September 2018 Accessibility Updates


Hello and welcome to our second Digital Accessibility Update. It’s hard to believe that the end of September is almost upon us and that October is on deck.

October is Disability Awareness month at Yale, and that means there are many events and programs happening across campus that might be of interest to you. We’ve gathered together a few that pertain especially to digital accessibility, below. You’ll also find a list of accessibility workshops and trainings being held on campus.

Lastly, there are a number of Accessibility Heroes in this month’s update. We’re bolstered by the enthusiasm staff and faculty have shown for improving the accessibility of Yale’s many resources.

Table of Contents

Tip of the Month

When creating Word documents, make sure to use Headers in the Styles pane. Many of us are used to using bold, italics, or underlining to signal section changes in our documents, but screen readers cannot navigate these purely visual signals. By using Headers, screen reader users will be able to choose the section of a document they want to focus on rather than having to listen to the entire page.

If you don’t like how the default Headers are styled, you can modify them the same way you do other fonts and document elements. For more information, see using Headers in documents and formatting their styles from Microsoft Office’s Support page.

Trainings & Workshops

Web Accessibility Policy Information Session

Wednesday September 19, 10:00 am – 11:00 am, 120 High Street, SML Lecture Hall

Yale University is committed to making information, programs and activities on its websites and web applications accessible to people with disabilities. Policy 1605, the Web Accessibility Policy, went into effect earlier this year. September 1, 2018, marked an important date in the policy. All new University websites that are created or undergo substantial revisions from this point forward are required to be accessible. University website owners who manage sites that are maintained, upgraded or updated by vendors should work with Procurement to assure that the technology that is delivered is accessible.

The objectives for this session are to:    

  • Provide an overview of the web accessibility policy and procedures
  • Explain roles & responsibilities for improving the accessibility of Yale’s digital campus
  • Share resources available for purchasers, content creators, developers, and others

YaleSites – Special Topics: Accessibility Basics

Tuesday October 16, 9:30 am – 11:00 am

This class will cover the basics of website accessibility, as well as the actions you can take to improve or create an accessible website. Topics include link text, image text, heading structure, imagery and more! This class is recommended to anyone who works on a Yale website in some capacity, or for those with an interest in accessibility. Basic knowledge of YaleSites content editing is highly recommended before taking this session.=

Web Accessibility Training for Content Editors

Wednesday September 19, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, 221 Whitney Ave, LL3

Friday October 19, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, 25 Science Park Room 321

This half-day workshop is designed to train staff who input content into websites how to do so in ways that meet Yale’s Web Accessibility Policy. Note: This workshop is primarily for people who create content through tools such as Wordpress or YaleSites Drupal. Visual designers and developers who program websites using HTML, CSS, or JavaScript should check out Developer Training options.


  • Explain the roles and responsibilities for content editors in improving the accessibility of Yale’s digital campus
  • Teach best practice for creating and editing content to be accessible
  • Share resources available to assist content editors in maintaining accessible web content

Accessible Word Documents, PowerPoint Presentations and PDFs: Basics

Wednesday October 10, 9:00 am – 11:00 am: 221 Whitney Ave, Training Rooms 2/3

This beginner’s document accessibility workshop is designed to train staff in the basic methods used for making Word documents, PowerPoint Presentations, and PDFs digitally accessible, for inclusion on university websites or for university-related business, including teaching, student services, and other administrative support. It is appropriate for anyone interested in learning how to make documents used in everyday university business more accessible and will cover the fundamentals of document creation and remediation. This training does not require a computer, but attendees are encouraged to bring laptops if possible.

Accessible PDFs: Advanced

Thursday September 27, 9:00 am – 10:30 am 25 Science Park Room 321

Thursday October 25, 9:00 am – 10:30 am 25 Science Park Room 321

This workshop is designed for those who make PDFs for inclusion on university websites or for other university-related business, and want to try their hand at some of the advanced techniques for making accessible PDFs using Adobe Acrobat Pro. Doing advanced PDF remediation is admittedly tricky, and is not something that we expect many at Yale to master. The techniques that will be reviewed are helpful to know if you desire to make PDFs accessible in situations where you don’t have the original source files (Word files, etc.). If you haven’t first attended our basic document remediation course (or have an understanding of making accessible Office documents and exporting to PDF), you should consider signing up for that course first. The training room at 25 Science Park has computers and access to Acrobat Pro DC. Attendees are encouraged to bring laptops if they prefer working on their own computers. Practice files will be provided. Following along with the instructor has proven beneficial for some who have taken the training.

