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Open Education Practices

Learn how Open Educational Resources (OERs), Open Scholarship, and Open Pedagogy benefit faculty, students, and the wider community.

Accessibility Tools and Rubrics

Accessibility Guides and Tutorials

Accessibility and OER

At its core, open pedagogy promotes accessibility, usability, and inclusionWhen you are adapting materials for your courses, it is very important to keep accessibility of those materials in mind and there are many tools built into MS Word, Powerpoint, and Google Docs that can help you make your materials more accessible.

Top 5 Traits of Accessible Documents

*From the Wright State University Office of Disability Services and the Center for Teaching and Learning. Use their Accessibility for Online Course Content guide to get started.

  1. Headings are Structural and Have Logical Hierarchy
  2. Images, Audio, and Video Have Text Alternatives
  3. Links Have Meaningful Text
  4. Colors Have Good Contrast
  5. Reading Order Makes Sense

Accessibility Basics

Creating Accessible Text Styles & Headers

General Tips

  1. Use MS Word styles to structure the document - this is what screen readers look for, and it helps all learners with navigation of documents
  2. Don’t manually edit text to make it look like a header by adjusting boldness and text size - this is not accessible
  3. You don’t have to use the default style - you can adjust the formatting
  4. At any point in time, you can change the styling for headers, and every text that has been applied with that header will automatically update, which is a huge benefit to you as well.
  5. Did you know that APA even offers suggested header formatting? (So does MLA)

How To

  1. In MS Word (See video tutorial on MS Heading Styles)
    • Click anywhere in the block of text you want to make into a heading. You don’t have to highlight the text, just click once anywhere in the paragraph.
    • From the styles on the “Home” ribbon, click the level of heading you want. So for example, the title of the page is Heading 1. The main section headers are Heading 2. Subsection titles are Heading 3.
    • It's a hierarchical outline structure that enables screen readers to jump forward to appropriate sections without reading every single word out loud.
      • Heading 1

        •  to Heading 2

          • to Heading 3 and so forth

  2. In Google Drive (See Google documentation on document styles)
    • Click on the block of text to which you want to apply a style.
    • Click on the dropdown that says "Normal text" and choose the style you want. OR, click on the "Format" menu, then "Paragraph styles"

Embedding Links in Texts

General Tips

  • Do NOT insert a link in the text "click here." That gives the sight impaired reader no context to what clicking will do. Use descriptive text such as "learn more about embedding links." The visually impaired reader will know that this is a link based on the screen reader functionality and the sighted reader will know that it's a link by the link style (blue, underlined, etc.)
  • See good and bad examples of link text provided by EKU's IDC

How To

Alternative Text for Images

General Tips

  • Include alternative text for images, drawings, and other graphics. Otherwise, screen reader users just hear the word "image."
  • Alt Text provides a description of images that can be read by screen readers.
  • Since assistive technology doesn’t read words within images, if there’s text within your image, include that text in the alt text description.
  • Some images automatically include alt text, so it's a good idea to verify that this automatic alt text is what you want.

How To

  1. In MS Word (see MS video tutorial on alt text)

    The Alt Text pane opens. Type a detailed description of the image to someone who cannot see the image, and describe why the image is important to your message.

    • Right-click the object and select Edit Alt Text....
    • Select the object. Select Format > Alt Text.
  2. In Google Docs 
  • Select an image, drawing, or graphic.
  • Right click and then Alt text.
  • Enter a title and description.
  • Click Ok.

PowerPoint Accessibility

General Tips

  • "PowerPoint presentations tend to be highly visual, and people who are blind or have low vision can understand them more easily if you create your slides with accessibility in mind."
  • The same principles that apply to Docs and Webpages also apply to Powerpoint: Logical Hierarchy, Alt Text, Meaningful Link Text, Color Contrast, Logical Reading Order

How To

  1. Microsoft has an excellent guide to making Powerpoints accessible.

Accessible Tables

General Tips

  • Tables organize information visually and help you show relationships between things. Learn how to set up tables so they can be read out loud to people who use a screen reader.
  • Use tables for presenting data, not for changing the visual layout of the page. In the table, include a heading row (rather than starting with data in the first row) because screen readers automatically read the first row as a heading row. 

How To

  1. In MS Word (see MS video tutorial on accessible tables)
  2. In Google Docs - There is currently no way to create a proper, accessible table in Google Docs without using a 3rd party add-on such as GrackleDocs. As there are some security concerns with using any third party application, you should check with your IT or Google Workspaces admin for advice. It may be easier to format the final version of the document in HTML or Word Doc for accessibility, or to just link to a Google Sheet for information in a table.