Accessible Online Courses
Accessibility Resources for Teaching OnlineWeb 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.
- 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.
In order to accommodate screen reader applications and meet QM Standards 8.2 and 8.3, we recommend the following best practices:
|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.
Creating accessible tables