The world of education is changing rapidly with the advent of online, hybrid, and flipped classes. Moving to online or adding online features to a traditional course gives instructors the opportunity to create something that is not only dynamic but accessible to a variety of students – including those who work full-time, study from a distance, and have disabilities. Though a degree of access can be achieved through accommodations, it is best practice to design an accessible course from the onset.
Read the Educause article discussing tips and techniques for creating an accessible online course: Designing Accessible Online Courses
Guidelines for accessible course materials
As you are creating your course, it is best to think about inclusive teaching and accessibility strategies from the beginning, to minimize the need for retrofitting in the future. Accessible content can be used by a variety of users, including users with disabilities who may be using assistive technologies, such as screen readers, screen magnification and text-to-speech software, and users who are using tablets and e-readers or who are working from a remote location with a slower Internet connection. Below are elements to consider as you design your course content:
Choose accessible academic technologies
Present your course materials accessibly
Ensure that your course website is accessible
- Use the built in features of your LMS system (D2l Accessibility Checker).
- Make your Microsoft Sway design accessible
- Follow the instructions for building a more accessible Google Site
- Avoid Adobe Spark due to missing tools to make it accessible
Post Accessible Word, PowerPoint and PDF Documents
- If you post PDF versions of your PowerPoint, consider posting the PowerPoint file as well to allow students to choose their viewing and printing preferences, and students using assistive technologies can access the text.
- If you have an image PDF for your article, try to re-download an accessible version of the article directly from the journal or website. Work with UA Library staff to get access to more sources.
Only use or create captioned multimedia content
- Include the word "captioned" in your search for media online
- If you are creating your own videos it is a good practice to work from a script. Caption files can be created quickly and easily if a script is available, and a transcript may be an accessible option if there is little visual information conveyed in the video.
- Resources for captioning your content and automatic, machine-generated captioning/transcript
Use Accessible Textbooks
- View the UA's Electronic Book and Journal Accessibility reference page
- Ask the publisher if an accessible electronic version of the text is available
- Make sure to ask about accessibility of pre-packaged/third-party software used for homework solutions, assignments, assessments, etc.
- Use OER - Open Education Resources and Accessibility.
- UA has an OER group - contact Cheryl Cullier with the UA Library for more information