Accessibility - Tips for Online Course Content

According to the 2010 United States Census, 19% of Americans are considered to have a disability and may need some sort of assistance when using a computer. Disabilities can be a variety of things including complete blindness, deafness, or mobility issues. However, they can also be colorblindness, dyslexia, low vision, being prone to epileptic seizures, or having arthritis. These are often overlooked but are still inhibiting to online learning when not taken into consideration. It is required by law that course content be accessible to all students taking the course and with such a diverse array of things to consider, we must be vigilant and mindful when creating content for courses.

This page will provide you with tools and methods to meet those standards of accessibility when creating online content, and when uploading this content into Blackboard. The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) awarded Blackboard Learn with a Nonvisual Accessibility Gold Certification, making it the first learning management system to achieve this certification. Please visit the Blackboard Accessibility web page for additional information.  

If you have additional questions about accessibility, or have a student with a documented disability, please visit Disability Support Resources (DSR) for support and further information. DSR also has a variety of tips for making documents accessible. In addition, GVSU has established a Web Accessibility Policy which was adopted in March 2017.

Website Accessibility 101: What it is and how it impacts your school.

Website accessibility 101: What it is and how it impacts your school

Instructional Media Guides

Word                    PowerPoint                    Adobe Acrobat and PDFs                    Videos and Audio                    Blackboard                    Alt Text

Tools for Testing Accessibility

Manually Testing Your Content

These tools allow for manually testing your documents, webpage, etc.

  • Microsoft includes accessibility checkers in their software.
  • Apple's Voiceover tool built into their operating system can be used to review your content using audio playback.
  • For Windows users, NVDA is a free screen reader can be downloaded and used to evaluate how your content works with a screen reader.
  •  Color Contrast Analyzer can verify if the colors selected are readable to everyone.

Automated Testing Tools For The Web

  • The Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool via WebAIM is a browser extension for Firefox and Chrome. It examines web pages for accessibility issues. 
  • aXe Accessibility Tool (Chrome, Firefox) will similarly examine a website's code to determine if there are issues with accessibility. 

Utilize these tools when creating class sites, blogs, etc. outside of Blackboard, or checking whether or not a website you may send your students to is accessible. 

Please use this Accessibility Checklist to ensure that the content you are creating and using is accessible. 

Page last modified February 8, 2018