Graphic of desctop accessibility


Instructional Technology and Design Services (ITDS) is committed to making our electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. Our Disability Resource Center has more information.

ITDS has created a set of tutorials and documentation for faculty and staff in order to assist in the preparation of accessible course materials. This includes a Self-paced Accessibility Online Training Course in Canvas. You can enroll by selecting the “Join this Course” option in the lower right corner of the course home page. You can also register for our accessibility workshops where you will get hands-on training in how to make MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF documents accessible to all users, including an accessible syllabus in both MS Word and PDF versions.

Below are additional resources for making your course materials accessible to all users:

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.

MS Office

Montclair State Documentation:

Microsoft Documentation:

Portable Document Format (PDF's)

Refer to our documentation, when creating an accessible PDF. Use the PDF Accessibility Checklist as a guideline. If you are converting your documents from MS Word to PDF:

Google Docs
  • Review Google’s Accessibility for Docs editors. The Google Docs editors are designed to work with screen readers, braille devices, screen magnification, and more.
Canvas Accessibility Tips
Images and Graphics, Layout, Design, Color
  • All images and graphics need alternative text descriptions (e.g. “alt”) which allow visually impaired students to understand what they represent. WebAIM examples of alt text.
  • Accessible Charts (use visuals to convey complex ideas to users – from Penn State).
  • Equations (how to make math equations accessible – from Penn State)
  • 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.
Video and Audio
  • Audio files should include transcripts.
  • All videos should have captions.
  • 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 also seamlessly integrated with Canvas. You can review our documentation for both the PC (Windows) and Mac (Apple) or attend a training workshop. Students can also create Panopto recordings in your Canvas course. For more details, please review our documentation for student use of Panopto: Panopto Recordings for Students and Panopto Assignments for Students.
  • Formatting
    Use a sans serif font such as Arial, Helvetica or Verdana, 12 point or larger and left aligned.
  • Color
    When using color to communicate information, make sure that color is not the only means of conveying the information. For example, include an * to the
    colored text or underline the text. It is recommended to keep the background color white. Be sure your email has a sufficient degree of color contrast. A good example of
    high color contrast is black and white.
  • 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.

You can also review our documentation on Making Emails Accessible.

For additional guidance please consult with the Montclair State Disability Resource Center.

External Assistive Technology Resources

Screen Readers and Text to Speech:
NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access), is a free “screen reader” which enables blind and vision impaired people to use computers.
JAWS (Job Access With Speech), is the world’s most popular screen reader, developed for computer users whose vision loss prevents them from seeing screen content.
Zoomtext is a magnification and screen reading software for the visually impaired.

Speech to Text:
Voice Notebook is Google Chrome extension that works with Canvas. It allows you to right click on any text box in Canvas so that you can speak and it will translate it to text.

Mobile Devices:
Apple Accessibility
Google on the Go

The following resources can help you check course webpages and materials to see how accessible they may be to students with disabilities:

Canvas: Accessibility in your Course
WebAIM provides a detailed checklist to ensure Section 508 compliance in online materials.
Interactive Accessibility Checklist
Cynthia Says Accessibility Checker
Vischeck (color blindness simulator)
W3C Accessibility Resources
WAVE Accessibility Checker
Accessibility checker at Sacramento State

Review Montclair State’s Tutorials for Microsoft Office and PDF tools.

References Consulted