The Accessible Media and Technology program is a resource for faculty and staff as well as students. If you have questions about a student request for accommodation or are interested in making your course content more accessible for students with disabilities, please contact us anytime.

The following page offers advice on accommodating students who need specific types of accessible class materials. Many additional tools for accessibility, including information on how to create Universally Designed course content, are located on the JMU Accessibility page. For faculty teaching online classes, the JMU Libraries is another resource for incorporating accessibility into teaching.

Working with Student Accommodations

The Accessible Media and Technology (AMT) program provides accessible course materials for students who require various types of alternative formats. To do this in an efficient and responsive manner, we need both the cooperation of students and the assistance and support of faculty members.

Here are some helpful tools for working with students requiring the most common alternative formats:

Captioned or Transcribed Videos and Audio Recordings

AMT encourages faculty to use captioned videos and audio recordings whenever possible as a best practice for accessible course design. When you have a deaf or hard of hearing student in your class, you will need to work with the Accessible Media and Technology program to ensure that any videos or recorded audio materials are captioned or transcribed for the student.

Here’s our ideal scenario:

  1. The student approaches you at the beginning of the semester about their accommodation and asks you to contact AMT.
  2. You contact us with a list of videos/recorded audio used in the course and the dates that they’ll be used in class.
  3. AMT locates or produces captioned versions and returns them to you and/or directly to the student in a timely manner—usually at least a week in advance of class.

We recognize that it's not always possible to provide a list of videos and due dates at the beginning of the semester. However, it is crucial that you stay in close contact with AMT to ensure that the student is provided equal access course materials.

AMT can also provide:

  • Captioning training: captioning a short video in YouTube is a relatively simple process, and AMT can help you get started. Unfortunately, YouTube’s automatic captions are too inaccurate and unreliable to meet student needs for accommodation. (However, they do make for funny videos!)
  • Vendor contacts: if you want to caption all videos for your classes, AMT can direct you to effective outside captioning vendors. Bear in mind that if you have students registered with the Office of Disability Services in your class, ODS covers captioning costs. If not, those costs would fall to your department.

Course Materials in Accessible Formats

Students with a wide variety of disabilities may need textual materials in accessible formats such as audio files, large print, Braille, accessible PDFs, etc. The Accessible Media and Technology program is responsible for providing these materials.

Having a detailed assignment list for students is an excellent best practice for accessible course design and also helps AMT produce accessible formats in a timely manner. The detailed assignment list should include readings and due dates. If assignments change during the semester, please notify students with these accommodations in advance.

Other helpful tips:

  • Post online copies of handouts, PowerPoints, articles, etc. 
  • PDF articles are notorious for being "inaccessible";—i.e. having text that cannot be selected. Try highlighting the text in your PDF articles. If you cannot highlight individual words & sentences, the document is inaccessible. Please contact AMT, and we can help you convert it!
  • Make sure that the text in these documents can be selected.
    • What does "selected" mean? In this case, selected means that the text can be highlighted and copied.
    • Why is that important? Text that can be copied and pasted can be manipulated by students with disabilities to meet their needs. For example, this text can be enlarged to help a student with a visual impairment. A student with a reading disability might use a text-to-speech program to listen to the text out loud.

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