Ensuring your course content is helps reduce barriers to comprehension, helping all students engage with a course regardless of any differences in ability. A course will reach a wider audience when its content is made accessible. Even when there are no students with identified academic accommodations in a class, accessible course content can be reviewed in a variety of ways, while inaccessible content offers limited forms of engagement. This chapter will help ensure your course is accessible to students with access needs, including those with impairments to vision, hearing, physical coordination, and cognition, as well as those whose native language is not English.
If you’re wondering where to start in developing content that meets UDL standards, consider reviewing the following checklist. Completing this checklist will highlight the sections in this chapter that best meet your needs.
Benefits of accessible course content:
- Offers the widest range of learners the opportunity to succeed
- Makes large amounts of information easier to navigate
- Ensures information is clear and unambiguous
When developing an accessible course, this chapter will help you to:
- Write information with proper headings, fonts, and hyperlinks
- Structure content with tables and lists
- Use accessible colour and contrast
- Offer formulas and mathematical expressions for all learners
- Create documents and files that meet accessibility needs
- Design multimedia content for those with visual impairments
- Follow a basic checklist for accessibility
The 8 Learning Technology Ecosystem (LTE) Principles are research-supported characteristics of effective digital learning spaces that prepare students for work and life, and they are aligned to the USask Learning Charter. The first of these states that learning must be Accessible. This means that learning must be found easily at any time, and all learners and teachers have equitable access, regardless of culture, language, ability, etc.
More information on the LTE Principles and supports specific to the various edtech tools available at USask can be found on the Learning Technology Ecosystem Toolkit.
The following short video from CAST offers an explanation of how accessibility relates to UDL.
By the end of this chapter, you should be able to:
- Use resources and tools to support the design of accessible course content
- Write course content that meets basic accessibility needs
- Design multimedia and layouts that meet basic accessibility needs
- Assess the accessibility of a variety of digital content
Providing equal opportunity for learners to acquire information, engage in activities and interactions, demonstrate understanding, and enjoy the same services through proactive design approaches. This can also encompass practices of web accessibility, which is the inclusive practice of ensuring there are no barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to, websites on the World Wide Web (as examples, by people with physical disabilities, situational disabilities, and socio-economic restrictions on bandwidth and speed).