Web Accessibility Resources
Need a Quick Guide for Accessibility?
The National Center on Disability and Access to Education has a concise and helpful guide.
Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint
Microsoft has developed excellent guides to making documents in their Office suite accessible.guide to using the Microsoft Accessibility Checker for Windows, and one for using the Microsoft Accessibility Checker for Mac.
Google Docs, Sheets, Slides and Forms can all be made accessible in many of the same ways that Microsoft Office Products can be made accessible. Google has put together a helpful guide for G apps accessibility.
Moodle is used across campus for both on-campus and distance education courses. Equally important is the content that is put on Moddle. When selecting content to post, take a look at the accessibility of that particular content. The information below can give you a great deal of help in figuring out how to do so. There is also helpful information available from the Center for Instructional Support.
Moodle's Accessibility - https://docs.moodle.org/dev/Accessibility
Tables need to read in logical (left to right, top to bottom) order, with no merged cells. For data tables, make sure the top row content describes the content of each column. Then mark it up as a header, as follows:
- Select the row
- In the Joomla formatting tools, select the Table Cell Properties icon (it's in the third row of tools; icon is a table with a single cell highlighted). Alternatively, right-click, select Cell, then select Table Cell Properties
- from Cell Type: select Header
- Click Update
Depending on your table, you may also need to mark up the cells in the first column as a header; just select the cells in the first column and use the instructions above. This allows the data cells to be read with both the column and row header information for context. For example, this fictitious table of course enrollment in three terms:
Reading this table visually, you would follow the headers in both the columns and the rows to understand that Fall enrollment in 101 was 30, Winter enrollment in 102 was 25, etc. Table column and row headers allow this information to be read in that same way by screenreaders.
PDF files come from several sources. If you...
- ...created the PDF from an accessible Word file (see above), do not use "Print to PDF" - it does not bring the accessibility changes you made over. Instead, use Microsoft's directions to convert to PDF.
- ...scanned a document to an image-based PDF, or don't know the source of your PDF, use Acrobat's built-in Accessibility Checker to find and fix accessibility issues.
- We've also created a handout for a Word to PDF workflow based on the instructions provided by Microsoft and Adobe.
- Using complex tables that need merged cells? It's a little complicated, but you can make this work using the Touch Up Reading Order tool in Acrobat Pro.
Videos can be extremely helpful in showcasing talent, describing processes and skills, and many other purposes. Make sure that everyone has access to the information by thinking about the following when choosing or creating a video:
Captions create access for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing. They're also very helpful for people in noisy environments, people whose first language is not English, or when difficult-to-spell technical terms are used.
- Learn to search for captioned YouTube videos. Caution: Check the captioning before showing the video. Automated captions are often inaccurate.
- You can submit a transcript for YouTube videos. If you own the video, it will automatically synchronize for you. If someone else owns the video, it will notify them that a transcript is available so they can easily create the captions.
- Amara.org is an incredibly useful tool when a captioned version is needed of a video that isn't yours.
- Automated captions for YouTube videos can be corrected/improved using the DIYCaptions tool.
Audio description creates access for people with visual impairments. It provides information about the visual portions of the video that are not repeated in the audio. This tool is far less better known than captioning.
- Perkins School for the Blind has created a great support page for how to create and find audio described YouTube videos
Services for Faculty
If you have a student in a course that requires accessible audiovisual materials, you'll be notified on the Accommodation Letter. Disability Resources can assist faculty with locating or creating accessible versions of the audiovisual materials they plan to use. There is a link in the Accommodation Letter email to request this assistance. Alternatively, log in to AIMS for Faculty and enter your request(s).
Faculty and Staff Disability Access Services Training
Students - Disability Rights Training
Will be posted soon....
Instructional Accessibility Tips
We know that faculty at SOU want to make sure that all students have the opportunity to be successful, and we know that inclusion of diverse learners is an important value that faculty have. This list of tips is to give you a starting point to make a big difference for your students with a small amount of effort.
Questions about specific accommodations? Check our Accommodation Guidelines page!
Need an interpreter, video captioning, or transcription to make an event accessible? Fill out a Custom Request and we'll get you set up!
Hey, first thing accomplished! You're on this page, curious to know more about how to make your class accessible. Like any other aspect of instruction, taking some time to learn a bit more can reap huge benefits. There is always more to know.
Academic language is (in)famous for striving for absolute precision rather than simplicity. Wherever possible, use shorter sentences and fewer syllables. This is especially important with directions. Keeping language as simple as possible will help not only students with learning disabilities, but also students whose first language is not English.
Consider also your choices of technology, matching it to the goals for your activity or class. Prezi (which is inaccessible) is pretty, sure, but is it really more effective than PowerPoint?
Face the class when speaking
This is particularly important for students with hearing loss, but is also helpful for all students as they are picking up new terminology from you. If you're drawing or writing on the board, draw first and then speak. Or get a student to draw or write while you talk!
Consider font readability
Small, sans-serif fonts like Ariel or Calibri are much more legible when at 12 point or larger. Use only one or two fonts in a document, and avoid the fussy, "cute" ones.
Wherever possible, distribute digital versions of in-class materials in advance
Students can be more prepared for class if they know what to expect of it before they get there. This is particularly helpful for students with disabilities and students whose first language is not English, but it's also useful for shy students who want to think over how to participate! Further, providing materials in advance allows students who need to use assistive technology to read the material and be ready to participate, rather than struggling through the print and the content at the same time.
Make sure those digital materials are accessible
The Web Accessibility Resources page provides you with information about doing this, but there are also several people to help you! The Center for Instructional Support can provide you with more info, as can Shawn Foster and Lizzie Parkhurst in Disability Resources.
Be aware that some software has accessibility problems
SOU is making significant efforts to ensure accessibility of the products used for instruction and other student interactions, but some students may still encounter barriers. As we identify known problems and workarounds, we will list them here.
If this information still doesn't address the student's barrier, allow the use of an alternative application or process. In other words, don't assign work where the only option to complete it involves the use of an inaccessible tool.
- Google Apps Accessibility information (courtesy of the University of Michigan)
- Moodle Accessibility information (courtesy of the University of Minnesota)
- My___Lab materials have variable accessibility across the different subjects, especially for students with vision disabilities. It may be necessary to find an alternative method to support student practice/homework instead of using My__Lab.
Keep building bridges
If an accommodation request concerns you, please contact the Coordinator of Disability Resources immediately. We are able to find a way to bridge the concern the faculty member has with the access that the student needs if we're able to talk it through. You are the expert in your subject matter. Disability Resources is the expert in disability accommodation. Together, we can make sure that student learning happens.