As an institution that receives federal funding under the Assistive Technology Act, we are committed to making our electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities.
Accessible Documents and Instructional Materials
All course materials should be posted in an accessible format. We’ve outlined some actions you can take to ensure your courses are accessible to all students. In addition, Montclair State has an accessible course syllabus available for download in the Microsoft Word format. This follows best practices, as explained below, to ensure this critical document is accessible to all students.
Review Montclair State’s Tutorials for Microsoft Office and PDF tools.
Run the Microsoft Word Accessibility Checker after taking the steps below.
- Word: Use heading styles and ALT text for images.See additional tips for creating accessible word documents.
- PowerPoint: Use built-in slide layout templates and add ALT text for images.
- Excel: Specify column headers. Run the Microsoft Excel Accessibility Checker. It will guide you through making it accessible.
Portable Document Format
If you are converting your documents from MS Word to PDF.
- Convert MS Office file to PDF
- All materials scanned or converted to PDF must use Optical Character Recognition (OCR). Refer to the Adobe Acrobat “How to” guide.
- WebAIM PDF Accessibility tutorial
- How to tag an existing PDF
- Fixing Inaccessible PDFs using Adobe Acrobat Pro
Register for training to learn how to make your course documents accessible.
Canvas Accessibility Tips
- Use the Canvas Accessibility Checker – The Accessibility Checker verifies content created within the Rich Content Editor to check on common accessibility issues.
- Ally for Canvas is embedded in all MSU Canvas courses and automatically checks for accessibility issues and generates alternative accessible formats. Ally also guides instructors on how to improve the accessibility of course content.
- Use Canvas to provide extended time on quizzes for students who need it.
- Canvas can also allow for differentiated assignments.
- When offering Canvas conferencing sessions, share presentation materials prior to the live session to ensure students can access them. Other accommodations may be required based on students’ needs such as live captioning or alternative content formats.
- Review the Canvas General Accessibility Design Guidelines
Layout, Design and Color
- Use headings to make pages easy to navigate.
- Font size should be larger than 10pt, to ensure legibility.
- Links should be labeled in a descriptive way. Avoid “click here” or URLs to web addresses.
- Tables should be formatted to include row and column headers.
- Color alone should not be used to convey important information. If you use color to convey important information, also use pattern, shape, or labels to provide that information to the color blind.
- Ensure color contrast is strong.
Images and Graphics
- All images and graphics need alternative text or descriptions (e.g. “ALT”) which allow visually impaired students to understand what they represent.
- Accessible Charts (use visuals to convey complex ideas to users – from Penn State).
- Equations (how to make math equations accessible – from Penn State)
Video and Audio
- Videos should have captions. NJVid allows for you to add captions directly to your videos. NJVid provides a common online platform for presenting, accessing, and hosting Montclair State University’s licensed and locally produced videos that educate and enlighten viewers in support of hybrid and online teaching and learning.
- ITDS also has Panopto available – Panopto is an all-in-one video platform. It not only provides desktop lecture recording and automatic captioning services, but also offers pedagogical features to add learning interactions within a video. It is seamlessly integrated with Canvas. You can review our Panopto Documentation or attend a training workshop.
- Audio files should include transcripts.
- Formatting – Use a sans serif font such as Arial, Helvetica or Verdana, 12 point or larger and left aligned.
- Hyperlinks – Use the link tool instead of copying and pasting the URL. First, click on the Insert Link icon; next, type a meaningful descriptive title for the link under Text to display, then paste the URL under Web Address.
- Images – Pictures and graphs within an email must include alternative text or descriptions.
For additional guidance please consult with the Montclair State Disability Resource Center.
- Accessible Technology Resources for Teaching and Learning from the California State University
- As High-Tech Teaching Catches On, Students With Disabilities Can Be Left Behind, By Casey Fabris
- Assistive Technology Examples
- Interactive Accessibility
- Texas Tech University Online Accessibility
- Accessibility and Usability at Penn State
- Information Technology (IT) Accessibility at the University of Michigan
- Temple University’s Accessible Technology Resources