BMCC Office of Accessibility
What makes material ‘accessible,’ anyway?
A material becomes accessible to more people when it is created with an awareness of the varying abilities of users. For example, a video without closed captioning may be completely inaccessible to someone who is deaf or hard of hearing. In another case, someone who uses a screen reader may not be able to access a PDF article that has not been scanned with optical character recognition (OCR) or alternative text for images (AKA alt-text). OCR transforms a PDF into an indexed document with readable and discoverable text, and alternative text provides image descriptions for the user of a screen reader.
Instructors can improve the accessibility of course materials by running simple accessibility checks, OCR scanning, and adding alternative text to images used in digital files. By improving the accessibility of materials for students with disabilities, instructors actually make the materials more accessible for all. For more information on this subject, explore the guidelines of Universal Design for Learning.
- Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible (Microsoft)
- PowerPoint Accessibility (WebAIM)
- Microsoft Word: Creating Accessible Documents (WebAIM)
- Create accessible PDFs (from Word documents)
- Accessibility QuickGuide (Portland Community College)
- Accessibility Do’s and Don’ts (Brooklyn College)
Explore the CUNY-wide Accessibility for OER Guide, created by CUNY librarian Amy Wolfe, for detailed information about what makes materials in/accessible. This guide includes accessibility resources for navigating various platforms, as well as guidelines and resources for both creating accessible OER and evaluating the accessibility of open or zero-cost materials.
OER Course Redesign Workshop Materials
- Screen Reader User’s Experience and MS Word (Video)
“This video demonstrates the experience of a screen reader user who encounters an accessible Word document versus an inaccessible one.”
- Accessibility + Universal Design for Learning (Powerpoint)
Powerpoint used in OER Course Redesign Workshop (January 2020) covering the legal obligation to make materials accessible, UDL, and use of MS Word’s Accessibility Checker.
- Best Practices in Word Document Accessibility (Document)
- UDL on Campus: Universal Design for Higher Education
- “Digital Accessiblity and You”A list of blog posts by Lora E. Tompkins (University of North Texas) about universal design, creating digitally accessible non-HTML content, and other topics related to digital accessibility.
- UDL Guidelines
- Accessibility Toolkit“A BCcampus Open Education reference on how to make open textbooks accessible”
- Accessibility: Designing and Teaching Courses for All Learners (Self-Paced Open SUNY Course)“This free Open SUNY course was developed by a collaborative team that includes instructional designers, disability services professionals, technologists, and faculty members from SUNY Empire State College and SUNY Buffalo State College.”
- Accessibility & Universal Design Resources from California Community CollegesGuide from CA Community Colleges. “Here you can find information about online accessibility, including self-guided tutorials and courses, files for workshop activities, webinars, presentations, and other resources related to accessibility and online education.”
- Complex Images for All Learners: A Guide to Make Visual Content AccessibleDesigned and developed by Supada Amornchat of Western Illinois University as part of a master’s degree inInstructional Design and Technology.
- Web Accessibility Handbook (2nd ed.) from Portland Community CollegeGuidelines for making accessible PDFs, Word Docs, Google Slides, and more, as well as information specifically focused on creating accessible math and science materials.
A Personal Look at Accessibility in Higher Education (video)
This video highlights the experiences of students and faculty with disabilities in higher education.
Do you see a gap in resources on this page, or do you know of a resource that belongs here? Help us improve this guide by sending suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.