This guide is meant to serve as a quick resource to assist faculty in making their course more accessible to all learners. The tips below are some best practice basics that are meant to be easy fixes.
However, please be advised that if you are identified as an instructor with a student needing more specific accommodations related to digital accessibility, you will need to do more to make sure that your course is accessible. If this occurs, you will be notified by Disability Resources of these individual students and their particular needs, and Disability Resources can advise you on how to best meet the accommodation needs.
Below is also a link to [U]Tech resources for remote learning, including a Canvas course on Digital Accessibility.
Quick Tips for Digital Accessibility
- Do not use color for emphasis
- Repeat or write down any questions during a live session
- Use descriptive name for images provided (particularly for PPT slides)
- Identify a meaningful name for links to websites/resources
- Choose videos that already have accurate captioning
Below is a more elaborate description of each tip.
- Do not use color for emphasis: consider using letters or numbers as identifiers OR use bolding/underlining. Many students are affected by some form of colorblindness (such as an inability to distinguish between red and green), thus, it is necessary to be careful when using color. Additionally, a recommended strategy to help students with low vision is using dark text on light backgrounds, or light text on dark backgrounds. The Contrast Checker tool can help you to choose a high-contrast color palette.
- Repeat or write down comments/questions from other students: You can use the chat window if using Zoom. As the instructor, your voice will carry more to the remote students and this allows students to hear/understand any questions/feedback from their peers. Also, if there is a CART provider in the session, it is easier to pick up the dominant voice.
- Use descriptive names for images: For students using a screen reader, adding “ALT text” (an alternative description) for images helps to convey the educational value of images or to skip over unnecessary decorative images. An ALT text tag simply provides a description of what is seen in the image. For example, ALT text should be added to all images/graphs added within documents such as Word or PowerPoint documents, as well as within Canvas. Follow the links here to learn how to add an ALT text to images in the applications you are using to provide content.
- Identify meaningful names for links: When adding a webpage link, it is important to name the link. Link text needs to have enough text description to explain what the link is for. All students, and especially those using screen readers, will benefit from this clarity. Label all links meaningfully so the student knows if they made it to the correct page.
- Choose videos that already have accurate captioning: When looking for and selecting multimedia for a course, choose videos that are already accurately captioned whenever possible. You can do this by viewing the videos with the captions turned on and watching for significant differences in meaning between the audio and provided captions. Note that “machine” (or automatic) captioning (found on YouTube), 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. If you have recorded a lecture in Echo360 and published it to a class, it will automatically generate a searchable transcript. You can also use the built-in transcript editor to correct the accuracy of the transcript if you desire.
- Speak loudly and clearly: You may choose or be required to don a mask if teaching a dual-delivery course. Be cognizant masks can muffle sound. Be sure to speak loudly and clearly.
For more information on student accommodations, contact Disability Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org or 216.368.5230. For technical help on how to meet the technology needs of students with accommodations, email email@example.com. The Office of Accommodated Testing and Services (OATS) is also able to assist with proctoring accommodated exams/assessments both on campus and online using Zoom with some limitations. Please feel free to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Digital Accessibility at CWRU Canvas Course site
Enroll in this self-paced course to learn more about digital accessibility.
- CWRU [U]Tech resources page on Remote Teaching
A collection of resources for remote learning, from planning your course to technology support resources.
- CWRU Digital Accessibility Guidelines
An overview of CWRU’s digital accessibility guidelines for digital content, including an FAQ and external resources for further reference.