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Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) Accessibility Standards and Procedures

Required Texts for Courses

​AccessAbility Services (AAS) is responsible for securing textbooks in alternative format for approved students who request them.

Students request specific texts from AAS based on what they learn in MyMountHolyoke about their course readings. Faculty can assist in this effort by submitting book information and will find detailed submission instructions in MyMountHolyoke.

  • In accordance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, citation information for required texts must be submitted to the course listing page by the following annual deadlines:
    • Fall semester deadline:  July 1
    • Spring semester deadline:  December 1
  • Please include the full title, author, publisher, edition, and ISBN-13 if available.
  • No books? Please indicate “no books required” in MyMountHolyoke.

E-books and digital textbooks are not always accessible.  Every effort should be made to select E-books that are accessible.  If you plan on using e-books or digital textbooks in your class and know that you have a student with an alternative format accommodation, please contact AccessAbility Services.

Documents You Create

In general, Word documents, PowerPoint Presentations, Excel spreadsheets, an PDFs created from any of these Microsoft Office documents can be made accessible for the majority of readers. Follow the tips below to optimize your documents' accessible features:

  • Use Sans Serif fonts (e.g. Arial, Tahoma, Verdana) whenever possible.
  • Choose effective color contrast and avoid these color combos: red/blue, red/green, dark green/black/blue/black, shades of gray or tan.  A useful tool to confirm optimum color contrast is the Paciello Colour Contrast Analyser.
  • Do not use color alone to convey meaning.
  • If you are using Microsoft Office documents, run Microsoft's Accessibility Checker.

An concise resource guide on creating accessible Microsoft Office documents can be found on the National Center on Disability and Access to Education (NCDAE) webpage.

See also Dos and Don'ts on Designing for Accessibility from the UK Government for handy posters that you can hang near your computer as design guideline cheat sheets.


Universal Design Tips:

  • Post in-class handouts and Powerpoint slides to Moodle before class so that students may review the material before class.
  • If you plan to project the document during class, be certain the font size and projected color contrast is sufficient from all areas of the room. It is best to test this in your particular classroom at the start of the semester.
  • Consider providing written feedback in digital format. Track Changes is problematic for screen reader users.   
  • If you are using Microsoft PowerPoint, utilize default auto layouts that best fit the purpose of your slide content. Avoid using text boxes because tect within a textbox will not be viewable in Outline View.  You can check your content and reading order by viewing the PowerPoint presentation in Outline View.

Faculty - Scanned Documents for Courses

Use already digitized articles whenever possible.

  • Most of the articles in our MHC Library databases are already in accessible format for a majority of users.
    • Link to the article from Moodle or download the PDF and upload it to Moodle.  
    • Quickly search for an article by typing the title in the “Discover Supersearch” box on the LITS hompage.
    • For help with searching, contact your LITS liaison.

LITS can scan materials for courses, either personal materials or materials held in the library’s collection.  

If you choose to scan your own documents, please follow these best practices:

  • Understand copyright and fair use guidelines.
  • Include the book's title page and copyright page.
  • Post to Moodle scanned documents as PDFs.
  • Scanned PDFs must include high-quality text and pages need to be free of dark shadows or blurred text in the margins. See Scanning using the Multifunction Devices (MFDs) for techniques to avoid these issues.
  • PDF documents should include “selectable text”.  You can test this by trying to select, copy, and paste an excerpt of the text.  If you can do this then your document has Optical Character Recognition (OCR).
  • If your text is not selectable, run OCR your documents in Adobe Acrobat Pro to recognize text in image-only PDFs.  See How to OCR a PDF document.

Universal Design Tips:

  • In Adobe Acrobat Pro, delete unnecessary pages that were captured during the scanning process.  Rotate pages that are sideways or upside down.  
  • Make sure to include page numbers in your scanned documents.  
  • Handwritten bibliographic information is ok but also include it typed in the course syllabus.
  • Upload 1-page scans and avoid multiple page-scans.  This reduces cognitive load and eye-strain from reading small font.
  • Be consistent with document filenames and be sure they match the syllabus reference.  Recommended filename format is: author’s last name_title.
  • Copying and pasting a selection of OCR'ed text into a word document will also allow you to check the text quality.  AAS can survey your scanned documents for accessibility issues.

Scanning Accessibly Using the MFD (copier)

MFD's (or multifunction devices) are located in many offices and in several public locations throughout the campus.  Scanning is always free on any MFD.  To scan accessibly:

  1. Select the Email button on the MFD home screen
  2. In the Device Address Book, select your name/email address and "To" or select "Create new Contact" and enter email address, then X to close.  
  3. Advanced Settings tab: Resolution should be 300 DPI. Double check that the Output Color is black and white (text only) or grayscale (text and photos). Scanning in color produces very large files, so please only scan in color when color is important for the content.
  4. Layout tab: For books, select Original Size > Custom Scan Area.  Measure the book page and enter the coordinates, click OK. For printed pages, use the auto detect setting and use the document feeder on the MFD.
  5. Job Assembly tab: Click Build Job, and turn it on.      
  6. Scan pages needed, making sure to press down hard on the spine of the book to avoid shadows in the margins.
    • Scan your document as a 1-page rather than 2-page scan.
  7. Select Submit Job to finish a section.
  8. See How to OCR a PDF Document.

Scanning Tips and Tricks

  • Working with big/fat books that don't lay well on the scanning bed:
    • Make sure there is pressure on the spine of the book.
    • If the pages are bigger than tabloid, the MFD will not be able to scan the item.
    • Pages can be scanned in landscape and then rotated in Adobe Acrobat Pro.
    • Or,  if this is for a course ask LITS to do the scanning for you.  See How to Submit E-Reserves.
  • Use only “clean” source materials, e.g. avoid handwritten notes, underlining, and color highlighting.  
    • LITS may be able to help you get clean, print copies.  LITS also may already have e-book or PDF access or can acquire access.  To discuss options, please search the library catalog or contact your LITS liaison.
  • When text on the opposite page shows through thin paper pages:
    • On the MFD, from Advanced Settings, choose Image enhancement > background suppression.

 

How to Make Your PDF More Accessible

PDF documents must include “selectable text”.  You can test this by trying to double-click on an individual word or trying to select, copy and paste an excerpt into a Word document.  Optical character recognition (OCR) is the conversion of images of typed, handwritten or printed text into machine-encoded and "selectable" text.   If your text is not selectable, OCR your documents to recognize text in image-only PDFs.   

Resources:

  • Recognize text tool in Abode Acrobat Professional
  • Convert document to a Tagged PDF using Robobraille
    • ​Robobraille is a free, accurate, and safe document conversion tool. To use robobraille, follow the link above, upload a file, choose a preferred format, and enter your email address.  The converted file is emailed to you within minutes!

Understanding Copyright and Fair Use

  • Content that is uploaded to Moodle for access by all students or distributed via email for courses (or otherwise) must comply with Fair Use.  See LITS resources for understanding Fair Use.
  • Additionally, providing accessible content to individuals with disabilities is widely considered a fair use in and of itself.  If you have a specific request for an individual student with documented need, please work with AAS.
  • Fair Use is complicated!  For help, please contact your LITS liaison.  LITS is happy to work with you to discuss options for effectively meeting your needs.
Springshare's information on Accessibility in Libguides - - MHC Accessibility Barriers Form