Lesson 2: How do you make course content accessible?



Upon completion of this lesson, participants will:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of accessibility tools and tips, by creating their own mini documents using accessibility practices.

Module 1: Audio and Video (Captioning)

Closed Captioning Logo


In order to be considered accessible, audio and video files must have either a transcript or closed captioning. There are a number of services that will produce these for a fee, but this module will focus on free and easy ways to produce transcripts and closed captioning.

Note: These resources are directly from Buffalo State College. Procedures for captioning may vary from campus to campus. Please be aware of the general principles and work with the appropriate offices on your campus to ensure accessibility of your audio and video.

Accessibility of Audio and Video

Quick Checklist for Course Accessibility

Closed Captioning

YouTube Automatic Captioning: When video is uploaded to YouTube, captioning may be generated. If captioning is generated YouTube provides the user the option to edit this Automatic Captioning to the videos they upload for accuracy.
Editing Automatic Captions in YouTube

A script can also be uploaded to YouTube to assist with accuracy of closed captioning
Adding captions to your YouTube video

When searching videos from YouTube, it’s good practice to select CC (Closed Caption) as a filter option so that only videos with closed caption are displayed in your search results. Users can determine if the captioning has been enabled by the presence of ‘CC’ in the lower right hand corner of the YouTube player.

Searching YouTube for Captioned Videos


Express Scribe Transcription Software is an audio player software designed to assist with transcription of audio recordings.


  • Allows user to adjust speed control to match users typing speed.
  • Users can type within software and then copy and paste into a Word Document


1. Watch the video Oral Meds with the sound on and captions off.

2. Watch the video again with the sound off and captions on.

3. Write a reflection in the discussion forum of what happened to the meaning of the video when you turned the sound off. What are the steps needed to take to caption this video? Take the stance that this is your own video that you uploaded into YouTube.

Module 2: PDF

Creating a new document or editing an existing document

When creating a new document, there are typically two pathways to accessibility:
1. Creating an accessible document from within a current PDF file
2. Generating an accessible PDF from another application (such as a word processor)

No matter how they are created, accessible PDF files have the following characteristics:
1. Searchable text (i.e. a PDF not saved as an image)
2. Interactive form fields and defined tab order (enabling users to use the Tab key to navigate within the document)
3. Navigational Aids (enabling users to navigate within the document using their keyboards)

4.Formatted Headings

4. Proper security settings that won’t interfere with a screen reader
5. Alternative Text descriptions for images and charts

Tips for Easy Accessibility

1. When creating a PDF, it is critical to utilize the pre-loaded styles to create headings and paragraph text so that screen readers can navigate easily through the document. Headings created by using the font and bold buttons will not be recognized as headings by screen readers.

2. The best way to create accessible links is to use the ‘Create Link’ command. Links must be active in order to be accessible. Note that automatically detected/created links are not accessible (ensure that the Basic Tools > General Preference > “Create Links from URLs” is unchecked. Links must be created one at a time.

3. If you plan to password-protect your documents, in the Permissions section of the Password Security Settings dialogue, verify the box labeled “Enable text access for screen reader devices for the visually impaired” is checked. This is the default setting for Adobe Acrobat 9 and Adobe Reader 9

4. Use the Quick Check accessibility checker to check over your document before using it.


Adobe Systems Incorporated. (2012). Adobe accessibility training resources. Retrieved from http://www.adobe.com/accessibility/products/acrobat/training.html

Scanning an existing document

1. Scanned images are inherently inaccessible because they contain images that represent the text on a page, not actual text. These documents will appear as completely blank to those using assistive technologies.

2. Documents must be scanned using a scanner that produces a non-image file that contains the qualities listed above.

3. The procedures for creating accessible documents via scanning will be different for each scanner and software.

4. Currently, the Office of Disability Services at Buffalo State recommends the use of ABBYY FineReader software for scanners as the easiest way to instantly produce accessible PDF files.

