In this episode, Dr. Rob McDole and Jared Pyles continue to talk about the “how” of tech integration, but they discuss it from the perspective of accessibility with Lauren Eissler–User Experience Designer and Editor for the Center for Teaching and Learning at Cedarville University. In their conversation, they define accessibility and discuss best practices for making more content accessible to students. Check out the episode to hear more about how structuring written content with headings, captioning videos, and using alt text can help your students in their learning.
Before digging into how to effectively make content accessible, it’s important to ask: “what is accessibility?” A basic definition of accessibility is to ensure that the course is accessible to all students, regardless of disability or challenge.
It is also important to understand why instructors should make their content more accessible. We need to make sure our content is readable for tools like screen readers that help create opportunities for learning for all students. Accessibility also helps remove roadblocks so that students can access content. For example, video captions can help students focus and make it so that students can easily watch videos in noisy areas or without headphones.
Pay attention to how you style or structure your content. Here are some pointers:
- Use headers instead of increasing size and stylizing paragraph text
- Include transcriptions/closed captioning when possible.
- Avoid colored text
- Use alternative text for images – keep it simple and specific (ideally under 120 characters)
There is an easy-to-use accessibility checker in Canvas. Use it to check your existing content or before you publish something new.
- Using the Accessibility Checker in Canvas
- W3C’s Web Accessibility Institute
- Universal Design for Learning
- Heading Accessibility in Word
- WebAIM Contrast Checker
- FOCUS Blog
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