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How to make your teaching materials accessible at UCL

Library Services and Digital Accessibility can help course convenors create accessible teaching materials for students on taught modules at UCL.

ReadingLists@UCL

Using ReadingLists@UCL is the best way to support your students on taught modules. It ensures resources are purchased by the library, and as they buy electronic format as a first preference, this can help make readings more accessible.

There is guidance available for supporting print impaired students with an online reading list. This could include students who are blind, who have a visual impairment, or who have a learning difference, such as dyslexia.

For information on how to set up an online reading list, and for help in doing so, please see the ReadingLists@UCL Guide.

Moodle Health Check

Does your Moodle course contain PDF or Word document readings that may not be accessible, or links that don't work off-campus?  Have you taken over a module and need help tidying documents into a reading list? Good news: we can help!

Teaching and Learning Services in the library manages both ReadingLists@UCL and the UCL copyright licences.  Given access to Moodle, or a list of readings, they can undertake a one-off project to re-create your reading list in ReadingLists@UCL and update your links and documents to be both copyright compliant and more accessible.  We will give you editing access and offer orientation training so that you or a colleague can take over managing your list once set up.

Contact readinglists@ucl.ac.uk and ask for a 'Moodle Health Check'. Please note: we are very busy around the start of Terms 1 and 2 but we will let you know a timeline that accommodates our existing workload.

Moodle and Blackboard Ally

Blackboard Ally runs within Moodle to provide alternative file formats for students and accessibility guidance for staff. 

Ally uses machine learning to convert the files uploaded to Moodle into alternative file formats. Students will be able to choose to download a file from Moodle in its original format or in an alternative format, for example as an Mp3 audio file, braille formatted file, or tagged PDF. Alternative formats will only be as accessible as the original source file. You should therefore always ensure you follow best practice when creating your original file.

Additionally, Ally provides staff with an accessibility score for files already on Moodle and for new files as they are uploaded. Ally should be used in conjunction with the guidance provided by Digital Education.

Visit UCL's staff guide for Blackboard Ally to find out more.

Content sourced from ISD's Moodle and MyPortfolio page.

Library Accessibility Team

We are aware that students will sometimes require readings that exceed the fair dealing restrictions that apply on ReadingLists@UCL and Moodle. If this material is only available in print at UCL then some of our students will not be able to obtain an accessible copy by borrowing it from the library, in particular students who are blind, with a visual impairment, with a learning difference, or who have a physical impairment.

Students that can’t access print material in the same way as their peers may qualify for a copyright exception, and our Library Accessibility team can work with you to ensure that these readings are provided to them directly in an accessible digital format. If a student on your course requires this support, please contact us at lib-accessibility@ucl.ac.uk.

We can also be contacted if there are any accessibility issues with our electronic resources, for instance if:

  • An e-book or e-article is only available online in an inaccessible digital format.
  • An e-resource platform is not accessible, and a student is having issues navigating to their readings.
  • Digital Rights Management (DRM) is preventing a student from downloading their readings so that they can be converted to an accessible digital format.
Sensus Access

UCL Sensus Access can be used by UCL students and staff to create a copy of a digital reading in an accessible format. Files are uploaded using a webform, and once processed a digital copy will be sent to the relevant UCL email address.

The service is available at any time and can be used by students when staff are not available to assist them. The maximum upload size for files is 64mb.

Digital Accessibility Team

The Digital Accessibility team provides resource, training and advice for creating accessible content, guiding UCL students and staff so that they can work and study in an accessible way.

Digital Skills Development

Digital Skills Development can help staff and students meet their academic, professional and personal needs. They offer face-to-face training, drop-in sessions, and online learning opportunities in areas such as data analysis, Office 365, programming, desktop applications, and more.

RNIB Bookshare

UCL has an account with RNIB Bookshare, a database that students and staff with a print impairment can use to obtain accessible digital copies of books when suitable formats are not already available. The Bookshare database contains over 1 million titles, and they receive new files from publishers via an automatic feed. Books not in the database can be provided by the Library Accessibility team.

Students will gain access to RNIB Bookshare if this is included in their Summary of Reasonable Adjustments. If you feel that a student on your course would benefit from access to Bookshare, please advise that they contact Student Support and Wellbeing.

Scan and Send

The UCL Scan and Send service allows UCL staff and students to request digital copies of book chapters and journal articles that are held at UCL (copyright permitting). The chapters or articles will be scanned and emailed to you in an accessible format.

We advise that Course Convenors use ReadingLists@UCL to provide all course reading materials, as this will ensure files are in an accessible format and compliant with our CLA license.

Scan & Send will provide materials in an accessible format, but course convenors should contact our Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) team before uploading these files to Moodle. TLS can also provide a ‘Moodle Health Check” on request to ensure that all materials on a module page are compliant with our CLA license.