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Accessible Online Courses

Accessibility Resources for Teaching Online

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1

Making Accessibility a Priority

  • Consider you are a student with hearing impairments attempting to watch several lectures videos in an online class with no closed captioning? Imagine having this impairment in the classroom where videos are played with no closed captioning. Students with disabilities can face struggles both in the classroom and in the online environment making accessibility vital to all course modalities at VGCC.
  • Accessibility is not just the best practice; it is the law (link to landing page). Many reputable institutions have faced lawsuits due to negligence towards the needs of students with disabilities attempting to access online materials. Sections 508 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act require federal and federally funded programs to accommodate all individuals with disabilities. An amendment to Section 508 was passed in 1998 due to the increase in growth and popularity of the Internet requiring institutions to provide equal access to electronic and information technology.
  • At VGCC, all instructors and course designers are required to collaborate with the Accessibility Committee and Distance Education to ensure that students have access to online materials that are customized to fit their needs.

Understanding Disabilities

  • Visual – blindness, low vision, color-blindness
  • Hearing- Deafness and hard-of-hearing
  • Mobility – inability to use a mouse, slow-response time, limited fine motor control
  • Cognitive – Learning disabilities, distractibility, inability to remember or focus on large amounts of information

Identity & Close Accessibility Gaps

Once you understand the types of disabilities, then you can identify gaps in your existing content. Review the materials in your course to ensure they are indeed accessible. You can use the table below to find solutions to your opportunities for improvement.


Issues & Gaps Solutions
Audio content – does it contain transcripts? When using Poodll technology, the audio tool in Moodle, be sure to include a textual transcript of your audio message. You can add the text to a label, page, or in a Word document.
Videos – do they contain closed captioning? Faculty have access to VidGrid in each of their Moodle courses to create lecture videos. Use the instructions for adding closed captioning to videos using VidGrid. If videos are created using other platforms, upload the video in a mp4 format to VidGrid and add the video captions. Automatic captioning should always be edited for accuracy. See the captioning tutorials in your VidGrid library in Moodle.
Images – do all images contain alt-text with appropriate text descriptions? Use the image icon in the editor’s tools to add an image to your moodle course. (Please do not copy/paste images)

Using this icon will launch the Image Properties dialogue box.

Add a description that best describes your image to the student in the large textbox.

Can students with disabilities navigate my PowerPoints? Visit Microsoft’s “ Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible to people with disabilities ” support site to ensure accessibility with instructor-created and publisher’s PowerPoint presentations
Is text in my Moodle pages and documents easily readable to people with low vision? Accessible Text Formatting

Use the heading styles feature in Moodle to apply headings and use paragraph text for the body of your text.

Underlining should be strictly reserved for hyperlinks in Moodle and your documents.

Accessible Hyperlinks

In order to accommodate screen reader applications and meet QM Standards 8.2 and 8.3, we recommend the following best practices:

  • Use text to describe your hyperlink creating a meaningful and descriptive link. For example, VGCC Accessibility Website. The text provides a description and context.
  • Please avoid linking entire sentences, whole paragraphs or single words.
  • Screen readers will say the word “link” directly before a link, so it is best to avoid using the word “link” in your link description. Also avoid using “click here”, “here”, “more”, “read more”, or “info”.
  • Underline hyperlinks consistently for those who are color blind or have cognitive disabilities
  • When linking to other formats than a webpage, such as a Word document, PDF or video, state the different formats within the hyperlink. For example, VGCC Nursing (YouTube Video) or VGCC Emergency Procedures (PDF)
Do all pages and documents in my online course contain headings? Headings are important in navigation and reading of large amounts of text for students with disabilities.

Visit the Web Accessibility Initiative’s tutorial on headings

Are bullets, numbered lists, and tables structured for accessibility? Use a numbered list for an ordered list. Bullets for unordered lists.

Simulated lists are not useful to students with disabilities (lists that are created without using the editing tools in Moodle and MS Office products).

Always use the editor’s tools in these products to create bullet and numbered lists.

With long, multi-level lists, it is recommended to use a different numbering system for the second level.

  1. Ice Cream
    • Rocky Road
    • Mint Chocolate Chip


  1. Cakes
    1. Red Velvet
    2. German Chocolate

Creating accessible tables
When creating tables in Moodle, use the editor’s tools to insert a table including a caption (title) with column and/or row headings. The image below is an image of the table icon in the editor’s tools above any textbox in Moodle.
(add graphic)
The table icon launches the “Create table” dialogue box.
(add graphic)

  1. Include a caption or title
  2. Define headers for columns, rows or both
  3. Enter the number of rows and columns you need on the table
  4. Customize the appearance by including borders for all tables
  5. Avoid use of red or white