Digital tablet with notepad, supplies on desk and coffee cup on desktop.

Designing Accessible Learning Environments

Montclair State University is committed to ensuring that all students, regardless of ability, have an opportunity to learn equal to those of their peers. Montclair State University’s Mission Statement confirms its commitment “to a learning community that is deeply and broadly reflective of the diverse population of New Jersey” and beyond.

Although the Disability Resource Center (DRC) assists students in receiving accommodations to equalize access, faculty play a key role in ensuring that courses are accessible to all students. It is imperative that the three principles of Universal Design for Learning are considered in your approach to teaching and learning:

  1. Multiple Means of Representation: Learners differ in the ways they perceive and comprehend information.
  2. Multiple Means of Action and Expression: Learners differ in the ways they can navigate a learning environment and express what they know.
  3. Multiple Means of Engagement: Learners differ in the ways they can be engaged or motivated to learn.

In order to implement UDL principles in your teaching practices, there are a number of resources available to you and your students. Below are resources for making your course materials accessible to all learners:

Canvas Accessibility

To create an accessible Canvas course, it is important that you design it with UDL principles in mind and provide instructional materials that are accessible. Canvas provides several tools to help you to build content that is accessible and accommodate students that need extra time on quizzes and/or assignments:

Accessible Course Materials

According to the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) for Learning, accessible educational materials are print- and technology-based educational materials, including printed and electronic textbooks and related core materials that are designed or enhanced in a way that makes them usable across the widest range of learner variability, regardless of format (e.g., print, digital, graphic, audio, video). Below are resources on how to create accessible educational materials.

Documents & File Conversion:


Images and Alternative Descriptions:


Charts, Tables and Equations:



Montclair State University Digital Accessibility Initiative

The Digital Accessibility Initiative includes resources to help ensure that all digital content, whether in the form of course materials, web pages, documents, videos or applications systems, are developed and posted in a manner that is accessible. Their website includes many valuable resources: