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Guides, Instructions, Checklists, and Tools

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Checklists

Quick Accessibility Checklist (HTML)
The Quick Accessibility Checklist is designed to help faculty and staff who want to develop or modify Web-based course material, lectures, and assignments in an accessible way. It covers multimedia elements, web tools, HTML tags, and advanced web design.

How Do You Teach? (PDF)
A checklist to determine how well your teaching methods align with the principles of Universal Design for Learning.

Ten Tips for Accessible Documents (HTML)
Have you ever realized that not everyone receiving your documents can read and understand them as well as you think? Regrettably, most of us don’t consider people with disabilities when creating documents. The tips in this checklist can help you create documents that cater to your whole audience, not just a portion of it.

Ten Tips for Creating Accessible Course Content (HTML)
Professors and instructional designers need to make sure all their students enjoy equal access to course materials, including students with disabilities. To help educators tackle that challenge, web accessibility expert Janet Sylvia presented a webinar on ten tips to creating accessible course content. This article summarizes those tips.

Tips for Making Online Documents Accessible: Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and PDF (HTML)
Web accessibility means committing to making your website accessible to all users, regardless of their physical or sensory ability. But inclusive design extends beyond your website. To be truly accessible, any documents provided as links to download must also be accessible. This article contains tips for making such documents accessible, as well as links to checklists specific to Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and PDF.

20 Tips for Teaching an Accessible Online Course (PDF)
Covers both the design of course materials and instructional methods. Produced by DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) as part of the DO-IT AccessCyberlearning project.

Guides

Accessible Syllabus (HTML)
The philosophy statement on Accessible Syllabus reads as follows:

This website is dedicated to helping instructors build a syllabus that plans for diverse student abilities and promotes an atmosphere in which students feel comfortable discussing their unique abilities. Countless instructors complain that students don’t read the syllabus. We believe students would use the document more effectively if it were designed more accessibly.

Accessibility is necessary for all learning, and disability studies provides a key lens through which to question our classroom practices and resources. To create more inclusive teaching, instructors must plan for diversity in the classroom and adapt to the immediate needs of students.

Developed by Tulane University graduate students, with support from the Tulane Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching, Accessible Syllabus is an interesting mix of practical guidelines and high-minded advocacy, with an emphasis on questioning traditional policies and practices. Both accessibility and UDL are used to frame such questions, with the aim of arriving at answers that lead to a learning environment more conducive to diversity and inclusiveness.

Accessibility@Mason: Guide to Creating Accessible Electronic Materials (PDF)
The Assistive Technology Initiative (ATI) at George Mason University designed this user manual to provide information and guidance  for the creation and testing of e-learning materials (documents, websites, and videos), including step-by-step procedures for access and use. The guide was designed as a “just-in-time” resource to support faculty and staff in creating accessible e-learning content. As such, it consists of a series of one-page “cheat sheets” that provide step-by-step procedures for incorporating accessibility into commonly used software applications. The guide can be reviewed in its entirety or individuals may pick and choose the “cheat sheets” that are most applicable to their current needs.

Applying Universal Design for Learning (HTML)
At Rutgers University, staff in the Office of Instructional and Research Technology have compiled a simple, easy-to-understand guide to applying the principles of universal design for learning to courses being developed and to existing courses. The guidelines are grouped into the following categories:

  • Immediate Changes
  • Changes That Can Be Delayed
  • Changes That Would Be Nice
  • Course (Re)Design

Composing Access: Enhancing Accessibility at Conferences (HTML)
Developed by the Committee on Disability Issues in College Composition (CDICC) and the Computers & Composition Digital Press (CCDP), Composing Access is a guide to enhancing access at academic conferences, with tips and strategies for preparing accessible presentations, enhancing accessibility while delivering presentations, and organizing an accessible academic conference.

DIY Resources for Closed Captioning and Transcription (PDF)
While using a 3rd party captioning service certainly makes the captioning and transcription process easier for video producers, sometimes it is not a plausible solution (mainly due to cost). People often ask if there is a “free” way to caption their videos. If you want accurate captions, usually the only free way to get them is to do it yourself. This guide takes you through the DIY captioning and transcription workflow and includes helpful tools, different workflow strategies, and captioning and transcription standards to help make the DIY process as quick and easy as possible.

From Theory to Practice: UDL Quick Tips (PDF)
A quick-start guide to incorporating the principles of universal design for learning into learning objectives, instructional materials, teaching methods, and assessment.

