Making your Online Class Accessible
[Last updated: Sunday, March 15, 2020, 1:30pm CDT]
As you transition your class to an entirely online format, below are a few tips for making your course accessible to all your students, including students with disabilities.
- Provide alternative text descriptions to your images Students with visual impairments may be unable to view the images but can read the text-based description using assistive technology.
- Choose videos with accurate captions and audio materials with text transcriptsThis benefits not only students with hearing impairments but also ESL students and students who may have to study in a noisy environment. If you are recording your own videos, create a script.
- Use headings in Canvas and MS Word.Canvas' page editor allows you to define headers using its toolbar. Use the headers in order: Header 2, then Header 3. See General Accessibility Design Guidelines in Canvas. In Word, you can create heading levels from Styles in the Home tab. See Customize or Create New Styles in Word. For students with visual impairments, headers provide information to a screen reader application so they can skim content.
- Use high color contrast and don’t rely on color aloneSome people are color blind and low color contrast is hard to read for students with low vision. Use different textures or labels in addition to color in your graphs. This free color contrast analyzer can help you pick the right colors for your text and background.
- Use meaningful phrases for linksNo full URLs such as 'https://library.unt.edu/' and no 'click here'. Yes to 'UNT University Libraries'. Screen readers often read every character and punctuation in a URL. Screen reader users often scan a webpage by extracting a list of links. If all links are ‘click here’ non-sighted users have no knowledge of the context of each link.
- Check on your students’ access to personal technologyBe mindful about creating content that can be accessed by multiple devices. ODA can assist students with disabilities but access may affect many more students. When not on campus, some students may only have a smartphone, or only a computer, or they may have intermittent internet access.
- The CLEAR website also has a page with additional resources: Accessibility Online at CLEAR.
- If you wish to take a deeper dive into learning how to make different document formats accessible, from MS Word to PowerPoint and PDF, you can self-enroll on CLEAR’s Accessibility Training Course in Canvas.
- If you wish to add third-party images or other media in your course to make it more appealing but you are unsure of copyright permissions, CLEAR’s Copyright Guide offers best practices and resources for identifying usable works. To request digitization of materials to be included in the UNT Libraries’ electronic course reserves, complete the University Libraries Course Reserve Form.
- If you have any other questions and concerns about making your online course accessible and copyright-compliant, we are at your disposal. Submit an Accessibility and/or Copyright Consultation Request Form and we will follow up with you to schedule a Zoom or phone call.
- Choose videos with accurate captions and audio materials with text transcripts