Teaching, Learning, & Professional Development Center
At the TLPDC, we support ADA compliance in online courses in several ways.
First, we consult with faculty who are building online courses about best practices
for accessibility and universal design, emphasizing the need to design accessibility
into a course from the beginning, rather than waiting for a student with a disability
In addition, we teach a workshop for faculty and graduate students each semester
titled “Accessibility 101.” It is co-presented by a member of our Instructional Design
team and a staff member from Student Disabilities Services.
Accessibility in Online Courses, Best Practices:
HTML and PDF are the most accessible file types.
Use high-contrast colors. Avoid colored text for emphasis.
Provide captioning for video.
Provide written scripts for all audio.
Include detailed descriptions of tables, charts, photos, and images as Alt-Text.
Documents that are scanned and saved as images are not accessible. They must be scanned as PDF. (The Save As function in MS Word and PowerPoint
work well. Just save as a PDF.)
Consider accessibility when using multimedia.
Design with screen readers in mind.
Do not use images as a page background.
Consider accessibility when incorporating multimedia elements (audio, images, video,
Use consistent navigation.
Use MS Word headings (formatting tags)
Convert Word documents and PowerPoint presentations to PDF, using “Save As” before
uploading them to an online course.
Provide a text-only version of PowerPoint presentations.
Encourage students to use the closed captioning function in YouTube as a starting