MSU Denver

Why Make Science, Technology, Engineering, and Science Accessible?

Professors are frequently unable or unprepared to recognize and address the needs of students with disabilities.  As a result, “if students cannot access opportunities that feed into a STEM pipeline, they are essentially invisible.”

Formulas and images are a large part of instruction for a variety of fields such as chemistry and statistics. Using tools such as EquatIO can help in making students with disabilities visible in fields such as science and math.

Learn more about creating accessible content by attending the Proactive Accessibility Certification Workshop Series.

For additional assistance, contact the Instructional Accessibility Group

Instructional Accessibility Group Email

Making STEM Accessible: What Doesn't Work

The following list consists of the most common issues that make STEM content inaccessible as well as quick steps for avoiding them:

  • Using plain text to write formulas or equations; a screen reader will attempt to read plain text equations as plain text
    • Instead: use tools like MathJax and EquatIO to include equations that will render in an accessible format
  • Inserting equations or formulas in a PDF document; equations and formulas in PDFs cannot be rendered to an accessible format.
    • Instead: present the equations in Microsoft Word or Canvas
  • Providing digital tools and resources with no alternative; STEM disciplines often utilize complex visual tools, but these tools need additional support to be made accessible in digital contexts
    • Instead: add data tables for charts and tactile resources for more complex visual tools
  • Using color as the sole indicator; colors are not perceived in the same way by all and should be supported
    • Instead: use patterns and other visual cues to indicate meaning

Dig Deeper with these additional resources