San Jose State University
Welcome to our Spring 2024 Newsletter!
Dear colleagues,

Welcome to the first edition of Accessibility @ SJSU, a newsletter offered by SJSU’s Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI) committee. We aim to provide accessibility-related information, reminders, and updates for employees at the start of each semester.

Our biggest news at the moment is we are ready to unveil the completely revamped Accessibility @ SJSU website! This page—linked in the footer of every SJSU site—offers a one-stop-shop for information about accommodations, as well as resources and guidelines for creating accessible content. You can also learn about the committees and policies that guide SJSU’s approach to accessibility. The site is a work in progress; we invite you to check it out and offer any suggestions for the next iteration via the feedback form on the main page.

Please join me in thanking the group that worked over many months to reorganize and update the site: Monica Bosque, Assistant Director of Web Development; Patience Bryant, Interim Deputy Diversity Officer and Director of Black/African American Equity; Ann Chung, Accessible Education Center (AEC) Student Assistant; Deanna Fassett, Professor of Communication Studies; Erin Garcia, Faculty Success Project Specialist; Christina Mune, Associate Dean of Innovation and Resource Management; and Iggy Villavelazquez-Hill, AEC Director. A special thanks also goes to Sara Wildman, Instructional Designer for eCampus, for providing key input on guidelines and tools for accessible content.

This newsletter includes:
  1. What We’re Checking Out: recommended readings and podcasts
  2. Employee Accommodations Resource Center News
  3. King Library Resources
  4. Accessible Education Center Updates
  5. eCampus Updates
  6. University Council on Accommodation and Compliance 

Each of us plays a role in upholding SJSU’s commitment to equity and inclusion for all members of our campus community. A key part of that responsibility is bringing an accessibility-centered lens to our day-to-day work. Please read on for the latest tools and resources to further that mission.

Thank you,
Magdalena L. Barrera
Vice Provost for Faculty Success
ATI Steering Committee Chair

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5 Disabled Folks on How to Welcome Everyone During the Holidays : The holidays may have passed, but it’s never too late to take these suggestions
for making all gatherings accessible.

Disability Visibility: First Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century is an online community dedicated to creating, sharing, and amplifying disability media and culture. It is available at MLK Library and as a podcast!

Ten Steps to Recruitment Equity for Disabled Academics : “Disabled academics are under-represented across university departments. [This article shares] 10 strategies to enhance disability inclusion throughout the academic recruitment process.”

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Did You Know?  

Built-in accessibility tools on your smartphone can help support your vision, mobility, hearing, speech, and cognitive needs? For example, iPhone and Android phones can listen for the sounds of a barking dog, breaking glass, crying baby, doorbell, siren, and more and will send you an on-screen notification when it hears these sounds. Tap Settings | Accessibility | Sounds Recognition, then flip the switch for each type of sounds for which you want to receive a notification. Simply search “accessibility” on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop to learn more.

Make Your Training/Presentations Accessible

Have an upcoming presentation? Consider the tips below to make your talk more accessible:

  • Accessible online registration
  • Ask participants if they need accommodations

  • Appropriate signage
  • Well marked emergency procedures
  • Accessible restrooms
  • Accessible parking
  • Elevators

Training Room:
  • Accessible speaking platform
  • Seating arranged for mobility aid access

Food & Beverage:
  • Serving area arranged for mobility aid access 
  • Consideration of allergy restrictions
  • Assistance with getting food and beverages

Presenters should be mindful that any images they include in their presentations should be explained or described. Presenters should always use a microphone so that anyone wearing hearing devices (hearing aids, headphone, neck loop) can hear. 
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King Library offers a variety of services and resources to ensure our collections are accessible to everyone.

King Library and branch libraries throughout San Jose frequently host disability inclusion events.
Check out the events calendar!
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Your Support Matters
Recognizing and supporting students with disabilities is vital to creating an inclusive educational experience. Your support, awareness, and empathy matter to those around you and by displaying these characteristics, we can create opportunities for full participation in all aspects of students’ lives. 
Accommodation Notification Letters
Notification letters have begun being sent. The letters will notify faculty of prescribed accommodations. Letters do not disclose the diagnosis or disability-related limitations. It is essential to respect the student’s privacy and autonomy. If a student does not choose to disclose their disability(ies), do not push for information or make assumptions. Private meetings are best when discussing accommodations, learning about the student’s strengths, and how best to support the implementation of prescribed accommodations. 
Accessible Furniture 
With the support of FD&O, AEC places accessible furniture in classrooms. The furniture is strictly for student use. As faculty you will know the student and furniture assigned; aid the University by ensuring the student has priority use of the furniture during class time and that the furniture remains in the classroom until the end of the semester. 
Glean is the software selected by SJSU to enable equal access to lectures at the start of each term. The accommodation was intentionally designed to support faculty rights, but also Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Presidential Directive 97-03
Students prescribed Glean for note-taking services sign an agreement each semester. Agreements align with faculty rights in support of University Policy S12-7.  

