Activity: Create accessible online course content 

Every discipline uses different materials in the classroom. Whether texts, images, podcasts, or social media, all course materials must be accessible. Strong design also promotes more effective processing and comprehension for students. Resources to create a variety of accessible materials are organized below by content type. We encourage you to reach out to the Center for Teaching and Digital Learning Support to address your specific content design needs. 

Accessibility Resources Design Considerations
Documents and PDFs:

If you can read this because you are using something to increase contrast or are using a screenreader congratulations! You have found my terrible kludge to fix the fact that column widths were not properly working in this element. This is a great example of exactly how you shouldn't code. I'm sorry.

  • Use sans serif fonts that are easy to read. 
  • Include page numbers for easy navigation and reference.
  • Ensure contrast between the text and background. Use a Contrast Checker to review documents and slide presentations. 

Videos and Screencasts: 

  • DLS has a series of technical recording recommendations, including how to manage storage for large media files. 
  • Break larger presentations into smaller chapters. Chapters can be combined into a playlist where you upload your videos—YouTube has an easy process to create playlists. 
  • Be clear about the video’s purpose (e.g. “This video will help you...”).  
  • End recordings with a short summary and next steps—don't just cut off your recording! 
  • 1 idea per slide. This may mean your deck is longer than usual! 
  • Experts recommend using as few as 10 words per slide. If there is too much information on a slide, your students will stop listening to you and race through reading (and copying down) everything on the slide. 
  • Only use visuals that reinforce and align with the key idea. Avoid distracting slide deck extras (transitions, animation, etc.). 
  • Periodically pause during a slide deck presentation. Ask students to respond to a question or write a summary of key ideas. When they move ahead, the next segment can share answers or connecting thoughts. Tools like Peardeck, Slido, and Nearpod offer ways to embed polling and interactive questions into slide presentations (note: these are not UMW-supported tools). 

Images: 

  • Images (via Pennsylvania State University) 
  • Images (via UDL on Campus)
  • Text embedded in an image may not be accessible. If there is image-embedded text, create detailed alt-text descriptions. 

Audio and Podcasts: 

  • Audio (via UDL on Campus) 

 

  • Chunk audio into chapters. If using podcasts already recorded or longer sessions available publicly, be sure that the listener can adjust volume, playback speed, or pause the session. 
  • Speak slowly and pause periodically. Pauses can signal a change in topic or give the listener a chance to ‘catch up’ with the material. 
  • Be sure your files for download are compatible across devices—students may access computers, tablets, or phone for materials such as mp3.