Math & Science Accessibility

For help, contact: onlineaccess@pcc.edu

How to write accessible math and science equations

In Web pages

Write math in web pages using MathML.

People don't usually write MathML from scratch. Here are some ways to convert math to MathML.

  • D2L Brightspace has an equation editor that outputs MathML no matter which of the D2L equation editors you use (Graphical, LaTex or MathML).
  • There are also many online equation editors that will output MathML that you can then copy and paste into your web page.
  • The MathType plugin for Microsoft Word and PowerPoint has an equation editor that can be used to write math and publish to a webpage with MathML.
    • screen capture of how to export webpage with mathml from Mathtype plugin

While LaTeX is also accessible, the reader has to know LaTeX in order to understand it.

In Microsoft Word & PowerPoint (and OfficeMix)

There are two options for writing accessible math in MS Word and PowerPoint, and both options require the Design Science MathType plugin. PowerPoint requires MathType 6.9 (or later).

  1. Sighted users can use the MathType plugin to create accessible math and science equations, formulas and notations. The Microsoft's equation editor does not output accessible math and should not be used.
  2. Users with and without sight, can write math in LaTex. See the Student Resources pages of this Accessibility for Online Courses website to learn how to write LaTeX for beginning levels of mathematics and proof it with MathType.
Notes:
  • Do not write math using Office Mix (plugin for PowerPoint). Though the Office Mix is accessible, math written using the Office Mix editor is not.
  • If you convert your Word document or PowerPoint to a PDF, save your source documents in a folder of your course, as Disability Services will need those for a student with a visual impairment.

Graphing

We are excited about Desmos as an accessible graphing tool for both instructors and students with visual disabilities. Students who are blind and using a screen reader, can both create graphs and consume (read and listen to) them.

Math/Science in online publisher content

Proceed with caution when dealing with publisher-based content. It should be carefully vetted for accessibility. Contact onlineaccess@pcc.edu to help you evaluate publisher content for accessibility.

And consider switching to WeBWorK which is an accessible online homework site.

Math/Science in Tests

  • TestGen is not recommended. When we last tested it, it did not export to an accessible format.
  • Make sure any tests or quizzes follow the specific document type rules listed above.
  • If a student has a time extension which would make taking the test unreasonable to complete in one sitting (imagine taking a six-hour exam in one session!), the instructor should split the test into multiple parts so that the student can take the different parts on different days.

Additional Resources