Accessibility empowers all of us to be active and engaged members of the UW-Green Bay community. More specifically, accessibility shapes how we create learning spaces and share resources in our digital learning environments. Examples of accessible features in digital resources include:
- column and/or row headings for tables
- adoption of a hierarchical heading structure
- alternative tags on images that convey meaning
- relevant and specific hyperlink titles
- closed captioning for video recordings
- transcripts of podcasts or other audio recordings
Creating accessible course resources can take some effort. However, if you design your course resources with accessibility in mind, the process is much easier. Student Accessibility Services maintains a self-paced Canvas training for faculty and staff to demonstrate why accessibility matters and how to create accessible resources. For a quick overview, CATL has a guide about our top 10 “dos and don’ts” of digital accessibility. CATL staff can also support your review of accessibility in your Canvas course by helping you apply and review reports from two accessibility checkers, Canvas Accessibility Checker and the UDOIT tool.
As you consider these resources, it is important to remember why accessibility is worth prioritizing. It is true that some accessibility measures are required through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Sections 504 and 508), but accessibility is more than a legal issue. Creating accessible digital resources for our classes assures that our learning environments are welcoming and supportive. All students, regardless of ability, can benefit from engaging with resources that are designed with accessibility in mind.
To find out more about expectations regarding accessibility, please visit WebAIM’s Introduction to Web Accessibility and UW-Madison’s Make it Accessible resources. Microsoft Office also provides a library of resources to create accessible Outlook email messages, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, OneNote notebooks, and SharePoint sites. Both Teams and Zoom provide separate guides to creating accessible online meetings. In addition to the Canvas accessibility checker and UDOIT, linked further above, check out this Canvas blog post on accessibility design guidelines.