Digital Accessibility

Tommy Trojan

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you had a good summer and I look forward to seeing you on campus soon.

USC is committed to supporting its students with disabilities, and faculty routinely do this through the provision of academic accommodations. Digital Accessibility refers to how we make courses accessible for students who may not be able to see materials or hear course content, or who may not use a keyboard or mouse in a typical manner. These students rely on Assistive Technologies such as screen reading software to access course materials.

When a student uses Assistive Technologies, the Office of Student Accessibility Services (OSAS) can usually secure digital versions of textbooks, articles, and novels or captioned videos from the publisher without any additional work from the faculty member; however, other course materials, such as faculty-created lecture slides and assignments, must be individually remediated. In these cases, the faculty member’s knowledge and direction is needed.

If you have a student with a disability who needs accessible course materials in your class, OSAS will notify you of this fact and ask for your assistance to develop a plan to meet the student’s needs. You can expect a conversation with OSAS to discuss the technologies the student uses, the nature of your course materials, and the requirements of your course. You are also likely to have a conversation with your student to understand how their accommodations will work in your class. The remediation plan will be influenced by the discipline, the type of materials, and the technologies the student uses.

I want to stress you are not required to change your course requirements or lower your expectations. Faculty determine course content, learning objectives, and discipline-appropriate pedagogical approaches. While faculty are expected to reasonably cooperate to make materials accessible, you can also expect support from OSAS, your department, and your school.

If you have any questions about Digital Accessibility, please reach out to Dr. Debbie Jih, Senior Director of OSAS at If you would like to learn more about Digital Accessibility in the classroom, you may reach out for additional support to the Center for Excellence in Teaching or to the Office of Institutional Accessibility. Providing appropriate digital access to our students is a shared responsibility, and I thank you for your partnership.


Charles F. Zukoski
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

cc: Academic Deans