You are here: American University Provost Academic Access Creating Accessible Environments

Creating Accessible Environments (Digital or Physical)

We all have the responsibility of creating environments that ensure equal access. Explore these resources and contact the ASAC with additional questions.

Closed Captions
Accessible Events
SensusAccess & Kurzweil

The American University community creates materials with Microsoft Office software such as Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

Check your content for accessibility by using this simple tool.

MS Accessibility Checker

Please be aware that there are many versions of Adobe Reader. You will only be able to use full features when using the paid version. Check with your department to see if you have access to the paid version of Adobe Reader.

  1. Recognize Text in this file/OCR This allows our students who have reading disabilities and vision loss to be able to access your content. It also allows your document to be indexed in search results.
  2. Accessibility Checker allows you to identify elements that need some extra attention to make your PDF fully accessible to all. 
  3. Acrobat DC: Creating Accessible PDF's: Training modules on You can log in to Linkedin Learning with your AU credentials to access training videos.

Providing closed captions helps many learners along with our students and community members who may identify as Deaf or hard of hearing. To learn how to caption your materials, please investigate the following resources:

How to add Captions to a Power Point with voiceover.

Add Captions to a Video you created via Youtube. This will allow you to edit captions to ensure accuracy.

The ASAC has developed resources to help ensure events can be accessible to everyone.

Accessible Events
Accessible Event Flow Chart

Remember to appoint someone in your department as the point of contact for any requested accommodations.

American University has licensed SensusAccess, a self-service alternate media solution that allows the AU community to automatically convert inaccessible documents such as image-only PDF files, JPG pictures, and PowerPoint presentations into more accessible formats. The tool also converts documents into a range of alternate media including audiobooks (MP3 and DAISY), e-books (EPUB, EPUB3, and Mobi), and digital Braille. It is a useful tool to use to make sure your course files are accessible.

You can also access this tool online at For help with the tool, please contact Canvas Support at 202-885-3904 or Professors can integrate SensusAccess into their courses by following the steps in this document.

American University recently licensed Kurzweil 3000, a multisensory learning tool with reading, writing, and studying features now available to all students. To learn more about how to access Kurzweil 3000, please visit the Kurzweil ServiceNow page