Creating Documents

Some digital documents are more accessible than others.  The most accessible document format is HTML, so the best choice for distributing content is a web page, created using the rich text editor in a content management system such as WordPress or Drupal or learning management system such as Canvas. Care must be taken to ensure web pages are accessible. For example, headings must be tagged as headings at appropriate levels to form an outline of the document content, and images must be briefly described for non-visual users by entering “alt text” in the relevant form field when adding the image. For additional information see Developing Accessible Websites.

If you choose to distribute documents in another format such as Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word or Microsoft PowerPoint, know that these formats support accessibility, but documents are not accessible by default. Authors must take care to follow the guidelines for creating accessible documents. Many of the issues are the same as for web pages (e.g., use appropriate headings, add alt text to images) but the techniques vary across document authoring tools.  For additional information see Creating Accessible Documents.

Creating Videos

Video offers an excellent medium for teaching, particularly if used to complement other teaching methods such as text and activities. However, video can present accessibility challenges to some students. Fortunately, there are standard, widely supported solutions to all the problems. For example, students who are deaf or hard of hearing need captions in order to access the audio content; and students who have blindness or low vision need to have all visual content described verbally.  If this isn’t possible within the main program audio, the video can be supplemented with a separate narration track that describes the visual content using a technique called audio description. For additional information about these and other video accessibility issues, see Creating Accessible Videos.

Accessibility Best Practices for Remote Instruction

Remote online courses can and must be accessible to all students, including students with disabilities. In some cases, online classes offer new opportunities for accessible participation and collaboration. However, remote instruction also comes with challenges for instructors and students alike, and some students with disabilities may face new and additional barriers to full access and participation. Visit the best practices webpage for suggestions about how to think about and plan for accessibility of remote instruction.

Pedagogical Considerations

Making courses accessible involves more than technical issues; there are pedagogical considerations as well.
For details, consult the following resources: