Resources for instructors
Federal law and IU policy prohibits discrimination against students with disabilities, and faculty and instructors are required to provide approved student accommodations.
Students with disabilities must be able to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as students without disabilities and be able to do so in a manner that is:
- Equally integrated (provided at the same time and not separate)
- Equally effective (provides equal opportunity)
- Of a substantially equivalent ease of use (should not be more difficult)
Faculty and instructors are ultimately responsible for the accessibility of their courses. Making a course accessible does sometimes mean that you have to do things somewhat differently, but you don't have to do it alone. Every campus at IU has a support network of trained professionals that help you and your colleagues ensure access to all students.
Consulting and self-help are available from a variety of resources:
- Offices serving students with disabilities on each campus
- Campus Teaching and Learning Centers
- IUB Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning's guide to creating accessible classrooms
- IUB Disability Services for Students (DSS) Faculty Handbook
- IUPUI Adaptive Educational Services (AES) Faculty Resources
These can serve as a valuable resource if you have questions about delivering accommodations to students in your classroom.
The following resources from UITS provide guidance on creating accessible course materials:
ADA Awareness training introduces you to the teams that help you develop an accessible course and inform you of some of your responsibilities as the instructor.
ADA Awareness Training is highly recommended for all faculty and instructors. The ADA Awareness course is available for self-enrollment through IU Expand. Anyone at Indiana University developing and/or teaching an online course is encouraged to take the Teaching Online Series and Online Course Development Basics.
Training is also available to:
- Improve the accessibility of your Canvas course
- Create an accessible syllabus using Microsoft Word
- Provide student accommodations in Canvas tools
It's important that students with disabilities know that services are available to them.
- Include the following statement in the class syllabus:
Every attempt will be made to accommodate qualified students with disabilities (e.g., mental health, learning, chronic health, mobility, hearing, vision, neurological, etc.). You must have established your eligibility for support services through the appropriate office that services students with disabilities. Note that services are confidential, may take time to put into place, and are not retroactive; captions and alternate media for print materials may take three or more weeks to get produced. Please contact your campus office as soon as possible if accommodations are needed. Find your office at https://accessibility.iu.edu/ada/requesting-accommodations/for-students/index.html.
- Read the statement aloud when reviewing the syllabus in class.
If a student reports difficulty
If a student reports having difficulty accessing course materials due to a disability (for example, accessing a website, video, software, etc.) or has disability-related complaints:
- Do not doubt the validity of the student's statements.
- Remember you cannot ask a student to disclose his or her disability.
- Refer the student to the campus office for students with disabilities right away.
- Contact the campus office for students with disabilities if you have questions or concerns.