Course Readings

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Summary: The same things you do to a document to make it accessible (including descriptive headings, embedded hyperlinks, and more) also make it more usable for all your students. Campus resources can help you implement these best practices into your course website.

This article discusses “course readings” broadly: any piece of content linked to your course website that you expect students to read. 

Creating accessible readings from the beginning (during the planning stage of your course) is ideal. A properly formatted PDF of a journal article, for example, makes it possible for students to make digital annotations in their favorite PDF reader software, and make it possible to read using a screen reader.

Campus resources are here to help you--contact the eReserves librarian directly, or your college’s academic technology team or Academic Technology Support Services.

Library Course Reserves for digital materials

Use the Library Course Reserves and Digital Course Packs. When the Library Staff creates or receives a new PDF for course reserve or for a course pack. they automatically OCR (Optical Character Recognition) the material to make it possible for students to digitally annotate or listen with a screen reader. 

Older, legacy PDFs on some of the reserve pages that have been used over and over again across semesters may still not be OCRed. If your students encounters a PDF on a reserve page that isn't OCRed, they may contact staff at and request that the material be updated.

The above applies *only* to PDFs the Library staff have made (or moderated when received through faculty).

Unfortunately, the Libraries have no control over whether a vendor has OCRed material that comes from e-journal databases or from ebooks.  

Document Conversion Unit for print materials

The Document Conversion Unit, part of the Disability Resource Center can convert textbooks and other resources.

Instructor-created materials

But you can also do these things yourself if you are a DIY type of person. See these resources for creating accessible:

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