Creating the Accessible Classroom

An accessible classroom allows all students to participate in the learning experience. The University assists you in preparing your classroom by ensuring that students can access the building and the classroom by multiple modes (such as stairs, ramps, and elevators).

As a professor, you'll want to ensure that your classroom is set up in such a way that students can easily navigate to the seating and access any equipment or materials needed for the class. If your students will be rearranging furniture for group work, make sure that large enough walkways still exist and assist any students who have difficulty moving furniture. If accessible furniture is placed in the room, you'll need to ensure that this desk or chair remains available for an Accessibility Services student's use.

You'll also need to ensure that your classroom materials are fully accessible. For example, PowerPoint presentations, textbooks, photocopied articles, and handouts can be inaccessible for students with visual impairments. Film clips without captioning or transcription are inaccessible for deaf students.

The CSU requires faculty to provide accessible classroom materials as part of their Assistive Technology Initiative (ATI). The Assistive Technology Initiative calls for accessible classroom materials at the point of course redesign, when a student needs such accessible materials, or by the fall of 2012. Accessible material includes all course materials and websites. Existing material may need to be revised or reformatted to allow access. These formats may include Braille, enlarged fonts, electronic copies, audio copies, or captioning.

The Accessibility Services' Accessible Media Office can provide textbooks and course readers in accessible format for students who need them. For all other course material, contact the Accessible Technology Services Office or Media and Academic Technology Services. These offices can support you in making the necessary adaptations to your course materials so that they comply with the Assistive Technology Initiative. 

Suggestions:

  • Include a statement on your syllabus encouraging students to discuss their accessibility needs with you. Make an announcement about this during the first class session.
  • Throughout the quarter, stick to your syllabus as closely as possible. This will give both you and the students plenty of time to ensure that the material is accessible and that any accommodations can be arranged for by the deadlines. Also, students who need to start early to complete work by the due date can plan accordingly.  
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