers to accessing course materials
  • Select cost-effective materials and resources
  • Utilize Open Education Resources (OER) and the University Libraries
  • Limit the use of technologies that are fee-based
  • Evaluate the accessibility of the materials, improve if possible.
  • Ensure technoloiges can be used across platforms and devices.
Recognize barriers, both visible and invisible
  • Consider the invisible barriers students face in and out of the classroom that can affect their learning.
  • Outside barriers can include work schedules, access to stable housing, racial discrimination, mental health, food insecurities, and ill family members.
  • Within the classroom make time to clarify points of confusion and misunderstandings.

Accessibility at UB

The University at Buffalo has a legal obligation to provide students with disabilities an equitable and appropriate education under:

These laws establish access, resources, equity and environments free from discrimination for people with disabilities.

Requesting Accommodations

The University at Buffalo is “committed to ensuring that everyone can access all that we have to offer. Whether it is access to electronic information technology or physical access to the campus, our goal is to provide seamless inclusion for everyone.” Students with disabilities should first request accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Resources. Within the first two weeks of class, a student with accommodations should notify the instructor​​. Please note that some students feel uncomfortable sharing this information as they may fear being labeled or judged. Help establish a safe and inclusive learning environment, as well as encourage students to share this information with you.

Identify Your Accessible Practices and Content

Using your Course Design Template complete the following:

  • Step 1: Review your design, layout, content and activities to determine their accessibility.
  • Step 2: Identify the course components that need to be revised to increase your course’s accessibility.

Next Steps

When you have finished checking accessibility, the next step is to explore instructional tools and how they may be utilized in your course.