Accessibility Checklist for Course Content

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  1. Be sure to have all of your handouts available in electronic format and not scanned pages to a PDF.
    • Post and publish the handouts within the Canvas "Files" area for ease of access.
      • PDF documents should have text that can be selected (not scanned images only).
      • YuJa Panorama produces automatic Alternative Formats for Canvas Files, consider using an alternative format for any scanned PDFs to replace in your course files.
    • Use Microsoft Office's Accessibility Checker and address any issues it may find.
    • Canvas has an Accessibility Checker tool built-in to the Rich Content Editor (RCE) with easy fixes to issues.
    • Install and utilize an outside Accessibility checker within Canvas.
      • YuJa Panorama provides course-wide scanning for Canvas Pages and file uploads in the "YuJa Panorama" course navigation item.
    • Handouts can be copied and pasted into a Canvas course page. Students won't need special software, only a web browser, and an Internet connection.
  2. Be sure to use Bold or italic text to provide emphasis instead of: underlining, All Caps, and the use of color alone.
    • Do not use rapid blinking or moving text; make sure transitions are slow.
  3. Use black text on a white background, or other high contrast combinations, using a consistent sans-serif font such as Aptos, Arial, Calibri, Helvetica, Open Sans, Tahoma, and Verdana with 12 point size as a minimum.
    • Proper text contrast and font selection provide easy online reading and print reading when printed in gray scale (student printing costs $0.10 per black and white page. Save students money for printing).
  4. Use headings and subheadings within your documents. Begin with "Header 1" and then logically increase the heading number the more specific the content.
    • Headers within Microsoft Word allow easier document navigation, the ability to collapse sections, can create an automatic table of contents, and it provides an outline of the document to help your students study.
    • Tip: Use heading 1 only once, in Canvas your heading one is the title of the page, assignment, announcement, etc... for more specific content use higher-level headings. Avoid skipping in order, for example instead of heading 2 to heading 4, use heading 2 then heading 3.
  5. Arrange content within ordered (numerical) or unordered (bullet) lists to group content of two or more items.
    • Use ordered lists to describe a sequential or stepped process.
    • Use unordered lists to provide notes, emphasize, and focus attention on a group of items or concepts.
  6. Use Descriptive link text to describe the linked content rather than using generic language such as "click here", "read more", or "More info".
    • For example: "...visiting the FSW Libraries homepage students have access to electronic resources and the ability to find physical..."
  7. When inserting tables ensure the header row, column, or both are specified. They should have a caption and alt text provided.
    • The built-in Canvas Accessibility Checker makes setting header rows and columns very easy, consider using this tool after you add information to a Canvas page.
  8. Images should have meaningful alternative (alt) text that describes the important content of the image. Avoid using "image of" or "graphic of" at the beginning or end.
    • Examples of good alt text for an image of the Flag of Scotland would be:
      • "The Flag of Scotland"
      • "The Flag of Scotland has a white diagonal cross over a blue background."
    • Images placed in a document for decoration or have no direct relation to the content should be marked decorative.
  9. Graphs and charts should receive alt text of the graph title, the source data table, and view the final product in gray scale.

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Videos and Audio

  1. Be sure, at a minimum, the videos used in courses have accurate closed captioning and have them turned on while being screened in the classroom.
    • Captions not only benefit the hearing impaired; they also help non-native English speakers, decipher thick accents or whispers in a film, and help provide context.
  2. Check the captions within the videos posted on YouTube, Vimeo, and other video hosting websites to ensure accuracy. If the closed captions are not very accurate, then try to copy the closed captions into a Microsoft Word document and provide an edited document of the captions as a Transcript for the video.
    • Consider placing YouTube Videos within "My Media" in Canvas. My Media will automatically caption YouTube videos and then you are able to edit those automated captions for accuracy.
  3. Audio-only content should have a transcript provided.
    • It is best when self-producing video and audio content to write a script first (even include instructions to yourself for what to click or point at if it is a screencast), then record. The script can then be the transcript of your content.
    • Consider placing audio files within "My Media" in Canvas. Files uploaded to "My Media" have caption requests automatically enabled, once the audio file is finished processing you may edit the automated captions.
    • Another option is to make use of the transcription service FSW licenses with, 3PlayMedia, for locally created content. To use this service, submit your audio or video file URL to the instructional design team at, and we will request a transcript and captions file from 3PlayMedia.

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Article ID: 60190
Mon 8/13/18 8:55 AM
Tue 4/30/24 10:44 AM

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