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 the Virginia Murray Sowell Center in the College of Education.
Third, when faculty members enter into a partnership with our team to develop a course, we provide an orientation which includes information on ADA compliance, and we provide them with a copy of the “Dear Colleague Letter” and FAQs from the U.S. Department of Education regarding accessibility.
Fourth, our Instructional Design team is building a new section on the Distance Education section of the TLPDC website that will include information about best practices. This information will link from a bullet list like the one below.
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
Include a link to the transcript for a video as an accessibility option.
For PowerPoint presentations, include a link to an accessible PDF of the presentation outline.
Use appropriate "alt text" for images of people
and of other image content on the page