Instructional Materials

 Instructional Materials

CSUN strives to create learning environments to support all students. This requires instructional materials to be universally designed and/or provide accessible alternate options. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) promotes designing learning environments and materials to be accessible for all learners. The Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI) is a CSU system-wide policy advocating for accessible web content, procurement processes, and instructional materials. In addition, in May 2017, CSUN updated our planning priority to include: Diversity and Inclusive Excellence. These executive-level initiatives and priorities demonstrate CSUN's dedication and commitment to serving all of our students.

 Accessible Technology Initiative- Instructional Materials


Instructional multimedia can be leveraged to address learner variability and provide flexibility in digital learning environments.  Incorporating UDL principles will minimize technological barriers while designing, developing, or collecting multimedia content.  Multimedia is best presented by using multiple means of representation (UDL Guidelines (PDF)). Consider the following ways to incorporate accessible instructional materials in videos, audio, images, and text.

Videos: Captions, audio descriptions (for slide content and images), and transcripts ensure lectured content is accessible to all learners. These multiple means of representation allows all viewer to 1) interact with the video using search filters on transcripts, 2) gain access to slide content for people with low-vision or blindness, and 3) captioning video content to be viewed by people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Captions, audio descriptions, and transcripts will not only benefit people with learning differences, but various studies have shown how captioned video will increase the amount of time spent watching the video and improve comprehension.

Explore: UDL in Higher Education- Video

CSUN Resource: Lecture Capture Options

CSUN Captioning: Request Services (See Media Captioning on bottom of page) 

UsersTransforms LearningLearner Type
CaptionsAllows video content to be viewed by people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, English is a second language, or cognitive learning differencesFacilitates anytime/ anywhere learning (loud places), reduces technical barriers (need for speakers/ headphones), provides learner variabilityBenefits all learners
Audio DescriptionsAllows all video content (including slides and images) to be heard for people with low vision, blindness, or cognitive learning differencesProvides an explicit description for visually represented information and when paired with instrumental music can captivate the viewer to build deeper connections
TranscriptsAllows video content to be viewed by people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, English is a second language, or cognitive learning differencesAllows users to search for keywords, review specific sections, navigate/search long videos

Audio: Transcripts of an audio file or podcast allows auditory content to be presented using multiple ways of representation. Transcripts can reduce barriers for people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, English is a second language, or have cognitive learning differences. In addition, transcripts allow users to search for keywords, jump to specific sections, and navigate longer clips.

Explore: UDL in Higher Education- Audio

Images: Alternative text (Alt text) allows visually represented instructional images to be presented in a format for people who are Blind or have low vision. Providing a written description of an image is critical. Alternative text grants equal access, especially to instructional images. Consider providing multiple means of presenting images: using tables to cross-reference information, graphs to visually represent data, and images that provoke thought and discussion by building emotional connections.

Explore: UDL in Higher Education- Images

CSUN Resource: Web Accessibility Criteria- Images

Text: Digital text is the primary source of presenting instructional content in online spaces. Typically, the text is accessible. However, additional consideration to formatting grants assistive technology ease in navigating content. To optimize text for learning, consider these strategies presented by UDL in Higher Education. For instance, changing the font size using headers provides visual and contextual breaks for sighted users and screen readers. All students could benefit from the use of a screen reader, i.e. listening to Audible books in the car, in loud spaces, or personal preference. Screen reader technology is transformed by leveraging interaction elements to highlight, transcribe, translate, pause, read aloud, and define words. Tools like Read&Write for Google are revolutionizing digital text for all learners.

CSUN Resource: Best Practice for Readability

CSUN Resource: Read&Write Gold (free for CSUN)

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Timely Adoption

CSUN makes specific efforts to adopt textbooks in a timely manner. This method ensures equity for students with disabilities who need alternative formats of the text. The policy outlines the Timely Adoption of textbooks and other instructional materials. 

 Policy on Timely Adoption of Textbooks/Instructional Materials for Accessibility (DOC) Word File

Creation of Accessible Instructional Materials

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles support inclusive learning environments to engage all learners. Using these principles to drive the development and design of instructional content ensure instructional materials will be readily available for all students. Consider the following while developing, re-designing, or collecting instructional material:

  • Creating accessible documents
  • Formatting digital text (headers, styles, color contrast, chunking information, etc.)
  • Providing closed captions, transcripts, and/or audio descriptions on multimedia