This document contains a variety of resources to help faculty ensure courses and materials are accessible has we everything to an online environment. If you have any questions, please contact Shammah.Bermudez @mitchellhamline.edu, Assistant Director of Disability and Student Services.
- Creating Accessible Microsoft Office Documents (Microsoft)
- Microsoft Word (University of Washington)
- Microsoft PowerPoint (University of Washington
- Accessible PDFs (University of Washington)
- Creating High Quality Scans (University of Washington)
- Creating Accessible Videos
- Zoom as several accessibility features already built in.
- Zoom is accessible to screen readers such as Jaws and NVD
- Getting Started with Closed Captioning in Zoom
- Zoom recordings can be uploaded to YouTube and automatically captioned. Captions will not be 100% accurate but it is a good starting point. To upload to YouTube, you will need to create a YouTube channel.
- Accessibility Guidelines for Canvas
- Canvas Accessibility Considerations (University of Nebraska-Omaha)
Accessibility of synchronous (real-time) classes
Disabled students may not be able to participate at a fast pace online; e.g., their assistive technology or CART (text transcription provider) may require some time to communicate the information. Fast paced classes may also be problematic for students who speak English as an additional language, students in areas with slow Wi-Fi, etc. Consider pacing your instruction accordingly and check in with students about how your pacing is working.
Encourage all students to self-identify (“Hi, this is __ speaking”) as they begin comments to make clear who has the floor.” [Editor’s note: This is particularly helpful to blind students and to captioning efforts.]
When looking for and selecting multimedia for a course, choose videos that are already accurately captioned whenever possible. Note that “machine” (or automatic) captioning, which is now available in YouTube, Zoom, and Kaltura, is generally only about 80% accurate. We want to aim for 99% accuracy of captions. When recording audio or video for your course, develop a script. It can be posted alongside the media as a transcript and can also help you to create a better recording.
Don’t assume that all students can see or make the same sense of your visual display as you intend. For accessibility, get in the habit of describing whatever is happening visually on the screen. If you are showing a picture of bunnies while talking about animal testing, say, ‘Here is a picture of bunnies, which are often used as the subject of animal testing particularly in the cosmetics industry.
Try being verbally explicit, especially while walking students through a screen demonstration. Because students use different devices, we recommend against using directional language in this context. It’s better to say, “the arrow-shaped icon that says Share; it’s between Polling and Chat”. And remember that students access the Zoom
- 20 Tips for Teaching an Accessible Online Course (University of Washington)
- Creating Inclusive Learning Video (RMIT University)
Accessibility of websites and documents
HTML tends to be the most accessible format, followed by word processing formats such as Microsoft Word. Relying on PDFs could pose barriers, as they often require workarounds to make documents accessible. Two easy workarounds for improving the accessibility of PDF creation are:
If you are scanning a hard copy article into a PDF format, make sure that you are using an optical character recognition (OCR) program such as ABBYY FineReader or Omnipage instead of scanning documents as images.
If you use Word or a similar word processor to create a PDF, post both versions online.
When saving your file, give it a meaningful name. “Lecture Notes” or “Chapter 1” does not give students enough information. A better example would be “Lecture Notes, Chapter 1.”
Accessibility quick tips on web access as you create online course materials
Use black text on a white background to ensure that the text stands out on the page. [Editor’s note: Pure white backgrounds may cause problems with glare or distraction for some students. Consider using off-white or light grey backgrounds instead.]
Do not use color alone to denote differences in emphasis and content meaning. [Editor’s note: This also applies to some graphic elements, such as charts. See Use of Color (WebAIM) and Color Contrast (WebAIM)]
Use built-in heading styles to designate content organization. [Editor’s note: Ensure that headings are used to create a hierarchy, not just for formatting. See Using Headings for Content Structure (WebAIM)]
Use the built-in bullet or number styles for lists.
Provide a brief text alternative for images, graphs, and charts that answers the question:
Alternative Text (WebAIM) and Creating Good ALT-Text (RMIT University)]
Captioning your media provides greater student comprehension of the material covered and provides accessible media for individuals with hearing impairments in compliance with federal regulations.
Use descriptive titles for link text, titles, and headers. [See Link Text (WebAIM)]
Use simple tables when possible, with column and row headers [See Data Tables (WebAIM)]”
- Accessibility 101: Accessibility and Online Instruction (University of Iowa) –excellent resource that covers Word, PowerPoint, etc.
- DIY IT Accessibility, Six Essential Steps (University of Maryland)
- Web-Based Course Content Access Checklist (University of Maryland)
- Faculty Toolkit for Web Accessibility (Brandeis University)
- Creating Accessible Digital Materials (Middlebury College).
- Accessibility (RMIT University)
- PowerPoint Accessibility (RMIT University)
- Accessibility (Seattle Pacific University)
- Webcourses Accessibility/UDL Guide (University of Central Florida)
This document is a complication of resources has been pulled together in response to help faculty ensure classes and course materials are accessible as we navigate Covid-19. Sources include University of Washington Do-It Center, WebAim, Microsoft, Google, Canvas, University of Maryland, University of Arizona, Northwestern University, and Arcadia University.