Accessibility Tips

Center for Teaching & Learning Excellence

Making Online Learning Accessible

Recommendations

These recommendations take into consideration students who encounter your online materials using technology you may not anticipate, such as a screen reader, or who do not have easy access to the most up-to-date devices.  

  • Content within D2L needs to be accessible for all students, whether or not the content was created or designed by the faculty member. Use the Accessibility Checker in D2L to verify that the content you create is accessible. 
  • Many of the same techniques used to ensure that in-person course materials are accessible apply to those delivered online. Some accessibility concerns are particular to blended/hybrid and online-only courses.  
  • Use consistent layouts and organizational schemes to present content, and make the organizational system transparent to students. This can serve as a road map for the course, and help students understand where they have been and where they are going in terms of their learning.  
  • Use headings and paragraph style features and built-in slide designs and layouts whenever possible, and avoid using bolded text as a replacement for headers. Screen readers rely on these headings and layouts to determine the order in which elements are read and for navigation through documents and slides. Without them, documents read as one single section. 
  • Embed hyperlinks within other text and use descriptive wording for hyperlinks (e.g., “SLU Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence” rather than text such as click here” or the full URL such as “faculty.sainleo.edu/”). This makes the destination of the link clear to all students, and makes the links easier to scan, find, and use for students using a screen reader. 
  • Captions assist students with audio processing issues and those listening in their non-native language. There are a variety of ways to generate captions for video. YouTube and Microsoft Stream automatically generates captions, but they are not always accurate. You can manually correct the caption file for accuracy. 
  • Transcripts can help students who wish to review audio content separately from the audio or visual medium. 
  • Alt-text helps students accessing your material with a screen reader understand what images are on the page. Most software programs that allow images to be embedded also allow you to create alt-text associated with the image.

Creating Accessible Documents

Basic Guidelines

Regardless of whether the document is in HTML, Microsoft Word, Adobe PDF, or another document format there are a few basic guidelines to make your content accessible: 

  • Use headings 
  • Use lists 
  • Use meaningful hyperlinks 
  • Add alternate text to images and graphics 
  • Identify document language 
  • Use tables wisely 
  • Understand how to export from one format to another 

 Create Accessible Documents Instructions 

How to Avoid Barriers

Disabling Right Click

The Disable right-click setting can prevent blind and low vision students from taking a quiz.

Note: If you practice Universal Design for Learning, it is best to avoid using the disable right click setting.

Sometimes students need to cut and paste text from a quiz into a program that converts text into speech. Disabling right-click prevents students from using the right mouse button, which opens a menu that includes options students need to copy quiz text.

disable right click setting crossed out

The benefits of using disable right click are limited and only apply in a proctored setting. It is ineffective in some Internet browsers and students can always take a picture of their screen using a separate phone or tablet.

Matching Questions

Blind and low vision learners may have difficulty with matching questions.

Note: If you practice Universal Design for Learning, it is best to avoid using Matching Questions.

With this question type, students match items in one list with items in a second list.

Matching

Sighted learners can visually track both lists, what items they have paired, and what items still require pairs. Blind and low vision learners have to independently remember the options and the matches.

Restricting IP Addresses

Some students take quizzes in a testing center where they have access to assistive technologies and people.

If you know the IP address for your classroom's router, you can create an IP Restriction to require students to be in the classroom physically to take their quiz.

I P Restriction Settings

Adding an IP Restriction will prevent students who use specialized testing centers from being able to access the quiz.


The IP address gives you information about where a student took a quiz.

For example, if the student changes locations during the quiz, the IP address will change also.

Note: If only the last several digits change, the student may have been in a single, large room that uses multiple routers. Because one space can be served by multiple IP addresses and because IP addresses are not specific to one room or building (they cover a much wider territory), it is not possible to know exactly where a student was when they took the quiz.

  1. Click the Quizzes tab in the course navbar.
  2. Click the caret to open the quiz's Action menu
    down-facing triangle
  3. Select Grade from the menu.
    actions menu
  4. Click the Attempt # beneath a student's name to open their quiz attempt.attempt number
  5. Click on the Quizzes Event Log.
    quizzes event log link
  6. Check Show IP Address.
    checkbox