Recently, the University has established a web accessibility initiative to develop standards, policies, tools, and educational programming to help University faculty and staff present all existing and future digital content so that it is accessible to all. As you add content to or review existing content in your Canvas courses, consider how accessible your content may be. In the past have you scanned chapters, articles, images or other content to make it available for your students, not realizing that it may not be accessible? Is there a way you can check?

Last month we made you aware of the Accessibility checker in the Rich Content Editor in Canvas. This month we want to share that there are accessibility checkers available in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. To help ensure your files are accessible, we recommend you try out the free tool built into each of the Office applications. Available whether you are a Mac or Windows user, the tool will identify any potential problem with your file and give you an error, warning or tip. Based on a set of rules for accessible documents, the checker reports what it verifies, which applications it applies to, and why it should be fixed. Consider reviewing the Rules for the Accessibility Checker provided by Microsoft. This will give you an idea of some of the things you can do to help ensure the content you are providing to students is accessible for all.

In subsequent months we will explore each of the file types in more detail regarding how to make them accessible. This will include Word, Excel and PowerPoint files and also PDFs.

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