Accessibility and Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) define an individual with a disability as a person who (A) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (B) has a record of such an impairment; or (C) is regarded as having such an impairment. The University of Michigan has both legal and ethical obligations to provide students with disabilities with individualized and reasonable accommodations to ensure they have equal access to learning experiences, both in-person and online.
Creating courses with accessibility in mind can benefit all students, and likewise, employing best practices in online course design such as encouraging multiple means of engagement and expression, presenting materials in an organized and easy-to-navigate manner, and using clear, concise language, can greatly improve the learning experience for students with certain disabilities. Universal Design for Learning Guidelines offer a framework that can assist course design teams when creating online learning experiences. In addition to proactively considering accessibility when designing a course, note that reasonable accommodations must be provided to students who have disclosed their disabilities.