Building Accessibility into Your Course

Building Accessibility into Your Course

When designing your course within Brightspace, you can make your class and web-based materials accessible to the majority of your audience by employing some simple methods, such as utilizing accessibility and assistive technology tools. You can view Brightspace Accessibility and Navigation documentation on the Brightspace Community web site.

Design: General Guidelines for Improved Accessibility

Designing a course for the online environment can be quite different from designing for a face-to-face course. When implementing the principles of universal design, keep your instructional methods and approaches simple, keeping in mind potential barriers to access. Below are some guidelines to consider when designing an accessible course:

  • Keep the design simple, clean, and uncluttered
  • Use alternate text tags for images. For example, you can add alternate text when you embed an image from the web. Doing this will mean that people who use a screen reader to read aloud about the contents of a web page will hear an auditory description of the image
  • Rather than pasting in raw URLs, link to words that describe the link destination. Again, this will help people using a screen reader understand where the link will take them.
  • Use other formatting besides color (bold words, different size font) to distinguish between important items in your course. Changing the font size rather than using different colors will benefit those people who cannot differentiate colors.
  • Use the header style for section and topic headings. This allows people using a screen reader to navigate through the page by section rather than having to read through an entire page to locate a specific section.
    Advocate the use of CTRL+ and CTRL- or CMD+ and CMD- to resize the text in the course for the visually impaired.

Advanced Methods for Improving Accessibility

Blindness or Other Visual Impairments

Hearing Impairments

Specific Software Applications for Improving Accessibility