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Syllabus Design

Your syllabus is an important document as it is not only the agreement between you and your students on learning outcomes/objectives but sets the stage for your approach to access in your course!

Some ideas for equitable syllabus access design:

  • Present content in multiple ways. Use alt tags for images or provide a text-only version that screen reader users can access.
  • Make use of bulleted lists and paragraph breaks to break up large amounts of text.
  • Use headings.
  • First-person, positive language.  
  • Include statements about your interest in ensuring your course is welcoming to all students and how to access various campus resources.

Some syllabus samples regarding disability accommodations/the Center for Disability Resources:

Fall 2023 examples:

“I recognize that course design may pose barriers to a student’s ability to access or demonstrate mastery of course content. I honor academic accommodations as outlined via the Center for Disability Resources, and in discussion regarding what is reasonable for this course.  Students with long or short term disabilities should schedule an appointment by emailing [email protected], or calling the the Center for Disability Resources, 651-696-6275. 

I am committed to ensuring access to course content for all students, including those with disabilities. If you have a disability, please meet with me early in the semester to discuss your accommodation plan.  If you have not yet obtained a plan or are unsure if you have a disability that requires accommodation,  please contact Disability Resources: [email protected], or call 651-696-6275.”

“In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Macalester College works hard to ensure that all facilities and programs are accessible to all students. Accommodations are based on individual need substantiated by the appropriate process.  What is reasonable is also determined by what is essential to this course. Any students who believe that they may need accommodations due to disability impacts should contact the Center for Disability Resources office by emailing [email protected], or by calling 651-696-6974 to schedule an appointment to discuss your individual needs.  Students should then follow up with me directly to discuss accommodations for this course.” 

Do you have other ideas on providing accessible syllabus information? Contact us!

Information adapted from Access College: The Faculty Room