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Accessible Instructional Design

Designing your course with a consideration for students with disabilities is not only an important part of providing academic accommodations but many accessiblity practices can help other students as well.

Plan your course with accessibility in mind

  • Review the course learning outcomes to ensure material is relevant and will assist learners in achieving course learning outcomes.
  • Use a consistent course outline (the Centre for Institutional Quality Enhancement provides a template) and layout in Blackboard.

Use accessible multimedia in your class

  • Keep multimedia presentations short and relevant to learning outcomes.
  • Use media with captions where possible and include transcripts or a text format of the presentation if captions are not available.
  • Ensure that all visuals (graphs, sections of the screen in screencasts, pictures, etc.) are clear and large enough to view on a variety of screens, including smaller devices.
  • Make students aware of multimedia-heavy presentations in advance so they are able to download transcripts, etc. ahead of time.

Teach accessibly

  • Speak clearly and purposefully. Describe any acronyms the first time they appear. Avoid figures of speech or jargon where possible.
  • A friendly, conversational style is fine and appreciated by many listeners. Even if you aren’t using your webcam, learners can sense your enthusiasm by your tone.

Content

  • Describe any acronyms the first time they appear.
  • Avoid figures of speech or jargon where possible.
  • Ensure that the language is appropriate to your group of learners.
  • Chunk content into smaller sections of related information -- this is useful from a visual perspective and can assist in scaffolding learning.
  • Ensure that you have permission to use material. If you are using resources (including videos) created by others, ensure that you have permission to use the material and cite your sources.

Document Design

  • Font size: text in documents should be at least 12pt. Text on slides, posters, etc. should be visible from the back of your class (if content will be viewed in a room).
  • Use a legible font style (example: Arial or Helvetica).
  • Sans serif is preferable for screens (e.g. Arial or Helvetica).
  • Use a consistent font style.
  • Use solid colours where possible and avoid using too many colours on one document or presentation. Black text on white background is most readable.
  • Include images that are relevant and help illustrate the information you wish to convey.
  • When including images in documents and slides, describe them using Alt Text. An Alt Text field is available in Blackboard when directly uploading visuals.
  • Describe all figures, including charts and graphs. The notes field in PowerPoint may be used for this.
  • Use the headings feature in your word processing program for each heading and subheading throughout each document (in sequential order - Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, etc.).
  • Avoid putting too much text or images onto a page - leave enough white-space so the document or slide is less visually overwhelming.

Video

  • Aim for 5-10 minutes maximum video duration - several short videos are better than one long video for attention and processing.
  • Select videos with captions where possible and include transcripts or a text format of the presentation.
  • Be aware of lighting. It is best if light is behind the camera or computer, if using a webcam.
  • Consider incorporating questions to reflect on at various points in the video.

Audio

  • Ensure that audio is clear. If you are recording your own presentation, be sure to use a headset with a microphone or a standalone external microphone.
  • Attach a transcript or script (this might be required for some students in your courses and can be beneficial for all students).
  • If recording your own materials, plan out what you will say using bullet points or a script - rehearse before recording. This will save you the hassle of recording and re-recording many times and will help to keep your audio concise.

Additional Resources

Help and Support

If you’d like one-on-one support on providing accessible instructional design in your course, contact the Teaching and Learning Centre by emailing teachingandlearning@uoit.ca. If a student in your course requires captioning, please contact Carole Duffin, Student Accessibility Services at carole.duffin@uoit.ca

Email copyright@uoit.ca if you have any questions about using copyrighted content.

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