Accessibility in an Online Course
Accessibility is a critical part of your online course. All students are entitled to access the course material in a way that is appropriate for them, regardless of any condition or disability as required by the Americans With Disabilities Act, as well as, state law in Arkansas. Accessibility is also a broad topic, and a full overview is beyond the scope of this lesson. However, we will discuss some primary considerations and some specific pointers for dealing with common accessibility issues in documents.
Students receive accommodations in online courses the same way that these are granted in Face-to-Face courses. The primary accommodation for students in this situation is for extra time for exams and quizzes, and the learning management system can accommodate the time differential with minimal intervention. Information for how to do this can be found on TIPS website.
Accessible Course Materials
We’ve all seen closed-captioning on television that helps people who are deaf to understand the message being conveyed. We’ve also seen many of the other environmental features that make everyday life accessible to people regardless of disability, but there are a few, more subtle ways in which we make instruction available to all online learners that you may not have considered before. When using video, it should be captioned and when using images, a text description should be included so that those with low or no vision can understand the meaning conveyed. Also think about the color and size of your text. Is it in a font that is easily readable for persons with low vision? Are you using color to convey meaning? This is a problem for people with certain types of colorblindness. Color contrast between background and text is also an important consideration.
Creating Accessible Documents
As an instructor, you will need to ensure that your documents and PDF files are fully accessible. This quick reference section describes the different ways that you can ensure that all your documents are accessible.
- Make sure your documents use proper headings and subheadings.
- Make sure that your weblink text is clear and accessible.
- Graphics can be made accessible by using alt text and long descriptions.
- Don't forget that colors can cause issues for people with some visual impairments.
- Tables in HTML and documents can create accessibility problems for people who use screen readers.
- Multimedia is a great way to add depth and variety to your course but take care to make sure your multimedia is accessible.
- Make your Microsoft Office 365 documents accessible for all your users. The Accessibility Checker is built into Microsoft Office.
- It is possible to make your accessible Word documents into accessible PDF files?
Now that you have learned about accessibility in your online course, it’s time to introduce the Interactions in an Online Course.