Hampshire is committed to providing accessible course materials for all our students. You can read more about our college-wide digital accessibility work at itaccessibility.hampshire.edu. Here's how you can help when it comes to course resources.

WHY: No student should have to overcome obstacles that their peers do not, in order to enjoy the same educational experience. It's also the law.

WHEN: Accessible materials need to be available at the same time as all materials are provided to students. Note: Sometimes a student's accommodations require readings or professor notes and slides ahead of time. 

WHAT: Reading materials are a good place to start, and making them accessible is fairly straightforward.

  • For articles, an electronic copy (usually a PDF) of a digital version, or a scan of a clean print original is ideal. It then needs to be checked for accessibility using Adobe Acrobat Pro or another similar tool.
  • Google documents can be checked with Grackle. Grackle is a Google Workspace Accessibility Tool for all Hampshire account holders: 
  • Clean, electronic course materials benefit everyone due to their versatility.

WHEN: It's much easier to adopt this practice for all courses going forward than to have to scramble to find new copies for a specific student.

  • It is also crucial that you have the course materials for the first couple weeks of the semester planned out by August, in case we do need to find or create electronic alternatives for a specific student.

Accessibility: What Do We Mean?

While all course-related materials and activities need to be accessible, we're focusing here on reading materials, because they are ubiquitous and easily made accessible. Being accessible means being in an electronic format, with text that can be recognized and read by a computer. All materials can be placed in the Moodle site for your course.

PDFs of Readings Should Be:

  • "Born-Digital": Ideally, PDFs are electronic versions that come straight from an electronic database or other electronic resource. These provide clean, clear text that is easily navigated with screen readers and can be electronically highlighted and annotated. Or...
  • Clean Scans: If no born-digital version is available, a scan of a clean original is also OK. No margin notes or scribbles, please! They make it harder for software to read the text.
  • Note: just because something is digital does not mean it is accessible or usable.

Works on Paper and Actual Books:

  • Please scan paper articles or find born-digital versions, as above. These can be placed in the Moodle site for your course.
  • For actual books or textbooks we will work with students as needed to find accessible electronic versions.

For Help:

  • The Robobraille online file converter does a great job of converting documents into accessible formats with computer-readable text. It can also turn a document into an MP3 audio file!
  • Grackle and Adobe Acrobat Pro
  • The general point-person for accessible course materials is Stephanie Friedman in IT. Contact her for an accessibility assessment of existing materials, or general help and advice on this topic: sfriedman@hampshire.edu.
  • The director of accessibility resources and services is the primary contact for students needing accommodations, and the faculty who teach them: accessibility@hampshire.edu.
  • For help finding fresh electronic versions of articles and resources, contact your school librarian.
  • For help scanning you can ask in the library or at the Duplications Center.

To Learn More

  • For information on making a larger range of course materials and activities accessible, please as OARS.
Last modified: Thursday, September 14, 2023, 11:15 AM