Online Course Accessibility
TTU offers free Course Accessibility Evaluations through eLearning Accessibility Services. By simply requesting an evaluation you can find out what areas of your course are least accessible allowing you to focus on areas of concern.
When evaluating an online course for accessibility, we use Web Accessibility Content Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) . This standard is used internationally and accepted as the legal standard for web content in the United States.
Not all of the WCAG 2.0 guidelines apply to online courses, but below is a checklist of the issues that are regularly found in online courses. Each item will link to information and assistance about how to make sure an online course is accessible.
Online Course Accessibility Checklist
- All videos have synchronized captions.
Closed captions are required for all videos in the course, whether created by the instructor or linked in the course. Texas Tech University provides captioning services for faculty and staff.
- All videos have audio descriptions.
Audio descriptions provide information about the visual content of a video for those with visual impairments. eLearning Accessibility Services can provide assistance in creating audio descriptions.
- All images have either an alternate text or a long description.
Visual content must be described for users with vision disabilities. This is done through alternative text and long descriptions.
- PDF documents are tagged for accessibility.
PDF documents must have the proper tagging so that a person using assistive technology can view all the content and in the correct order. Learn how to check your PDF documents for accessibility.
- All Microsoft Word documents utilize appropriate headings.
Using headings is essential to document accessibility and allows users of assistive technology to understand and navigate the structure of the document.
- Lists are created using list styles.
For lists to be fully accessible, they must be created using list styles.
- Tables are formatted with a header row and have a simple layout.
Tables can be difficult for users of assistive technology if they do not have proper formatting. Learn about accessible table guidelines.
- PowerPoint presentations utilize preset layouts and correct Reading Order.
When creating slides in PowerPoint, be sure to use the present Layouts as these provide the structure in a slide that makes them accessible to users of assistive technology. It is also significant to check the Reading Order on each slide.
- Hyperlinks are descriptive, avoiding "Click Here" or full URLs.
Links should contain descriptive text to help users of assistive technology to understand where the link leads. Using "Click Here", "Learn More", or full URLs causes difficulty for screen reader users.
- Audio media (podcasts, lectures, etc.) have text transcripts.
Whenever using audio content, a podcast or song, there needs to be a text transcript and/or description of the audio. The transcript must be linked or attached near the audio content in the course.
- Course content can be navigated in a consistent manner with a keyboard.
For some students, the keyboard is the only way to navigate through a course and therefore the course must be fully accessible without a mouse or touchpad. Because Blackboard is keyboard navigable, the only time this might present a concern in Blackboard courses is if the course navigates to outside resources or websites. Get a Course Accessibility Evaluation if you are not sure about some of the content in your course.
- Emphasis is not indicated only using color or text styling (bold, italics, etc.).
When trying to emphasize something, do not use only color or text styling. Learn more about making emphasized content accessible.
- Sufficient color contrast is provided.
Colors used in the course have sufficient color contrast.
- No use of flashing or blinking content.
There must not be any flashing or blinking content in the course. This can cause headaches or even seizures in some students.
- All textbooks and additional online resources are accessible.
Textbooks, websites, and other assigned readings must comply with accessibility guidelines. If you need assistance checking online textbooks for accessibility contact Student Disability Services. For evaluations of other online resources, fill out the Accessibility Evaluation Request Form.
- STEM content is entered using an accessible tool (LaTeX, MathML, etc.).
Special characters for STEM content should be created using an accessible tool such as LaTeX or MathML. Special characters inserted as images are not usually accessible. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get more help and information about STEM content accessibility.
- Synchronous class meetings have live captions/audio descriptions for class meetings.
When class meetings happen, online captions and audio descriptions need to be provided, especially when there is a student registered in the course who requires this type of accommodation. This type of service is provided through Student Disability Services, simply contact them to arrange for captioning services to be provided for online class meetings.