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Resources for Accessible Teaching

The NIU Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center has compiled the following information and resources for faculty regarding accessible instruction. This webpage includes NIU based resources as well as general resources categorized as Pedagogy, Technology, Legislation, Guidelines, and Accessibility and Learning Management Systems. Development of this webpage is ongoing, with new resources added regularly, so feel free to visit often.

NIU Resources

  • Disability Resource Center
    Formerly the Center for Access-Ability Resources, advocates accessible opportunities by providing a wide range of support services tailored to the individual student, including admissions arrangements, auxiliary aids (interpreters, note takers, readers, etc.), books in alternative formats, advising/counseling, adapted equipment/computers, special residence hall arrangements, etc. Information about the Center can be found at and 815-753-1303.

  • Syllabus Accessibility Statement
    Accessibility statement endorsed by NIU Presidential Commission on Persons with Disabilities, which faculty are encouraged to include in their syllabi.


  • Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)
    Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework for designing curricula that enable all individuals to gain knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm for learning. UDL provides rich supports for learning and reduces barriers to the curriculum while maintaining high achievement standards for all.

  • Illinois Center for Information Technology Accessibility
    University of Illinois website listing online courses on accessibility, ADA/Accessibility Boot camp, Firebug Accessibility Evaluator, Seminar for Improving Accessibility for All: Using Universal Design for Media, Mobile Devices, and the Web.

  • PDF Accessibility and Usability Issues [VIDEO]
    Sean Keegan, a premier expert on document and web accessibility, addresses usability and accessibility issues of the PDF, strategies for the creation of accessible electronic documents, and the appropriate use of software applications to ensure accessibility of web documents.

  • Real Connections: Making Distance Learning Accessible to Everyone [VIDEO]
    Video presentation providing guidelines for designing Internet-based distance learning courses to fully include all students, including those with disabilities. The presentation is open-captioned and audio-described to assure access to the content for viewers who are deaf or blind, respectively.

  • The Center for Universal Design
    The Center for Universal Design (CUD) is a national information, technical assistance, and research center that evaluates, develops, and promotes accessible and universal design in housing, commercial and public facilities, outdoor environments, and products. Our mission is to improve environments and products through design innovation, research, education and design assistance.

  • What is Accessible Design?
    This website provides users with the resources required to transform their online content so it can be accessed, understood and enjoyed by all audiences.


  • AccessSTEM Knowledge Base [PRINT]
    Enter search text "audio description" for listing of responses to queries including 'How can people who are blind access video and multimedia products?', 'What legal issues are associated with access to video products for students with sensory impairments?' and 'How can I ensure that a student who is deaf can access the content in my podcast?'

  • EASI (Equal Access to Software and Information) (Site not active)
    Provider of online training on accessible information technology for persons with disabilities

  • National Captioning Institute [PRINT]
    The National Captioning Institute (NCI) was established in 1979 as a nonprofit corporation with the mission of ensuring that deaf and hard of hearing people, as well as others who can benefit from the service, have access to television's entertainment and news through the technology of closed captioning.

  • Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America [PRINT]
    Professional society for individuals and organizations interested in technology and disability. RESNA contributes to the public welfare through scientific, literary, professional and educational activities by supporting the development, dissemination, and utilization of knowledge and practice pertaining to rehabilitation and assistive technology so that all citizens can achieve the highest quality of life.

  • Technology and Universal Design [PRINT]
    Extensive collection of publications, video presentations, web resources concerning information technology and universal design, and an overview describing the value of technology Access for people with disabilities

  • Web Accessibility Center at the Ohio State University [VIDEO]
    This website presents a range of accessible-related topics including captioning YouTube videos, providing accessible playback controls, creating accessible PDFs, captioning Flash web video and video for iPod, and utilizing JW player controls for accessible Flash web video.


  • iCITA Web Accessibility Best Practices [STATE]
    University of Illinois website designed to give web developers the markup techniques they need to make web resources functionality accessible to people with disabilities and comply with the Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act (IITAA) Web Accessibility Standards, Section 508 Information Technology Accessibility Standards and the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 1.0

  • The Telecommunications Act of 1996 [FEDERAL]
    In the Matter of Implementation of Section 305 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 NPRM on Closed Captioning and Video Description of Video Programming, Video Programming Accessibility (MM Docket No. 95-176)


  • Firefox Accessibility Extension
    This University of Illinois website provides an overview and instructions for the installation of the Firefox Accessibility Extension. This extension makes it easier for people with disabilities to view and navigate web content

  • IMS Guidelines for Developing Accessible Learning Applications
    Resources on a range of accessibility issues, including a primer on accessibility, principles for accessibility in online distributed learning, using XML for accessibility, and guidelines for accessible delivery of text, audio, images, and multimedia

  • W3C, Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
    Web site provides introduction to accessibility, guidelines and techniques, and managing/evaluating accessibility. WAI develops guidelines widely regarded as the international standard for Web accessibility

  • WebAIM - (Web Accessibility in Mind)
    Resources for accessibility training, evaluation, design & delivery, as well as solutions for education. Also includes feature articles on evaluating web accessibility, and comments from the WebAIM Blog

Learning Management Systems

  • Blackboard Accessibility Resources
    Video sessions in which a blind user is using JAWS to interact with and complete various tasks in Blackboard Learn including submitting an assignment, taking a test, building content and grading students

Additional information or resources?
Do you have an additional resource to share with NIU faculty? Email the URL, title, and brief description of suggested resources to for consideration.

Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center staff are available for consultations on strategies for accessible teaching and can be reached at 815-753-0595, (for faculty), and (for TAs).

Last Updated: 2/16/2017