Category: Course Design Considerations

Best practices in course design and tactical use of technology in teaching and learning.

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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 →

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Accessibility in Microsoft Word

Microsoft has published an exhaustive article pertaining to screen readers and Word, and many of the conventions content creators use can apply to Word just as they would to HTML or other documents. There are, of course, some techniques specific to Word, which will be addressed here. Microsoft has also released a short video discussing accessibility and Word: Reading Order and… Read more →

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Textbook Accessibility

Textbooks Since the development of e-readers, many major publishers will release textbooks in a digital as well as print format. Digital books are often more accessible, and even students without disabilities may prefer digital textbooks because they are less expensive and lighter than print versions (among other benefits). However, smaller publishers and independent publishers may not release digital editions. Your… Read more →

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Accessibility: Not just a civil right

A recent article published by EDUCAUSE Review makes the case that framing ‘accessibility’ as a civil right is perhaps the most effective way to gain the attention of college faculty, staff, administrators, and students. That’s because a potential civil rights violation is assumed, by many, to be a serious matter that could put the organization’s finances and reputation at risk. While… Read more →