What’s different about accessible documents?
They make your course content more useful to the broadest array of students! We all understand the importance—and legal necessity—of ensuring accessibility to our students with accommodations. Fortunately, accessible documents also bring our courses closer to the beautiful goals of universal design. Let’s make everyone’s lives easier by removing roadblocks. Some of your students have official accommodations for specific needs—and all of your students will benefit from increased flexibility in how they can access your course materials.
Consider these changes:
Improve visual contrast on your slides
- Accommodations: Your student Tyrone has a form of color blindness, but is able to see your PowerPoint slides clearly due to accessible color combinations and contrast.
- Universal design: Jackson sits in the back of the classroom. Clear color contrast on slides makes it easier for him to see small text.
Ensure accurate captioning on videos
- Accommodations: Priya has a hearing impairment and can watch the video clip you’ve assigned because it has closed captions.
- Universal design: Maria tries to listen to your recorded lecture on a noisy train. Closed captions clarify your important points.
Quick improvements you can make
- Rutgers Access & Disability Resources (RADR) offers tips for faculty on improving the accessibility of course materials, including:
- Top 3 Ways to Improve Document Accessibility
- Online Course Content Accessibility Quick Guide, including:
- Accessible Word Documents
- Making Accessible PowerPoints
- Learning about color blindness and checking your color choices for accessibility (Adobe color tool)
- Adding Alt Text to images/managing Content
- How to Use Kaltura to record videos — and add captions
- How to add captions to VoiceThread
- Identifying Accessible PDFs
- Making your own PDFs
- Converting image PDFs to searchable PDFs (Sensus Access)
- and much more.
- A few other good ideas:
- Learn about color blindness (WebAIM) and check your palette (Adobe).
- Do you use our Hypothesis tool, which allows students to annotate class readings in a collaborative effort? Because PDFs for annotation must be text-based, so students can select and highlight text, Hypothesis offers another excellent and quick OCR tool called DocDrop. Try it out; you’ll be impressed.
- You’ve probably noticed the Ally tool in your Canvas sites. Ally improves accessibility for students by offering them various formats of course documents, but also gives instructors reports on how accessible their course is—and how to make improvements.
Specific to Camden campus
If you use our RUCams classroom recording system, you will be thrilled by recent updates that improve accessibility:
- As of F23, all RUCams recordings include picture-in-picture, which allows students a clear view of projected resources. Windows can be switched; inset can be moved, resized, or closed.
- Starting mid-October, 2023, all new RUCams recordings will also include automated closed captions. (Note that RUCams videos uploaded to Kaltura will continue to have the Kaltura-produced captions.)