Web Accessibility Resources & Materials

What is it and and Why?

Online or web accessibility is the inclusive practice of removing barriers to ensure that everyone has equal access to perceive, understand, engage, navigate and interact with all online content, including websites, web applications, online documents (Word, PDF, etc.) and online course materials.

An online document or tool is considered accessible when it can be easily understood and used by everyone, regardless of the browser or assistive technology being used.

The Importance of Accessibility

The Internet has become an increasingly important resource for all areas of life, including education. Michigan State University is committed to ensuring that the diverse audience we serve are provided with accessible websites and documents in the classroom, workplace, research labs, and places for recreation.

The MSU Web Accessibility Policy

In July of 2008, the MSU community was informed that they must move towards compliance with the university's Web Accessibility Policy. MSU employees were asked to update all university Web pages used to conduct university business or academic activities to meet the Web Accessibility Technical Guidelines of the policy outlined in Section I over the past five years.

CANR and our Five-Year Compliance Plan

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources has submitted a Five-Year Accessibility Compliance Plan as required by MSU, which lays out our roadmap for accessibility compliance. This plan covers all units within the college.

What it impacts?

  • Websites (developers and editors): All public facing sites that showcase the work we do within or without the msu.edu domain.
  • Courses (professors): All university courses with online courses being the most vulnerable.
  • Emails to students.

Types of content impacted

All content posted on websites and used within courses, including:

  • Documents;
  • Graphics, images and tables; 
  • Videos; and
  • Presentations.

Accessibility Resources

MSU has developed a web accessibility website to act as a central location for university resources regarding accessibility including a basic checklist for online content accessibility. The basic checklist serves as a starting point for understanding accessibility and beginning to review your online content for compliance with MSU’s Web Accessibility Policy.

MSU has also developed several tutorialstemplatestrainings, and resources for website, course and document accessibility.

Online Accessibility Resources (Internal)

Online Accessibility Videos and Trainings (External)

Online Accessibility Checklists and Tools (External)

How to Handle Requests for Course Accommodations (Professors)

The Verified Individualized Services and Accommodations (VISA) is the primary method of documentation that enables students to validate and communicate their needs to faculty as determined via a thorough assessment of needs by the MSU Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities. A similar form of documentation is called a VISTA and performs the same functions for students with conditions of a temporary nature.

Help and Points of Contact

Your primary point of contact for accessibility will be your department’s web accessibility policy liaison. Your department liaison will be able to answer questions regarding accessibility, as well as direct you to available resources.

ANR and MSU Phone Tree

If you have been contacted by a student and you need immediate/emergency assistance regarding the accessibility of your content, it is important that you continue to contact college and university resources until you speak with someone directly, beginning with your department’s accessibility liaison.

If your department liaison is unavailable or unable to assist you, the following ANR and MSU points of contact are also available to you:  

ANR Support

University Support