An accessible college experience

From TikTok tips to classroom accommodations, the Disability Center offers resources to create a more accessible Mizzou

From the desk of Bill Stackman, vice chancellor for student affairs

Did you know more than 1,700 students live with disabilities that require some accommodation during their time at Mizzou? While some of these disabilities are apparent, the range of disabilities that students have is very diverse and can include physical impairments that would require the use of a wheelchair, hearing loss, learning disabilities, chronic migraines, post-traumatic stress disorder and more.  

This is where the Disability Center can help 

Picture of caption enabled during a Zoom class
Enabling captions on Zoom, both in and out of the classroom, is one way to make digital content more accessible.

If you are an MU student and you have a documented disability, the Disability Center can help you get what you need to have an equal educational opportunity at Mizzou.  

Beyond ensuring equal access in the classroom, the Disability Center also serves as a resource center for how we as Tigers can play a role in creating a more inclusive environment for students with disabilities 

One way we can be strong allies is to make sure what we put online — from social media to blog posts — is digitally accessible.  

“To have a truly accessible campus, far more needs to be done than establishing accommodations within the classroom,” said Ashley Brickley, director of the Disability Center. “With the pandemic limiting in-person activities, more events and social interactions beyond the classroom are happening online. This is where digital accessibility is key. For example, tools such as captioning and using high-contrast colors in designs, helps everyone access content.”  

Digital accessibility is the practice of designing and developing websites, software and other media so they are usable by everyone, regardless of ability. It is a proactive step all of us —students, faculty and staff — can take to create an inclusive college experience for all Tigers.  

Just as we construct new buildings with accessible entrances, we need to consider how people with disabilities will interact with our media, including what we post on social media to share with friends.  

With more events and activities happening online, Brickley suggests incorporating the following tips in their social media and digital activities:  

  1. Use descriptive link text to provide users context about where the link will take them.  
  2. Use headings to create outlines in PDFs and web pages. These headings make text more accessible to screen readers.  
  3. Choose colors with high contrast to ensure that designs are easy to read.  
  4. Describe images using alt text and captions.  
  5. Include subtitles when sharing videos— this includes TikTok and Instagram. With more people viewing content on phones, captions allow content to be viewed without audio, which benefits everyone.  

If you are interested in learning additional ways and tips for creating accessible digital content, please visit digitalaccess.missouri.edu