Guide to Alternative Text (HTML)
Adding alternative text for images is the first principle of web accessibility. It is also one of the most difficult to properly implement. The web is replete with images that have missing, incorrect, or poor alternative text. Like many things in web accessibility, determining appropriate, equivalent, alternative text is often a matter of personal interpretation. Through the use of examples, this article presents appropriate use of alternative text.

Media and Materials: Guidelines (HTML)
Developed and maintained by UDL on Campus by CAST, this resource provides guidelines for developing and using media and materials in accord with the principles of Universal Design for Learning, including such media and materials as video, audio, images, text, web conferencing, open educational resources, and ePubs (digital books).

Real Connections: Making Distance Learning Accessible to Everyone (Video)
Educators and students share guidelines for designing Internet-based distance learning courses to fully include all students, including those with disabilities.

Universal Design for Learning Syllabus (HTML)
According to UDL on Campus by CAST, “A syllabus based on the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) has the potential to provide additional access and participation in a postsecondary course. This type of syllabus provides a variety of options for how information will be presented for the course, how students will be assessed, and ways to participate in the course as well as explicit expectations and available supports.”  This resource contains information about developing a syllabus and an example of a syllabus highlighting UDL considerations.

Universal Design: Process, Principles, and Application (HTML)
When principles of universal design are applied, products and environments meet the needs of potential users with a wide variety of characteristics. For example, applying the principles of universal design to a typical service counter in a place of business might result a counter that has multiple heights—the standard height designed for individuals within the average range of height and a shorter height for those who are shorter than average or who use a wheelchair for mobility. This guide defines the principles of universal design, describes the process of using them, and provides examples of their application.

Web Accessibility 101: Web Headings for Screen Readers (Video)
Jeremy Hartley, Accessibility Analyst at SSB BART Group, demonstrates how screen reader users navigate websites using heading commands.

Instructions

Create Accessible PDFs from Microsoft Office Files (HTML)
Tagged PDF files make it easier for screen readers and other assistive technologies to determine a logical reading order and navigation for the file, as well as allowing for content reflow when using large type displays, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and mobile phones. This tagging can be done automatically when you save a file as PDF format starting in Microsoft Office 2007 versions of Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Visio, or Word.

Creating Accessible PowerPoint Presentations (HTML)
This article offers guidance on ways to create Microsoft PowerPoint presentations to make them more accessible to users with disabilities.

Creating Accessible Word Documents (HTML)
Creating Accessible Word Documents (Video)
Guidance on ways to create Microsoft Word documents to make them more accessible to users with disabilities. Learn how to format your document using Styles, add alternative text to images, and other tips to make your document easier for users and assistive technologies to navigate.

Creating Accessible Excel Workbooks (HTML)
This article offers guidance on ways that Microsoft Excel workbooks can be created in a way to make them more accessible.

Tech-Ease 4 All (HTML)
Help topics and how-to tutorials for accessibility options using Universal Access in Apple’s Mac OS X and Ease of Access in Microsoft Windows.

Tools

Easy Checks: A First Review of Web Accessibility (HTML)
Developed by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), this web site provides step-by-step instructions for checking the accessibility of web pages with the following checkers:

Find and Fix Accessibility Issues in Word 2010 (Video)
In this video, learn how to use the Accessibility Checker in Microsoft Word 2010, which lets you find and fix issues that can make it difficult for people with disabilities to read or otherwise interact with your document.

Find and Fix Accessibility Issues in PowerPoint 2010 (Video)
If you are sharing your presentation with others, it’s a good idea to ensure it’s accessible to people who may have difficulties with vision, hearing or other challenges. The Accessibility Checker in PowerPoint 2010 makes it easy to find parts of your presentation that may cause accessibility issues, and suggests ways to clear up any such problems.

Microsoft Office Accessibility Checker (HTML)
Like the spelling checker tells you about possible spelling errors, Accessibility Checker in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint tells you about possible accessibility issues in your Office file so you can fix these issues so someone with a disability can read and get to your content. Rules used by the Accessibility Checker.

Sub-Titling Text Add-In for Microsoft PowerPoint (HTML)
The Subtitling text add-in for Microsoft PowerPoint lets you add closed captions to the video and audio files you include in your presentations. If you work with captioned video and audio files that already have Timed Text Markup (TTML) files associated with them, this add-in lets you import them directly into your presentation. If you don’t have a TTML file, you can add captions directly in your presentation.