• IT@UC Knowledge Base

 Accessibility for eLearning Materials

 Information on accessibility standards and best practices for eLearning.

In this article:
  About Accessibility for eLearning Materials
Add Accessibility to New Materials 
Evaluate Your LMS Courses
Review Your Current Materials
Use an Assistive Device

About Accessibility for eLearning Materials

Nearly 1 in 5 Americans have some form of disability.  As a provider of educational services, the university is increasingly reliant on digital forms of communication to conduct its business.  This includes Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) covered under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).  In designing, procuring, and maintaining EIT for all members of our university community it is essential that we partner together to ensure digital spaces are as accessible as our brick and mortar spaces. This includes accessible: web, software, media, and communication.


Add Accessibility to New Materials

Follow these suggestions to ensure your content is accessible to all of your students:

     1.  Font: www.w3.org/TR/UNDERSTANDING-WCAG20/visual-audio-contrast.html 
                    •  12-point standard font for PDF and Word documents
                    •  24-point standard for PowerPoint
Use only sans serif font in electronic documents

      2.  Color/Contrast: WCAG 2.0 SC 1.4.1 & 1.4.3 
                     •  Do not use color only to convey meaning or information
                     •  Use a color/contrast tool to evaluate your documents
                     •  Contrast settings for documents should be 4.5:1 for normal text and 3:1 for large text

      3.  Alternative Text (alt text/tag): WCAG 2.0 SC 1.1.1 
                     •  Add alt text to all images
                     •  Generally, descriptions need to be less than 180 characters
                     •  Add a short title, then an additional description if necessary

      4.  Accessible Tables: WCAG 2.0 SC 1.3.1 
                     •  Keep tables simple (only one row in header, no split/merged cells, no tables-in-tables
                     •  Use only “grid” or “insert” methods for designing tables

      5.  Meaningful Hyperlinks WCAG 2.0 SC 2.2.4 & 2.4.9 
                     •  Insert a link in text as a website name or short description, DO NOT use the URL/web link
                     •  Long URLs/web links and be used in addition if the document will be used in print format

      6.  Built in Styles: WCAG 2.0 SC 1.3.1 
                      •  Use built in style settings (Microsoft Office) for headings, lists, page breaks
                      •  For long documents include linkable table of contents

       7.  Logical Reading Order WCAG 2.0 SC 1.3.2 
                      •  Wrap text "In-line-with-text"
                      •  Use actual columns, not tabs
Never use text boxes


Evaluate your LMS Courses

Look through your classroom, synchronous distributed, web-enhanced, hybrid, and online courses to determine what electronic materials need to be updated for accessibility.

      1.  Work with your instructional designer to learn more about Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles and how to apply them within the
           Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS).
                                 a.  They can provide UDL shell templates for your course
                                 b.  They can also provide information on:
                                                           i.      chunking learning material
                                                           ii.      Using appropriate color/contrast settings within blackboard and for accessible documents
                                                           iii.      Eliminating unnecessary or cumbersome design elements
                                                           iv.      Adding captions/transcriptions to your audio/visual media
                                                           v.      Adding alternative text to your images
     2.  Ensure that all of your students have access to the content you place in the LMS


Review Your Current Materials

Take a look at all the electronic documents, audio visual materials and other electronic course materials to determine if they need accessibility updates.

      1.  Use existing and available tools to self-evaluate your current materials. 
                                 a.  These tools will help you determine if your documents are accessible to all of your students, inform you why the documents are not 
                                      accessible, and provide instructions on how to modify your documents to provide accessibility.
                                 b.  Resources:
                                                           i.      Microsoft Office 365 Accessibility Checker
Adobe Acrobat XI Pro

        2.  Review all audio-visual materials used in online and classroom instruction
                                a.  All video learning media (eg, YouTube videos, Kaltura videos, etc.) need closed captioning
                                                           i.      YouTube – add closed-captioning manually 
                                                           ii.     Videos stored or created in Kaltura MediaSpace can be captioned with the Cielo24 captioning tool within the 
                                                                   Kaltura User Interface.
1.  Visit the Ordering Kaltura Video Captioning Knowledge Base article for more specific instructions
2.  Requests for accommodation can be made through the Disability Services Office media space, or through
                                                                             your department’s MediaSpace (your department may be billed for captioning services based on your
                                                                             MediaSpace provider’s agreement)
b.  All audio learning materials (eg, podcasts, audio excerpts, sound files, etc.) need transcriptions.
                                                           i.  Contact your department’s/school’s Instructional Designer, Instructional Technologist, or Multimedia Specialist to 
                                                               make a request for your audio to be transcribed. 
                                                           ii.  Transcriptions are included


Use an Assistive Device

Using the same tool(s) students use to access electronic material will help you understand how assistive technology works.
     1.  Use UC’s online literacy software to check your electronic documents
               a.  Download Read & Write Gold, a screen reading software application available to all UC students and staff that reads text aloud.
               b.  Can you easily access all of the content you want your students to access?
     2.  Use native screen reading software on your electronic devices:
               a.  Windows laptop/computer: Narrator
               b.  Mac laptop/computer screen reading software:
               c.  Android/ChromeBook: TalkBack
               d.  Open Source, Multiplatform: NVDA
     3.  Use accessibility features on your electronic devices:
               a.  Mac laptop/computer Accessibility Features
iPhone Accessibility Features
Apple Watch Accessibility Features
Apple TV Accessibility Features



Alt attribute (alt text) – provides alternative information for an image if a user for some reason cannot view it (because of slow connection, an error in the src attribute, or if the user uses a screen reader)
Assistive technology – any product or service that maintains or improves the ability of individuals with disabilities or impairments to communicate, learn and live independent, fulfilling and productive lives.
Learning Management System (LMS) – a software application or Web-based technology used to plan, implement, and assess a specific learning process. Typically, a learning management system provides an instructor with a way to create and deliver content, monitor student participation, and assess student performance. A LMS may also provide students with the ability to use interactive features such as threaded discussions, video conferencing, and discussion forums. 
Closed Captioning – Closed captioning displays the audio portion of a video program as text on the TV screen (or within the video window), providing a critical link to news, entertainment and information for individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing


For more information, please visit the Accessibility Network at UC website.

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