gray background
WSU Online Courses > Teaching an Online Course > What you need to know > Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
magnifying glass printer icon

Teaching an Online Course

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

  • All syllabi must include information about the process for requesting reasonable accommodation
  • All students have the right to access digital content of a course so that material must be accessible
  • All students who may need reasonable accommodations should be referred to the WSU Access Center (formerly the Disability Resource Center)

Technology in the 21st century provides for the creation of diverse and sophisticated course content. At the same time, the flexibility and convenience of online learning has made education even more accessible for people with learning challenges and disabilities. Course design and navigation must not leave these students behind. All students have a legal and ethical right to access all content in an online course space and to participate in all activities associated with the online course. For more information, read the Introduction to Web Accessibility.

When creating an online course and using various online technologies (e.g., online video) it is critical to not only comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines but to intentionally structure a course to provide individuals equal access to all content and to best accommodate assistive technologies.

The WSU Online team places ADA accessibility at the forefront of course and web design by creating mediated content in alternative formats, for example, but does not have the resources to do the same for third party websites or technologies utilized by a course. Third party websites, like YouTube or textbook sites, and third party technologies (e.g., e-readers) can offer various options for teaching and learning. Instructors can use these third party websites or technologies as additional resources, or as a major component of their course; where students engage with content and with peers, submit assignments, and take exams. If it is decided to use a third party website or technology, it is then the responsibility of the instructor to work with the student and the WSU Access Center to ensure that the course content is accessible.

Your course syllabus must contain information regarding the availability of reasonable accommodation. An approved statement is available here. All WSU Online syllabi contain this information.

The WSU Access Center is responsible to work with students to design needed reasonable accommodations. If a student informs you that they have a disability needing accommodation and/or requests an accommodation, you should refer the student to the WSU Access Center. Refer the student even if the student received accommodations from a previous school.

If the student already worked with the WSU Access Center to obtain a reasonable accommodation, you should be provided a written form describing the accommodation. You are required to provide the accommodation on that form. Contact the Access Center if providing that accommodation is a hardship or materially alters the nature of your course.

Additional information on student accommodations: Accommodations Process and Statement for Course Syllabus


Can’t remember how to add a forum or document to your course space? We’ve got handy documents for you to review any time, day or night! Check them out here.

The Global Campus, PO Box 645220, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5220, 800-222-4978, 509-335-3557, Contact Us
Copyright © 2017 Board of Regents, Washington State University | Accessibility | Policies | Copyright