Accessible Print – Instructor Center


Accessible Print refers to printed materials that have been made accessible for persons with disabilities. Students with limited mobility, print-based learning disabilities, or who have complete or partial vision loss often require Accessible Print materials in order to have equal access to academic coursework. In this section you will find information on your responsibilities as an instructor, and how you can help to provide accessible print materials to all students in your courses. 

Faculty Responsibilities 

  • Use accessibility resources to ensure accessibility of all course materials (see below and the Content Accessibility website for help).

  • Ensure new material selections are accessible (this includes materials that are already digital, as many e-books or online textbooks are not accessible)

  • Send textbook selections to the KU bookstore as early as possible and before the deadline communicated by the University 

  • Respond to student and SAC staff requests for textbook and reading material lists as quickly as possible 

  • Provide copies of the syllabus and reading schedule as early as possible 

  • Contact SAC staff regarding accessibility questions 

Student Responsibilities 

  • Enroll as early as possible in classes 

  • Request accommodations in Access Online as soon as enrolled 

  • Get materials list as soon as possible  

  • Contact accessprint@ku.edu if you are having trouble getting your materials list from your faculty 

  • Submit requests in Access Online for all alternative print materials a minimum of 6 weeks in advance of the start of the semester 

Student Access Center Staff Responsibilities 

  • Authorize alternative print as an accommodation 

  • Communicate with the student and faculty as needed  

  • Request proof of purchase on textbooks according to copyright requirements 

  • Notify the student of format limitations before materials can be delivered 

  • Convert and deliver required course materials based on student requests on a first-come, first-served basis 

Some students will require that all in-class print materials are made accessible to them. Typically, this involves providing the student with accessible digital copies of Power-Point slides, handouts, or in-class assignments.  

Below is a list of resources to help you create accessible digital copies of your print materials before distributing or presenting them in your classroom. 

Individual faculty are responsible for making sure that course materials posted on Blackboard and other online course management systems are accessible to all students. This includes PDFs, Power Point slides, and links to outside resources.  

Below is a list of resources to help you create accessible print materials before posting them online.  

Occasionally, students or faculty members may need to make accessible copies of course documents, journal articles, or textbook excerpts. This can be done by using one of the Overhead (Bookeye) scanners in the Watson or Anschutz Libraries. Selecting the option to create a Searchable PDF will run the OCR (optical character recognition) software and allow the PDF to be read by screen and text readers. 

Faculty and students may also use Accessibility or Large Format scanners located in various libraries across campus.

The SAC helps to put qualified students in touch with accessible formats of their textbooks each semester. Because acquiring or converting to accessible formats takes time and labor, it is important for faculty to submit their book lists to the bookstore as early as possible.  

If you are considering adopting an online textbook, please be sure that it has been tested for accessibility. If you have any questions about whether an online textbook is accessible, please email accessprint@ku.edu.  

You may be contacted by SAC staff if your expected course materials have not yet been provided to students who will need accessible formats. For more information, please consult our Accessible Print information page.  

Q: The email I received says “accessible print” and “alternative formats”. What does that mean? 

  • Accessible print, alternative formats, accessible formats, e-text, audiobooks…these are all used to refer to materials that are accessible to students with disabilities. The format depends on the student’s needs.  

  • If you have questions about a specific student and their format needs email us at accessprint@ku.edu 

Q: Why do I need to make sure my course materials are accessible? 

  • All faculty are legally required to make their materials accessible to students. 

  • The SAC serves as a bridge between students who need their accommodations and faculty who may not know how to provide them. 

Q: Do I need to change the way I teach my class or the materials I use? 

  • While we may sometimes work together to come up with strategies for making certain projects or tasks accessible, or creating alternatives that accomplish the same goals, this does not require fundamental alterations to course requirements or objectives. 

Q: This is a lot of work I wasn't anticipating at the start of a semester; how can I access help? 

  • If a student requests print accommodations for your course and you are not able to make materials accessible, the SAC office can usually assist within our stated timelines. 

  • The Center for Online and Distance Learning (CODL) can also sometimes assist faculty who contact them well ahead of the start of the semester for assistance with course design and accessibility. 

  • Consider universal design when selecting future course materials so that you know your materials are accessible before a student submits a request. 

Q: Students are asking for access to course materials before I’ve finished my syllabus – why is this happening so early? 

  • We advise students to contact faculty as soon as they enroll in their courses.  

  • This is to help ensure faculty have enough notice to be looking for accessible materials, and time to convert materials that are not accessible. 

  • Even when students do not contact faculty this far in advance, faculty are still responsible for ensuring course accessibility. 

Q: I will not finish selecting course materials or finalizing my syllabus until closer to when classes begin – is that a problem? 

  • Waiting is only a problem if you do not select accessible materials, which is why we encourage you to check as you design your course even before you have received an accommodation notice. 

  • Students with accommodations must receive accessible materials at the same time as their peers. 

  • If you wish the SAC to assist in making materials accessible, we need the materials as soon as students have requested them (so potentially 6 weeks ahead of the start of classes) to ensure timely delivery. 

Q: If I need to have the SAC help make things accessible, how far in advance do I need to send it? 

  • We ask for materials 6 weeks ahead of the start of the semester for guaranteed delivery. 

  • During the semester we ask for 2 weeks’ notice though there can be delays and a timely delivery is not guaranteed with less than 6 weeks’ notice. 

Q: I create lecture materials like PowerPoints and certain assignments as we go so, I can adapt my material for where students are in their learning. How can this work with the timeline for materials? 

  • This can be a great strategy to avoid leaving students behind. If this is your practice, you can look for materials that are already accessible, build your PowerPoints with accessibility in mind, and contact the SAC for support as needed.