Category: Accessibility & Universal Design

The accessibility articles on this site, created by Information Technology Services, are informational only and are intended to help faculty create more universally accessible content using the tools and technologies available at The College of Saint Rose. The Office of Services for Students with Disabilities coordinates academic support services for students with disabilities, such as extended time on tests, note taker support, and computer technology. Please seek their guidance and support in choosing texts for your course.

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OLS Does NERCOMP 2019

This March, Abi and Tom of OLS had the opportunity to attend the Northeast Regional Computing Conference (NERCOMP) in Providence, RI. We presented a “sort-of” literature review on using video to reach all types of students. Here’s an abridged version of our talk. Encountering specific challenges with teaching online? Apply UDL to your video content! We know that there are… Read more →

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Canvas Descriptive Links and You!

If you’ve been following my accessibility series, you know that descriptive links are a good way to make content accessible to students using screen readers or other assistive technology, and they make content look snazzier and cleaner to boot. Canvas opens the world of descriptive links up to more than just external website URLs, though: the system lets you create… Read more →

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Captions as Universal Design

Increasingly, studies are being released that suggest that video captions help more than just D/deaf or hard of hearing students.* I recently watched a webinar on the “e-accessibility” movement at the University of Cincinnati that focused heavily on captioning and made captions the first step to a universal design environment for students. So how can captions help all types of… Read more →

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On UC Berkeley and Accessibility Solutions

In September 2016, UC Berkeley made news for considering taking down their free MOOCs rather than making them accessible.  The full Department of Justice letter cites Berkeley for inaccessible links, videos without captions, lack of alternate text on images and visuals, poor formatting of documents, and using inaccessible websites. UC Berkeley responded with a statement of their own, claiming that… Read more →

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Accessibility Checklist – Start Here!

Text and Textbooks/Readings Is your adopted textbook available in a digital format? Is your course pack available digitally, or have you informed your students which books you took chapters from and the original page numbers? Are your syllabus, journal articles and other text content arranged in one-column formats, and saved as Word documents or accessible PDFs? Are you using 12… Read more →

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Online Accessibility Basics

When most people think of accessibility, they might think of something like a wheelchair-accessible bathroom stall, or a ramp instead of stairs. When we talk about online or web accessibility, we have other considerations to keep in mind: tasks which one user might take as second nature are very difficult or impossible for another user. The best way to accommodate… Read more →

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Video Content: Captions and Transcripts

Have you ever watched a foreign language film or TV show and the captions stopped working for a moment or two? It’s a very frustrating experience, especially if you were riveted to the show and you’re missing pertinent information. It’s important to create captions for all video content you create, and to make sure that the captions are accurate. You may… Read more →

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Alternate Text: a Primer

Post-secondary institutions are required to grant all students equal access to course materials and information. When you use images in your PowerPoint presentations, class documents, or other media, you risk making your course inaccessible to certain groups of students. The way to make images accessible to all students is by creating alternative text, or alt text, which describes the image. Alt… Read more →

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Microsoft Accessibility

When creating content for your course, whether online or face-to-face, it is important that you ensure all of your students have equal access to the material presented. We’ve referred to this concept before as universal design. Making documents accessible is very simple, because Microsoft provides tools for creating accessible content in Word, Excel, and in PowerPoint. General Tips Although there are specific do’s… Read more →

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Accessibility in Microsoft PowerPoint

It’s very fun to create vibrant, decorative PowerPoint presentations, but it’s important not to go overboard. Aesthetics are nice, but the end goal of your course is to teach your students. If the color contrast, images, etc. are getting in the way of the content, it’s time to rethink your design. Additionally, although slide transitions can be exciting, they can… Read more →