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& Accessibility in Higher Ed

Prepared by Deb Castiglione (University of Kentucky) and Antonia Levy (CUNY School of Professional Studies)

STAGE 1 - Address sensory accessibility

Review for barriers to learners with sensory deficits
Ensure that equal or equitable access is incorporated, or an alternative is provided

Use captioned video

Procure captioned video
Add captions to owned / recorded
Seek permission to caption un-
captioned or auto-captioned video

Use Alt text for images, graphics, etc.

Only use images that add meaning
Add an image title
Add longer descriptions if complex,
e.g. for charts or graphs

Use accessible documents

Use styles to create documents
Apply headings in sequential
order, e.g. beginning with 1
Do not use color as the only way
to convey meaning
Use Save As in Word to create
accessible PDFs

Clear, clean and simple

Avoid the use of jargon and
Use consistent layout and navigation
Use high contrasting color for
background/ foreground
Chunk content, e.g. 5-7 min video

STAGE 2 Apply UDL Principles through multiple strategies

Multiple means of engagement (interest, motivation)

Multiple means of representation (content, assignments)
Multiple means of expression (knowledge, assessment)

STAGE 3 Consider diversity of learners in higher education

Sensory barriers/concerns

visual or hearing impairments

Physical disabilities

keyboard user; nonambulatory; temporary; permanent

Cognitive disabilities

traumatic brain injury; executive functioning; processing

Learning disabilities

reading, writing, math

Learning styles/preferences

visual; auditory; tactile; academic strengths/weaknesses


English as Second Language learner; international learner

Time & space barriers

time zones; employment; family

Invisible disabilities/ mental health PTSD; anxiety; depression

Prior experiences & knowledge

cultural; rural; academic; first generation

UDL & Accessibility Resources

Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST):
UDL on Campus Website:
National Center on Universal Design for Learning:
Resource List from Center of Universal Design in Education:

Information Technology
Resource List from Center of Universal Design in Education:
Accessible Technology Website from ADA National Network:
U of Wash. IT Accessibility Guidelines:

Web Design
Web Accessibility Guidelines:
W3C Accessibility Mission:
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative:
Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool:

Student Services
Resource List from Center of Universal Design in Education:
Center on Disabilities at CSUN:

Physical Spaces
Resource List from Center of Universal Design in Education:

UDL / Accessibility Organizations

Association on Higher Education and Accessibility (AHEAD):
Access Technology Higher Education Network (ATHEN):

CUNY Resources
Overview of CUNY-wide accessibility projects:
CUNY Assistive Technology Services (CATSWeb):
CUNY Reasonable Accommodations Guide:
Council on Student Disability Issues (COSDI):