Below are some frequently asked questions and answers about electronic and information technology accessibility at Gonzaga University. To return to the top of the page, use the caret (^) at the end of the question.
Electronic Information Technology Accessibility (EITA) is universal access for electronic materials, similar to how curb cuts and ramps provided physical access in the 1990s and have become standard building expectations today. EITA ensures all members of the Gonzaga community have equal access to Gonzaga’s web and electronic information, including: Blackboard class materials, Word documents, PowerPoints, video, podcasts, and PDFs.
Any employee of Gonzaga University who creates web content, instructional materials, or other GU documents should ensure they are accessible to the best of their ability. Consulting and guidance will be provided on making extensive materials more accessible.
If you have questions about your responsibilities for accessible content, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Making accessible Word, PowerPoint, Excel and PDF documents has become easier for the people creating them! If you are familiar with formatting tools built into Office (such as bullet points, numbered lists, heading styles, charts/tables), your document is already mostly accessible to a wide range of readers.
Both Microsoft and Adobe include accessibility checkers in their software that tell you what your documents needs in order to be accessible. While Adobe takes you to their website, Microsoft will tell you in the software why something should be more accessible and the steps needed to do so. As you learn what makes an accessible document, it will be easier to design with accessibility in mind, saving you more work while creating a document.
Learn more about the Microsoft Accessibility Checker.
We highly encourage faculty and staff to provide accessible electronic materials in a timely manner. One easy way to do this is by using publisher resources, such as supplemental videos for textbooks. These videos may already be close captioned or accompanied by transcripts. However, we understand if you find a good article or YouTube clip you want to share with your class or coworkers later in the day and can't make the material accessible right away.
If you want to share a document or video that doesn’t appear to be accessible, we recommend it is material that will be used once in a class/meeting/event for individuals that don’t require accommodations. (If you have prior knowledge that there are individuals that require accommodations, the material should be made accessible.)
If the document or video you want to share is intended to be shown more than once and can’t be made accessible immediately, we recommend showing the material once as is and then making it accessible afterwards for future use.
To learn more about the importance of video captioning, visit the Videos - Media Overview page.
Yes, there is a difference between accessibility and accommodations! An accommodation means that an individual with a documented disability is provided with an alternate method of gaining information, performing a task, or participating in a work/school/community environment. Some accommodations include Braille or large print materials, transcribers or interpreters, and services like note takers and accommodated testing. Accommodations are individualized and can change as needed over time.
Meanwhile, creating an accessible environment means any person—with a disability or without—has the same opportunity to independently access information, participate, and obtain services. For example, if a Word document is designed with proper heading structure, images with alternate text, and proper spacing, then a blind individual using a screen reader won’t have trouble accessing the information in the document; this is because the document was made to be accessible and may not require additional accommodations for that document. As electronic accessibility goes up, the need for accommodation should go down.
While we encourage academic creativity among our GU students and faculty, it is pertinent to consider every student’s, employee’s and instructor’s right to communication and information access. Gonzaga University dedicates itself to inclusion and social justice—this creates an environment allowing all at Gonzaga to participate, communicate, and learn. Faculty still have the academic freedom to discuss with each other, their own departments, and potential vendors to find engaging, yet accessible material for the classroom.
As of Fall 2016, the primary concern of accessibility is the creation and use of accessible, educational and professional materials. New software needs to meet accessibility guidelines. Down the road, Gonzaga will conduct an audit of existing programs and applications to determine accessibility.
If you have concerns that current programs or applications your department uses don’t meet accessibility policy requirements, please contact email@example.com to discuss how to make these programs as accessible as possible for all members of the GU community.
For questions about GU's EITA Policy and best practices in Microsoft Office, Adobe, and online content:
EIT Accessibility Technician, ITS
For questions about accommodations:
Assistant Director, Disability Access Services
For general questions about accessibility laws and the complaint filing process:
Assistant Director, Equity & Inclusion