5 Ways to Improve the Accessibility of Your CI Learn Courses

This is the third post of the Carefully Curated Series for the Spring 2024 semester.

Before I begin, I want to acknowledge that accessibility is complex, with many guidelines and requirements, and I would never expect you to know everything. As with many other areas, accessibility can be nuanced, and there rarely, if ever, is a one-size solution but rather than a customized strategy for each individual. As Accessibility & Inclusive Design Lead for Teaching & Learning Innovations (TLi) at CSU Channel Islands, I am here to assist faculty and staff primarily, but ultimately, whomever I can in support of CI students.

While this information may not be new to you, I hope it serves as a reminder to continue incorporating these tips within your CI Learn/Canvas courses. If this information is new, please take it one step at a time. I expect you to do only some of them on your first attempt. Pick one or two tips and do them well before adding any additional ones. The aim is for you to build up and, in time, incorporate all of them consistently. My goal is for you to be successful. I’m available for Accessibility & Inclusive Design Support Consultation and would happily meet with you.

Tips to Improve Your Content

The following tips apply to all Canvas content: announcements, assignments, discussions, quiz descriptions, the syllabus page, and pages.

  • Check Your Headings
    • Structure your documents and Canvas content using Paragraph Styles. Headings make the structure of your content more accessible for screen readers while improving the usability for everyone.
  • Check Your Alt-Text
    • Every image, graph, and chart conveying meaning in instructional materials should have a description, whether in Canvas content, Word processing documents, or slide presentations.
      • Describe (explain the content of) the image and what’s important, and mention any text in the image to improve your score.
      • If your image is meant only for aesthetic purposes and does not contain info relevant to the learning content, you can instead click ‘indicate image is decorative.’ This means no alternative description is necessary, and your accessibility score will improve. 
  • Check Your List Styles
    • Structure your bulleted (unordered) and numbered (ordered) lists using List Styles. List Styles improve the readability and perceptibility of screen readers.
  • Check Your Hyperlinks
    • Meaningful and unique text should be used for all hyperlinks instead of adding the full URL or generic text (e.g., click here, YouTube video, read this, etc.) in your content.
  • Check Your Tables
    • Table headers are essential for screen readers to be able to perceive and read a table’s content. It’s also important to indicate the scope of a header to identify if it’s associated with a row or column.

Finally, as a bonus, I’ve included information about Quiz Accommodations in New and Classic Quizzes. Note: the process is different depending on which type you use.

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