Online Resources for Faculty

This list of online resources aims to help faculty create effective, inclusive academic environments for students with disabilities.


This video from DSS is a helpful first stop for your questions regarding DSS accommodations for students.

In addition, Creating Accessible Microsoft Word 2007 provides instructions on how to make Word documents and PDFs accessible for students with low vision, dyslexia, etc.

The following list of online resources aims to help faculty members create academic environments that effectively include students with disabilities. These links connect to a wide variety of internet resources including:

  • Implementing universal design in the classroom.
  • General information on working with students with disabilities.
  • Requesting accommodations for graduate and professional exams.
  • Incorporating assistive technology into the classroom.
  • Legal rights and responsibilities.

Given the dynamic nature of the internet, this is by no means a complete list of the resources available to you on the web. However, these resources have been selected based on the quality and variety of information they provide. We hope that they will get you started in the right direction.

This list has been compiled with the help of DO-IT, a grant-funded project at the University of Washington, dedicated to increasing the successful participation of individuals with disabilities in challenging academic programs and careers, such as the sciences, technology, and engineering, and the Association for Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), a National Professional Organization focusing on issues concerning disabilities in post-secondary education.

    Universal design

    “Universal design” refers to the idea that instead of designing products and environments for the average user, products and environments are designed to be used by everyone, to the greatest extent possible without the need for adaptation or specialized design.

    “Universal Design: Process, Principles, and Applications” (DO-IT)  highlights the general principals of universal design for the classroom, technology, websites and, distance learning. Specific resources and suggestions for making the learning environment available to everyone are also listed.

    Working with students with disabilities

    The following sites provide general information and additional tips and resources on working with all types of students with disabilities, both inside and outside the classroom.

    • The Faculty Room (DO-IT)
      DO-IT is a grant-funded project housed at the University of Washington. It provides resources and information regarding working with students with disabilities. The Faculty Room provides a number of useful resources for faculty members wanting to know more about making the classroom accessible and working with students with disabilities. This site also contains a rich source of information on specific physical disabilities.
    • Association for Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)
      AHEAD is a professional organization for post-secondary disability support services personnel. This site includes links to other sites providing information on legal issues, technology, other support organizations, as well as information on the history of the disability movement.
    • “Beyond Accessibility: Treating Users with Disabilities as People: How to work with people with disabilities.” (DO-IT)
      This article encourages faculty and other college staff members to take into considerations visual impairments and other web users with disabilities when designing websites.
    • Washington Association of Post-secondary Education and Disabilities (WAPED)
      This site is geared toward professionals working in disability support services at post-secondary institutions, but it also includes resources on incorporating assistive technology into the classroom. It also includes information about technology, legal issues, and working with students with disabilities within the setting of higher education.
    • Where to turn
      An invaluable resource for individuals seeking referrals for health care, counseling, employment agencies, and many other types of community services available in King County.

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    Certification and testing

    These links connect to information regarding registration and requesting accommodations for professional and graduate exams.

    • DO-IT article
      A helpful article that provides an overall picture of the various graduate and professional tests.
    • Educational Testing Services (ETS)
      Detailed information on requesting accommodations based on documented physical, psychological, or learning disabilities for ETS tests: GMAT, GRE, and Praxis.

    Information regarding accommodations for specific tests:

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    Assistive technology

    Assistive technology refers to a large variety of technology such as software, computers, CDs, telecommunications equipment, and other devices that allow students with disabilities to access information in an alternative format. This technology often acts as a powerful tool enabling students with disabilities to live independently and achieve their goals.

    Listed below are links to websites that provide information on various types of assistive technology.

    • AccessCollege: The Faculty Room Distance Learning
      This website focuses on helping faculty develop accessible online learning materials for people with disabilities.
    • Closing the Gap
      Closing the Gap serves as a clearing house for articles, forums, and workshops that promote the use of assistive technology.
    • WebABLE
      WebABLE is a site devoted to disability-related internet resources. The WebABLE site goal is to stimulate education, research, and development of technologies that will ensure accessibility for people with disabilities to advanced information systems and emerging technologies.
    • Web Accessibility in Mind (WebAIM)
      WebAIM seeks to improve accessibility to online learning opportunities for all people; in particular to improve accessibility for individuals with disabilities who currently may have a difficult time getting access to online learning opportunities. WebAIM also serves as a knowledge base for materials regarding web accessibility that helps raise awareness and assists education institutions in identifying and solving web-accessibility problems.
    • Described and Captioned Media Program
      Provides captioned films free of charge to individuals and institutions.

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    Legal rights and issues

    The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Washington state statutes prohibit discrimination based on disability and outline the rights and responsibilities relating to accommodation for persons with disabilities both inside and outside the classroom. Listed below are links to the ADA, Section 504, and the Washington state codes.

    • Americans with Disabilities Act home page (U.S. Department of Justice)
      This website provides in-depth information regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    • ADA Document Center
      Provides links to current articles, websites, and recent court decisions regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
    • Americans with Disabilities Act information on the web
      This link connects to the U.S. Department of Justice website. A variety of information regarding the ADA, including accessibility standards, can be found through this site.
    • U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR)
      The U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights helps students with disabilities, as well as other student populations facing discrimination, to gain equal access to educational opportunities through the enforcement of Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination based of race, age, national origin, sex, or disability. This website contains information on prevention, procedures for filing a complaint, as well as links to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
    • Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Department of Health and Human Services)
      This article shows how the nondiscrimination requirements of the law apply to employers and organizations that receive financial assistance from any Federal department or agency. It provides the example of Section 504 regulations applied to Health and Human Services organizations (e.g., hospitals, nursing homes, mental health centers, and other human service programs).
    • Section 504, Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Department of Labor)
      This article outlines the main points and defines key terms referenced in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
    • Washington State Administrative Codes
      This site provides information concerning Washington State guidelines and statutes regarding the rights and responsibilities of persons with disabilities.
    • Washington State Human Rights Commission
      The Washington State Human Rights Commission works in partnership with numerous organizations at the federal, state, and local level. Many of these organizations may be able to provide you with assistance and information. This site is an excellent resource for information regarding state statutes governing discrimination based on disability, race, ethnicity, religion, or sex. This website also provides more specific information on fair housing and equal-opportunity employment in the state of Washington.

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    Working with students in specific programs

    The following links provide information on accommodating and working with students with disabilities in the health science and medical professions.

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    Who’s Who in the CFL

    Here is where you’ll find a list of the Center for Learning staff members, including their photos and contact information.