Accessibility in Online Courses
For help, contact: Karen Sorensen
In 2011, the PCC Accessibility Guidelines for Online Course Content were developed and implemented in collaboration with Instructional Support, Distance Education, Disability Services, the Web Team, the Library and multiple faculty members. The PCC accessibility guidelines are based on the WCAG 2.0 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) AA standards which are internationally accepted, web accessibility guidelines.
What is Web Accessibility?
Web accessibility means developing your course so that it is navigable by all students, including those with visual, hearing, mobility and learning disabilities.
What happens when it's not accessible?
If course content or a learning activity cannot be made accessible, it either needs to be removed from the course or accommodations or modifications that permit students with disabilities to receive all the same educational benefits in an equally effective and equally integrated manner must be made.
Contact Karen Sorensen for help determining if your online course content and activities are accessible.
- Equally effective means the alternate content or learning activity achieves the same learning outcomes.
- Equally integrated means that if everyone else can do their homework online, in the middle of the night, so should the student with the disability.
Follow these guidelines or the step-by-step document-specific instructions to keep your course content accessible.
- Use properly formatted headings to structure the page.
- Format lists as lists.
- Write meaningful link text.
- Create tables with column and/or row headers
- Maintain a proper reading order in tables, forms and slides.
- Use sufficient color contrast.
- Don't use color alone to convey meaning.
- Ensure that any action that uses a mouse, can also be completed by keyboard alone.
- Provide alternative text descriptions for images.
- Design clear and consistent navigation.
- Eliminate or limit blinking / flashing content to 3 seconds.
- Label form fields and buttons clearly.
- Caption video.
- Transcribe audio.
- Don't require inaccessible software applications be used.
- Optional materials must include a balance of accessible options.
- Write math and science equations accessibly.
The Legal Stuff
Check out this great webinar presented by the EDUCAUSE IT Accessibility group. It reviews what every CIO and campus leader should know about accessibility.
Legal Regulations (and one report)
- Letter & follow up Q & A’s sent to every college president by Departments of Justice & Education, Civil Rights Division:
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, subpart E: Post Secondary
- Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
- Accessible Instructional Materials Commission Report
Recent Legal Settlements
- Louisiana Tech University (Department of
- Partially due to inaccessible publisher (Pearson) materials
- South Carolina Technical College System (Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights)
- Miami University lawsuit
- Lawsuit brought by student regarding inaccessible online materials and lack of equally effective content.