Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why is accessibility important?
A: Accessibility is important because when made accessible every user, regardless of ability, will be able to access the information we provide and be engaged with the content within our websites and courses.
Q: Does this limit my academic freedom?
A: Accessibility does not limit the academic freedom of University of Mississippi faculty members, but it expands the academic opportunities for our students.
Q: Students can get accommodations through the Student Disability Services. How is this different?
A: Accommodations tends to be a reactive process. You as the instructor will need to react, in some way, when you receive notification from SDS about a student with a documented disability. Designing for accessibility is a proactive approach and means that your course can be easily accessible for all learners by using the tools provided in our Accessibility Overview.
Q: Who is the best person to contact when I have questions about accommodations for a student?
Q: If students require special accommodations, why don’t students register with SDS prior to taking my course?
A: All new students receive information that describes the service that are provided by Student Disability Services and it is the student’s decision to formally disclose their medical status, but they are not legally obligated to do so. UM’s goal is to provide an environment where students can be successful in the classroom without having to self-identify as having a disability.
Q: What do I do if a student notifies me that they need accommodations and the term has already started?
A: First, respect and listen to the student’s request. Then, work with the student to contact SDS so that their experts can evaluate the request and the needs of the student. SDS will provide you with a written recommendation of accommodations. If you need assistance in making your materials accessible, contact Accessibility Solutions and we can assist you with captioning, file remediation, and training.
Q: How does a screen reader work?
A: A screen reader reads the HTML code and/or the text that appears on the screen. A screen reader relies on accessible “coding” to ensure that the user can navigate easily and that the user hears the content in the way that the creator intended.
Q: How do I know what material to caption and when is it required?
A: See the Captioning Decision and Priority page which includes a flow chart and information to help you understand this decision making process.
Q: How much does captioning cost?
A: Captioning rates are published and kept up to date. Please note that these rates do not apply to captioning for students with an accommodation through SDS and Ole Miss Online academic content.
Q: I know that YouTube videos often have auto-generated captions. Are those captions sufficient for videos posted on the web or social media?
A: While YouTube auto-generated captions are a great place to start, they DO NOT meet the accuracy requirement for accessible video captions and must be edited. Thankfully, editing the captions in YouTube is an easy (and free!) process.
Q: Who is the best person to contact when I have questions about captioning?
A: Call (662) 915-1335 or email questions to Jennifer Bland who will respond promptly.
Files, Documents, and Online Course Content
Q: What can I do right now to increase the accessibility in my course?
- Include an accommodations/accessibility statement on your syllabus
- Properly format links and check that they are valid/functioning
- Add alt text to images
- Provide alternate ways to get information
- Use the WAVE Tool to check page accessibility
Q: Is it best to create PDFs of my documents before posting them on a website or sharing them with students?
A: PDFs are considered accessible for both PC and Mac operating systems when they are purposely made to be accessible. This requires the original document created using a word processor to be made in an accessible manner and/or addition accessibility features to be added using Adobe Acrobat Pro or DC.
- Basic documents containing text, headings, images with alt text, simple lists, and simple tables can be properly exported to PDF with no further remediation and posted for use.
- Complex documents containing text boxes, data tables with multiple layers of headings, floating elements such as word art, shapes, charts, SmartArt, etc., math expressions, and/or headers and footers MUST have additional accessibility features added using Adobe Acrobat prior to being posted online.
Please see File Remediation Services for more information about how Accessibility Solutions can complete this process for you in order to make your PDF documents accessible.
Q: Is a document created in Word likely to meet the ADA’s accessibility requirements?
A: A Word document would have to be properly formatted to be accessible. Check out our training module on this topic.
Q: Can I modify copyrighted documents to an accessible format?
A: No, most copyrights include the format of the content. However, many publishers that serve higher education are willing to give you permission to edit to an accessible format or willing to provide you with an accessible format that can be used in an online course.
Q: Why is it important to provide students with accessible online course content?
A: There are several reasons. In addition to the University being committed to providing an inclusive and diverse learning environment for our students, it is the right thing to do, it benefits all students, it helps students to focus on learning and it is required by law. To learn more about the importance of Accessibility at the University, please review UM’s Accessibility Statement..
Q: What resources are available to help me convert my online course content to an accessible format?
A: Each person creating online content is responsible for creating it in an accessible format. There are several resources offered that can help you to develop the skills and knowledge required to convert your online content to an accessible format. Within this website you will find tools and resources as well as the training page which includes a list of workshops and online training courses offered to UM employees and students.
Q: What are the most common accessibility issues in online courses?
A: The most common issues are related to fonts (readability), images (alt text), and headings (navigation).
Q: MS Office and Adobe products include Accessibility Checkers. Can I use application specific Accessibility Checkers in lieu of MU’s Accessibility Checklist?
A: No, application specific Accessibility Checkers are not comprehensive in their testing of WCAG AA standards. If you want to use an Accessibility Checker: First, use UM’s Accessibility Checklist, then you may use the built in Accessibility Checker to verify that all images and objects include alt text.
Social Media, Web Development, and Web Content
Q: I run a social media account for a student organization, does it have to comply with accessibility guidelines?
A: Yes, student organizations are held to the same accessibility standards as all other UM organizations or departments. If your organization would like to schedule training with an Accessibility Specialist, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. For training on how to make your social media content accessible.
Q: Does an application run from a Web page have to meet the requirements of the Web Accessibility Policy?
A: Yes, if the application is used to conduct core University business and academic activities as defined in the Web Accessibility Policy. Reference to “Web pages” in the Policy covers both Web pages and Web sites, including their design and any Web-delivered content or service. If the Web page currently uses an application run on software which does not meet the requirements of the Web Accessibility Policy and it is not feasible to remediate the application, an exception can be granted based on legacy use.
Q: Some of the Technical Guidelines appear to be too burdensome. What are my options?
A: Accessibility requirements are complex, detailed, and can be a lot of take on alone, but you don’t have to! Reach out to the accessibility team and let us know if you are struggling. We will help you prioritize your process, come up with creative solutions, and maintain your aesthetic.