Office for Students with Disabilities

Faculty Toolbox

Accessible Course Materials

What to Know When Considering Materials

Selecting textbooks and online content is an important part of designing instruction. By reviewing the accessibility of materials before purchase, faculty are able to support equitable access and reduce the amount of adjustments that may need to be made to materials. There are some simple questions that you can ask of publishers to learn more about accessibility of their materials.

  • Are your books available in an accessible, electronic format for students with print disabilities? (Publishers should be able to tell you that they do provide books in accessible formats, such as PDF, HTML, or Daisy)
  • Can you please send me the 508 Compliance statement for the materials we are requesting? (This statement clearly outlines what is and what isn't accessible. Feel free to contact the OSD on your campus for assistance with reading this statement.)
  • Are all video materials in online support materials captioned or do they have a full transcript? If they have a full transcript, will you provide us with permissions to make the videos captioned using the transcript? (By using materials that are already captioned, you do not have to invest the time to manually caption materials.)
  • Are all online lessons compatible with a screen reader, such as JAWS? (If all students, including those with visual impairments, can access the online materials, you will not have to supplement your lessons with alternative assignments)

These are questions to ask as your selection process is starting. Please remember that the OSD is available to you as a resource as you move forward in the important task of selecting class materials.

Captioning Materials in YouTube

YouTube is a great resource for multi-media materials. However, please be sure that any videos you use in class or in an online course are correctly captioned. If you are using your own materials, you can use YouTube to assist with captioining. NOTE: Please do not use auto captions without editing content.

  • Set up an account. You can do this in Google or at
  • Upload a short video into your account, so that you can edit the material.
  • Create a Transcript File
    • Listen to your video, and type what is said, using the formatting rules below.
    • Type the text of what was said in your video and save it as a plain text file (.txt). You can convertother formats (like Microsoft Word, HTML, PDF) into a plain text file or you can use native programs on your computer like TextEdit or Notepad.
    • In order to get the best results, use these formatting tips:
      • Use a blank line to force the start of a new caption.
      • Use square brackets to designate background sounds. For example, [music] or [laughter].
      • Add >> to identify speakers or change of speaker.
    • Transcribe and Set Timings
      • You can transcribe your video and automatically line up your text with the speech in the video.
      • A transcript contains the text of what is said in a video, but no time code information, so you need to set the timing to sync with your video.
      • Since the transcript text is automatically synchronized to your video, the transcript must be in a language supported by our speech recognition technology and in the same language that's spoken in the video. Transcripts are not recommended for videos that are over an hour long or have poor audio quality.
      • Choose the language for the subtitles or closed captions you want to create. You can use the search bar to find languages that don't automatically show in the list.
      • Select Create new subtitles or CC.
      • Underneath the video, click Transcribe and set timings.
      • Type all of the spoken audio in the text field. If you already have a script in word or .txt, you can copy and paste it.
      • If you're creating closed captions, make sure to incorporate sound cues like[music]or[applause]to identify background sounds.
      • Click Set timingsto sync your transcript with the video.
      • Setting the timings can take a few minutes. While you wait, you'll be brought back to the video tracklist.Once it'sready, your transcription will automatically be published on your video.
    • Editing Your Captions
      • Go to your Video Manager.
      • Next to the video you want to edit captions for, click Edit > Subtitles and CC.
      • Click on the caption track you want to edit.
      • Click inside any line in the caption track panel and edit the text.
      • Click Save changes.

Selecting Accessible Course Materials

1Select textbook and/or electronic materials to be purchased
2Contact publisher to request 508 Compliance Statement (VPAT)
3Ask these questions regarding accessibility
4Review VPAT statement, publisher answers and contact OSD with any questions
5Contact publisher to determine if noted accessibility errors can be fixed.

Just In Time Training

Disability 101

This video is designed to provide basic information about the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) and a broad overview of high incidence disabilities.

ADA Basics

This video is designed to provide basic information about the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) and a broad overview of high incidence disabilities.

Testing Center Accommodation

The Testing Center on each campus is able to provide accommodations to Valencia students. Accommodations are designed to allow students to demonstrate their mastery of course material.Click here to learn more about the Testing Center.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Students

Deaf students regularly attend Valencia college. This video will review strategies you can use in your classroom to best support students who are Deaf and hard of hearing. Interpreters, captioning, and assessment concerns will all be addressed.Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students

Note Taking

Note taking is a common accommodation. Watch the video in this module to learn why note taking is so important to accessing your course.

Accessible Texts & Software

This module will briefly cover what faculty should know when considering new educational materials, software, or textbooks.

Visual Impairments

The information here covers the varying types of vision impairment, the technology available to provide support, as well as instructional considerations to consider for your course. Learn how to support students with Visual Impairments.

Research & Scholarly Articles

Critical Race Theory, Feminism, and Disability: Reflections on Social Justice and Personal Identity

Since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, those who fight for disability rights can acknowledge some progress in the situation of people with disabilities but can also recognize that the insights from critical race theory and feminism have lessons for the disability rights movement as well. This article considers the application of critical race theory and feminist theory to such topics as who should be able to use the anti-discrimination provisions of the ADA, how to evaluate the interaction of impairment with environment, differences among impairments and environments and their implications for inclusion of people with disabilities in society, the merits of integration as a goal, and disability-consciousness as part of personal identity.

Asch, A. (2001). Critical Race Theory, Feminism, and Disability: Reflections on Social Justice and Personal Identity. Ohio State Law Journal, 62(1), 391-423.

Making Engagement Equitable for Students in U.S. Higher Education

As American higher education continues to become increasingly diverse, so too will the needs and challenges faced by our students. Perhaps planning and organizing was simpler when the overwhelming majority of students was white, male, heterosexual, Christian, and economically stable. However, higher education can no longer depend on uniformity among its students. Contemporary students are different in how they experience and respond to their campuses, both in the classroom and out of the classroom. This chapter focuses on using Universal Design to meet the needs of a growingly diverse student population.

Harper, S. R. (2015). Making Engagement Equitable for Students in U.S. Higher Education. In S. J. Quaye (Ed.), Student Engagement in Higher Education: Theoretical Perspectives and Practical Approaches for Diverse Populations (pp. 1-14). New York, NY: Routledge.

DSS and Accommodations in Higher Education: Perceptions of Students with Psychological Disabilities

The number of individuals with psychological disabilities attending colleges and universities has increased steadily over the last decade. However, students with psychological disabilities are less likely to complete their college programs than their non-disabled peers and peers with other types of disabilities. This qualitative study explored how college students with psychological disabilities utilize assistance provided by Disability Support Services (DSS), including accommodations, in order to reach their postsecondary goals and examined how these students perceived and described the impact of these services. The researcher conducted in-depth interviews with 16 participants and utilized grounded theory research methods to collect and analyze data. Various themes emerged from the study, including benefits and challenges of using accommodations, the role of DSS on participants’ academic experiences, and issues regarding disclosure and stigma.

Stein, K. F. (2013). DSS and Accommodations in Higher Education: Perceptions of Students with Psychological Disabilities. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 26(2), 145-161.