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Graduate School Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Accessibility Plan

Purpose

The Ohio State Graduate School is committed to an inclusive Thesis and Dissertation Accessibility plan that aligns with OSU's Digital Accessibility Policy to support the scholarship of Ohio State graduate students and its dissemination to diverse audiences, including those with disabilities. The purpose of the plan is to remove barriers to the accessibility of OSU’s theses and dissertations by implementing guidelines that support The Ohio State University’s accessibility initiatives.

The Graduate School approves approximately 1,200 theses and dissertations each year. With this volume, applying accessibility will be a combined effort on the part of students, faculty, and program staff while also identifying other campus resources that can assist students in making their thesis or dissertation accessible and to meet submission guidelines. Communication concerning this initiative to the graduate community, which is comprised of 130 graduate programs, will be ongoing from the initial phase of implementation through the application of more advanced accessibility standards that are applied as technologies and appropriate resources within the university are developed.

As accessibility is a university initiative, the Graduate School will look to identify and establish partnerships with campus entities that can provide various levels of accessibility support. These offices include but are not limited to the Digital Accessibility and ADA Coordinators Offices, and the OSU Libraries. The Graduate School will also encourage individual graduate programs to establish resources and processes to support their students in accessibility applications.

While the Graduate School is committed to the enhancement of accessibility measures applied by student authors on theses and dissertations, presently no student will be withheld from graduating based on the level of applied accessibility. After publication, any document that requires additional accessibility measures due to a request will follow the remediation plan set forth by OSU’s Digital Accessibility Policy. This also applies to any document submitted by a student before the implementation of the Thesis and Dissertation Accessibility Plan.

ACCESSIBILITY GUIDELINES RECOMMENDED BEGINNING SPRING 2023

As of spring 2023 the Graduate School will recommend the implementation of the following for all theses and dissertations:

  • PDF file includes full text
  • PDF accessibility permission flag is checked
  • Text language of the PDF is specified
  • PDF includes a title
  • Images, figures, and tables have descriptive captions and/or alt tags explaining content

More information and links to resources to support students, advisors and programs with implementing digital accessible practices into the creation of electronic theses and dissertations can be found on the graduate school website at gradsch.osu.edu/document-preparation.

For questions about the OSU Digital Accessibility Policy please contact OSU's Digital Accessibility Center.

For digital accessibility needs around content developed by the Graduate School please contact email grad-schoolaccessibility@osu.edu

IMPLEMENTATION TIMELINE

Due to the large size of our campus community, the Graduate School will initially focus its implementation efforts on an education campaign to increase awareness and provide information to assist students in the integration of accessibility standards as they prepare their theses and dissertation. This will progress over time as accessibility standards evolve and will allow for appropriate planning by students and faculty, and an alignment of campus resources to help support this endeavor.

Spring-Summer 2023

During spring term 2023, students and programs will be notified of the need to integrate accessibility standards in the development of theses and dissertations. The following process will also be implemented:

  • The Graduate School will implement five basic accessibility standards (see below) that Spring 2023 graduates will be encouraged to incorporate into their final document.
  • The guidelines will be posted on the Graduate School’s web page, along with links to related resources, in sections pertaining to theses/dissertation formatting.
  • The formatting template and corresponding guidelines will contain updates to accommodate the majority of the posted accessibility guidelines.
  • Graduate School staff will run an accessibility checker at the time of draft format reviews and will share the results with students to encourage application.

Autumn 2023-Summer 2024

As of autumn term 2023, the Graduate School will aim to implement the following actions:

  • The Graduate School will review the status of education, communication, and campus resources on an ongoing basis to determine the adoption level of accessibility standards and how this impacts thesis and dissertation development and processes moving forward.
  • Related impacts of the document review process as well as graduation clearance will determine resource needs within the Graduate School, the graduate programs, and any related campus partners.
  • Adjustments to the related guidelines and processes will be implemented during this time to establish an accessibility level with a goal of requirements being implemented in all documents beginning Autumn 2024.
  • The Graduate School will assess on a yearly basis if additional accessibility standards shall be encouraged or required to ensure compliance with OSU’s Digital Accessibility Policy.