Best Practice Illustrations

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 to enroll.

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, etc.)
  • 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 place.

Examples from Blackboard Courses

Example showing the link to the Script for Video as an accessibility option.Example showing a link to a video transcript from YouTube as an accessibility option.
Include a link to the transcript for a video as an accessibility option.
Example showing a link to a PDF outline for the linked PowerPoint presentation as an accessibility option.
For PowerPoint presentations, include a link to an accessible PDF of the presentation outline.
Example of alt text showing the tool tip over an image of a group of persons.
Use appropriate "alt text" for images of people
Example showing the alt text as a tool tip over a question mark icon.
and of other image content on the page