Canvas Accessibility Drop-In Hours

Wednesday September 26, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Wednesday October 3, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Monday Oct 15, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Tuesday Oct 30, 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Interested in how you can make your Canvas course sites and course materials more inclusive? Wondering what all this talk about accessibility means? Come to the Canvas/Course Accessibility Drop-In hours, where we will introduce you to the accessibility tool Ally in Canvas and share some easy ways you can begin the process of increasing the accessibility of your course content for your students.

All hours held at the Welcome Desk in the Center for Teaching and Learning, 301 York Street

Events & New Resources

Have an event you’d like us to feature or a resource to share? Email for inclusion in our next update.

New Resource

The Center for Teaching and Learning has recently published webpages geared specifically towards faculty. Faculty can schedule a consult, find resources on UDL principles and their application, and get answers to their questions about accessibility and course content.

Toward Inclusive Excellence: Increasing Ph.D. Attainment in the Physical Sciences for Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities

STEM Education Seminar: Dr. Keivan Stassun, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Vanderbilt University

Mann Student Center (DL 107) 10 Hillhouse Avenue 

September 28, 2018, 12:00 - 1:30 pm

We present evidence-based strategies for increasing Ph.D. attainment in the physical sciences for historically underrepresented individuals – women, minorities, and persons with disabilities. Key topics include holistic approaches to graduate admissions, partnerships with minority serving institutions, and wrap-around mentoring. We will also provide tools that we have developed to help facilitate efficacious implementation of these approaches.

RSVP for Lunch at the STEM Education Seminar

Library IT Tech Talk

Bass L01 AB

October 17, 2018, 3:00 – 4:00 pm

Technology that librarians can use for accessibility.

  • Accessibility Content Training by Michael Harris
  • Using Zoom Closed Captioning by Jenn Nolte
  • Accessible PDFs for Faculty and Students by Michelle Morgan
  • Accessibility Audit by Tracy MacMath

School of Drama

CART and ASL-serviced Performances of El Huracán

  • October 6,  2pm – Signed performance
  • October 13, 2pm – Audio described, touch tour performance
  • October 20, 2pm – Open Captioned

Founder’s Day: Library Open House

Sterling Memorial Library

October 9, 2018

  • Technology Touch Station
  • Library Accessibility Resources

Faculty Conversation About Accessible Course Materials

Teaching and Learning Lunches: Thinking About Accessibility

Julie Beth Zimmerman, Professor and Senior Dean for Academic Affairs, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

Sara Smiley Smith, Lecturer and Assistant Dean of Research and Sustainability, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

Center for Teaching and Learning 301 York Street, 120C

Thursday, October 18, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

RSVP for Lunch at the Thinking About Accessibility Learning Lunch

What can we do to make sure that our digital course materials are accessible to all of our students, including those with disabilities? This open discussion will feature the perspectives of two professors who have begun working to make their course materials more accessible.

Accessibility Heroes


These faculty have embraced working with the Digital Accessibility Team and the Center for Teaching and Learning to help make their course readings and documents more accessible.

Sarah Smiley Smith, Assistant Dean of Research and Sustainability; Lecturer, School of Forestry

Course: F&ES 551: Qualitative Social Science Research

Willie Jennings, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Africana Studies, Divinity School

Courses: REL 637: Doctrine of Creation and REL 679: Slavery & Obedience


Dana Augur, Client Services Specialist, School of Management, SOM

Dana revamped a complex SOM syllabus template, improving its usability and accessibility by presenting course information in a simpler format.

Meredith Mira, Senior Associate Director with the Office of Career Strategy Team

After seeing a presentation David Hirsch made about accessibility and teaching materials, Director Jeanine Dames invited David to make a similar presentation to the full Office of Career Strategy Team. Meredith has updated the cover letter and resume templates the Office of Career Strategy posts on their website. Meredith simplified, streamlined, and produced accessible versions for students to use as they begin their postgraduate job searches.


Graziano Kratli, Digital Projects & Technology Librarian and Suzanne Estelle-Holmer, Associate Director for Research, Collections and Access, Divinity School

Graziano and Suzanne have been instrumental to bringing accessibility efforts to the Divinity School and associated faculty. Their enthusiasm and unflagging commitment to making Yale a more digitally accessible campus will enable them to provide local expertise to faculty as we continue to move forward in these initiatives.