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How to Make Your Online Course Accessible


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Learn about the basic requirements to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for distance education: describe images and hyperlinks, use sans-serif fonts, caption video and transcribe audio, and ensure your PDFs are readable and not scanned images of the printed word.

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How to Make Your Online Course Accessible

  1. 1. Library & Instructional Resource Services How to Make Your Online Course Accessible
  2. 2. Rehabilitation Act, 1973 “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability …shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…(Section 504, 29 U.S.C. Sec. 794)”
  3. 3. 4 Basic Guidelines • Describe images and hyperlinks. • Use San Serif fonts for online text. • Check PDFs for accessibility. • Close caption all video and transcripts for all audio.
  4. 4. Provide Accessible Hyperlinks Simplify information by providing the specific name of the Website not the web address. Good example: Spring Hill College Online Bad example: action=welcome
  5. 5. Add Specific Title for Links Provide the full name (title) of the website, so that it’s understandable to all.
  6. 6. Provide Accessible Images PowerPoint 2016: Right click image. Select Format Picture Size & Properties >Alt Text. Provide explicit description.
  7. 7. Add Description to Images Schoology doesn’t require that you add a description to images when you upload them. Add it afterwards by selecting the image in edit mode.
  8. 8. Use Sans-Serif Fonts Sans-serif fonts are recommended for online text to provide accessibility. Sans-serif fonts do not have the “hats and shoes” on certain letters that serif fonts include. These extra lines can make it difficult to read. Schoology provides the sans-serif font of Arial.
  9. 9. Microsoft Accessibility Checker MS Word 2016 has an accessibility checker that will highlight any issues your document has. Select File >Acrobat > Create PDF and Run Action> Make Accessible. A menu of steps will appear on the right-hand side to make it accessible.
  10. 10. Don’t Use Scanned PDFs Are your PDFs readable? Conduct a word search within the Find box of the PDF for a word you see in the document. If you receive the message, “No matches were found,” then the document is a scanned image that cannot be read by persons who use assistive technology.
  11. 11. Repair Scanned PDFs Use Adobe Acrobat XI: File> Action Wizard> Create Accessible PDFs> Action Step (Accessibility Checker) Note: You have access to Adobe Acrobat Pro XI in the Faculty Development Center, which is located in BL112.
  12. 12. Caption All Media ❧Use YouTube or other free captioning services. ❧If you don’t have your media captioned, at the very least, provide a script until you do. ❧See video tutorial on how to correct the YouTube automatic captioning. ❧Don’t forget about providing scripts for narrated PowerPoints.
  13. 13. Guidelines for Captioning • Accurate- errorless • Consistent- uniformity in style • Clear- complete representation • Readable- sufficient display time • Equal- preserve original meaning (Captioning Key, 2011)
  14. 14. Universal Design for All • “Captioning is critical for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, but it also aids the reading & literacy skills development of many others” (DCMP, 2016). • This is true for other accessibility recommendations like font size, readability of PDFs, & precise hyperlinks.
  15. 15. Providing Test Accommodations To provide verified test accommodations to students with disabilities in Schoology, save your original test to your Resources. Bring it back into your course and assign to the individual.
  16. 16. Resources • Caption it Yourself™: Basic Guidelines by Bill Stark • List of Typefaces (Serif vs. San Serif Fonts) by Wikipedia • Universal Design for Learning Guidelines by • Microsoft Support provides information on creating accessible PDFs.
  17. 17. Questions? Contact • Sandra Rogers, Instructional Designer • Burke Library, room 113 • • 251-380-4480 LibGuide on Accessibility
  18. 18. References 2011 Captioning key: Guidelines and preferred techniques. (2011). The Described and Captioned Media Program. Retrieved from key.pdf
  19. 19. References Best practices for captioning. (2011). KnowledgeBase. Madison: University of Wisconsin. Retrieved from Evans, L., & Schmidt, D. E. Power points for all learners: Making accessible PowerPoint presentations. Chico: California State University.
  20. 20. References Freed, G., & Rothberg, M. (2006). Accessible digital media guidelines. National Center for Accessible Media. Retrieved from /accessible-digital-media-guide/ Sammons, M. C. (2007). The Longman guide to style and writing on the Internet. New York, NY: Pearson.
  21. 21. References Technology and Information Accessibility Standards (Section 508). (2000). Access Board. Retrieved from http://www.access- W3C. Web Accessibility in Mind. (2013). Center for Persons with Disabilities. Logan: Utah State University. Retrieved from
  22. 22. References Web content accessibility guidelines 2.0. (2008). Retrieved from Note: The Accessibility Logo was created by Christy Blew of The University of Illinois on behalf of the EDUCAUSE IT Accessibility Constituent Group.