The resources on the page cover the topics included in the Accessibility in Canvas workshop. They are intended to help you learn to:
- Define accessibility
- Explain why accessibility is important
- Set up your Canvas course sites in an accessible way
- Use tools to resolve common accessibility issues in Canvas
What is accessibility?
Accessibility is making information, activities, and/or environments sensible, meaningful, and usable for as many people as possible through equitable, responsible design - SeeHearWrite
One framework for thinking about accessibility is Universal Design for Learning or UDL. This design theory focused on how different types of expression, representation, and engagement work better for different individual students. Essentially, we want to give students multiple ways to learn and express their learning through the design of the course, making it an accessible learning environment for all learners.
Who is responsible for accessibility?
According to the Duke Accessible Syllabus Project - “it is our society, not the individual or students, that has the ethical obligation to create the conditions for inclusivity - extending to the educational institution, the instructor, and the curricula”. We encourage everyone to think about accessibility from the beginning of their course design process to shift the responsibility and effort away from students needing to always make accommodation requests (although these must be honored when received!)
Who is accessibility for?
Some examples of groups that common accessibility measures are useful for include, but are not limited to:
- Blind students
- Motion-impaired students or students with dexterity issues
- Second language learners
- Deaf students
- Color blind students
- Neurodiverse students
But any actions taken to make a course accessible are useful for everyone, regardless of ability!
Why is accessibility in Canvas important?
Given that all of your course content will likely be housed within Canvas and that students will access that course content along with various assessments through Canvas, it’s imperative to ensure your Canvas course sites are accessible to all your students.
Best practices for Canvas course site design
Our recommended best practices for organizing and designing your course sites in Canvas align with accessibility guidelines. Taking the time to reduce students’ effort when navigating your course site and content allows them to focus more on learning your content and creates a more inclusive, intuitive learning environment for all.
Applying Universal Design for Learning
Make written content accessible by using headings
- What are headings?
- Structuring content using headings
- How to use headings in Microsoft Word
- How to use headings in Google Docs
- How to use headings in the Canvas Rich Content Editor
Making hyperlinks accessible
Making images accessible
- What is alt text and how do you write good alt text for images?
- How do I know if I need alt text?
- When to use alt text vs. captions
Making videos and audio accessible
Making PDFs accessible
- Why PDF Accessibility Matters
- What is Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for PDFs?
- How can I tell if my PDF is accessible?