  • Glean is for the use of the lecture sections of class, not private settings. Classrooms and/or lecture halls are public University spaces.
  • The Faculty Notification Letter provides faculty with a notice. 
  • The audio recordings captured by the program are not disseminated and are solely for the use of the intended student.
  • Sharing of any portion of the recording would require consent from the AEC, who would enlist faculty feedback before providing approval.
Glean may, at times, not be appropriate due to the sensitive nature of a course subject or cause a fundamental alteration of course requirements. In those cases, faculty would notify AEC and together an equally effective alternative would be identified.  Visit AEC’s Notetaking Services site for additional security and accessibility compliance information.

Please note: If faculty have concerns that a particular accommodation would fundamentally alter the academic course/program, they can discuss those concerns with AEC—not the student—as part of the interactive process. However, failing or refusing to provide or implement AEC-approved accommodations is inconsistent with CSU and SJSU policy and creates risk to the University (and to the individual), including for claims of disability discrimination.
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Break down barriers to learning by creating accessible course materials!  
All students benefit from accessible materials and creating them from the start will save time in the long run. Consider these scenarios: 
  • Many students use digital tools while studying like searching, copying and pasting. If your documents have selectable text, they’ll be accessible for students using digital tools and students who are blind or have low-vision and are using screen readers. 
  • When all your images have alternative text, students who have unreliable WIFI and students who use screen readers can still understand what meaning the images represent.
  • Including captions on all videos benefits students who are studying in a loud environment or a public place, and Deaf or hard of hearing students can also access the materials.

Leverage these tools:
Start by viewing your Ally Course Accessibility Report in the left hand navigation menu of Canvas. The report provides useful insight into the accessibility of your course materials and guides you in fixing issues such as scanned PDFs, documents or Canvas pages without headings, images without alternative (ALT) text, issues with color contrast and more. See Ally Resources for Instructors for useful video tutorials and text-based resources. 
Also, let your students know about Ally’s Alternative Formats. They’re automatically generated and provide students a variety of ways to interact with the course content.

When creating Google Docs, Google Slides and Google Sheets take advantage of GrackleDocs which is a Google Add-On that scans your materials and provides guidance on fixing accessibility issues. Once you’re comfortable using GrackleDocs, creating new documents with accessibility in mind will come naturally. This tool is only available for faculty and staff.

Create videos and share them using Panopto! Creating accessible video content is easy with Panopto’s accurate automatic captions. Just be sure to edit your video captions to adhere to accessibility standards. Plus, students will benefit from the video viewer features such as searching and bookmarking.

For Assistance
For general assistance with creating inclusive and accessible course materials or for specific accessibility questions, reach out to or make an appointment for a consultation with an Instructional Designer.
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Are you interested in learning more about accessibility? Consider enrolling in the Accessibility with Ally: A Self-Directed Course! 

This asynchronous, self-paced Canvas course is designed to support you in creating accessible and inclusive course content for in-person, online, and hybrid modalities. 

Module Overview: 
  • Module 1 introduces Ally, an accessibility tool in Canvas.
  • Module 2 outlines common accessibility considerations in higher-education.
  • Module 3 provides a solid background in accessible design concepts.
  • Modules 4-8 provide step-by-step guidance on using Media, Canvas, Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat DC to create accessible and inclusive learning experiences.

Each module concludes with practical hands-on assessments with feedback from an eCampus instructional designer. The course can be used as a reference or all module assessments
can be completed with 80% or above score to receive a badge! 
We are thrilled to introduce the University Council on Accommodation and Compliance (UCAC) to our campus family on behalf of the council members! 

The UCAC is dedicated to fostering equal access and opportunities for participation in SJSU programs, activities, and services. The UCAC monitors and provides recommendations to the university, ensuring compliance with policies that serve all students, employees, and visitors with disabilities. Our aim is to support equity across our campus and within the services provided. 

Your input is crucial as we strive to fulfill our mission of creating an inclusive and accessible campus for everyone. You can reach out to co-chairs Jihyun Lee ( and Gigi Smith ( at any team with your questions and ideas for UCAC.

- Co-Chairs Lee and Smith
San Jose State University
One Washington Square
San Jose, CA 95192

Last Updated Feb 6, 2024