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Evaluation for Excellence Toolkit: Evaluating Accessibility


The key is to try and design materials to be inclusive, so they are better for everyone. This takes far less time and effort than most people realise and there are tools available to help. Apply these relatively simple general principles to the design of materials and environments, to increase their accessibility. Make inclusion part and parcel of your everyday thinking about teaching.

Recipe Card Detail

Making sure your written and recorded teaching materials are accessible and inclusive will improve the learning experience for all students. 

These three simple steps focus on key areas:
– The clarity and layout of written documentation
– Captioning spoken video and audio content 
– Embedding the principles of inclusivity throughout to ensure all students feel part of the learning community 

PREPARATION: Gather together your materials
EQUIPMENT: Dependant on amount of material
TIMING: PC/laptop, access to Zoom/Teams/Collaborate, Panopto and Office 365
Use clear, consistent layouts and organization schemes for presenting your contentStructure headings and lists using the styles features built in to Microsoft Word (and other programmes)Avoid using tables unless you are presenting data.
Use descriptive wording for hyperlink text (e.g. “Essential reading for this week”)Avoid non-descriptive phrases (e.g. “click here” “ read more” or “further info”)
PDF documents were designed for printing. Lots of software can create PDFs, but the results may be inaccessible to screen readers. We recommend using an editable format like Word for text documents as it has a built in accessibility checker. This makes it easy for students to change the appearance if it helps them.
Provide alternative text for images and graphs – concise descriptions of the content presented within themUse large, bold fonts on uncluttered pages with plain backgrounds.
Avoid colour combinations that are low contrast (e.g. grey text on a white background)Ensure your choices also work for people who are colour blind. Tools such as the accessibility checker in Microsoft365 products and Blackboard Ally can check this for you.
Caption your videos or audio content. Start with the auto-captioning in MS Teams or Panopto/Encore. Once created, edit the caption to correct any transcription errors.Further information can be found in DCAD’s Making Video Inclusive guide, part of DCAD’s Teaching and Learning with Video Resource.
Talk to colleagues and chose a consistent set of IT tools across your program (e.g. for online meetings)Use a standard template for all your courses on Learn Ultra to make it easy for everyone to find the resources and tools they need.
Download a full colour version of the recipe cards. Recipe Card (PDF)

Links to Online Resources

  1. The guides show you how to upload and caption materials in Encore/Panopto
  2. Universal Design for Learning Framework
  3. DCAD Teaching and Learning with Video Resource

Links to Papers/Books

  1. Developing inclusive educators: enhancing the accessibility of teaching and learning in higher education, Marquis, Elizabeth ; Jung, Bonny ; Fudge Schormans, Ann ; Lukmanji, Sara ; Wilton, Robert ; Baptiste, Susan, International Journal for Academic Development, 01 October 2016, Vol.21(4), pp.337-349, Available via DU Library
  2. E-Learning and Disability in Higher Education: Accessibility Research and Practice by Jane K. Seale (review), Aquino, Katherine C, Review of higher education, 2015, Vol.38(2), pp.305-307, Available via DU Library
  3. Bracken, Sean, editor.; Novak, Katie, editor, 1st. edition, 2019, Available via DU Library