5. However, it is possible to create accessible files using Adobe Acrobat Pro. The Ohio State University has an excellent tutorial on the typical process of scanning, OCR recognition, and editing the document for accessibility.


1. Create a new PDF document using accessibility practices described above.
2. Save the document and upload to the discussion forum.

Be sure to use the accessibility checkers provided.

HINT: If you looked a head in this course you can see the final project is to create a new accessible lesson. This can be used as part of that lesson.

Module 3: Microsoft Office

Microsoft has built in features that allow you to create accessible documents, check out the guidelines below for each product.

All Word or PowerPoint files should be created using these accessibility guidelines

  • Please note that this is not a comprehensive list and is subject to change.

Microsoft Word and PowerPoint Accessibility Checklist

Microsoft Word

1. Simple is best
2. Minimize use of color - Important information should not be emphasized with color alone. For example, don’t say “Assignments in green are due on Wednesday and assignments in red are due on Friday.

3. Save files as .doc or .pdf so they are easily downloadable.

4. Avoid using text boxes.

5. Use Tab Key rather than Space Bar when indenting or spacing.

6. Use simple tables and designate header rows. For example, do not merge cells, split cells or embed tables within table/cells.

Text Directions | Video Directions

7. Use text to provide a clear description of a website link rather than just the URL. For example, when creating a hyperlink use text display to name the website rather than providing the URL or saying "Click here".

Text Directions

8. Provide Alt Text tags for all images and tables. For example, information should not only be provided through images. Text descriptions should be included within the image when inserting into the document.

Text Directions | Video Directions

9. Use Styles for consistency - For example, identify headings & subheading in document(s) using Microsoft Office Styles.

Text Directions | Video Directions

Additional Resources:

Directions for Making Accessible Word Documents

Accessibility Checker for Word 2010-Video

Additional Tips for Word Documents- Video

Microsoft PowerPoint

1. Apply all MS Word Recommendations (see information above)

2. Ensure that slides are readable

Font Type
Font Size
Contrast of Color

3. Avoid too much text on slide

4. Provide Alt Text tags for all images and tables. Ensure images are related to content and help communicate information

Text Directions | Video Directions

5. Avoid transitions and animations

6. User Predefined slide layout whenever possible

Text Directions

7. Ensure that all slides have unique titles

Text Directions

8. Ensure that the reading order of each slide is logical

Text Directions

9. Use "Notes" for text that you may speak during lecture

10. Audio within PowerPoint

Text Direction

Additional Resources:

Accessibilty Checker for PowerPoint 2010- Video
Microsoft Office Accessible PowerPoint



1. Create a new Microsoft Word and PowerPoint document using accessibility practices described above.
2. Save the documents and upload to the discussion forum.

Be sure to use the accessibility checkers provided.

HINT: If you looked a head in this course you can see the final project is to create a new accessible lesson. This can be used as part of that lesson.

Module 4: Images and Tables

Images and charts provide a visual representation of information.
By following these tips, you can make your visual representation available to all learners.


1. Labeled with Alternative Text ( Alt Tag). Alternative text provides a textual alternative to non-text content.

Text Directions | Video Directions


Video Directions for Creating Accessible Tables

1. Tables should be simple without nesting

2. Provide headings for tables

Text Directions (MSOffice)

Additional Resources:

WebAirm( Web Accessibility in Mind)


1. Within your Microsoft Word document already created, create a table using accessibility practices described above.
2. Save the document and upload to the discussion forum.

Be sure to use the accessibility checkers provided.

HINT: If you looked a head in this course you can see the final project is to create a new accessible lesson. This can be used as part of that lesson.

Module 5: Student Submissions

There are a number of reasons that faculty may want to take the initiative to have students create accessible submissions.

Here is a small sampling:

1. Peer-to-peer review and feedback

2. Relevance to student’s current field of study

3. Increasing student technological proficiency

4. Introducing the concept of Universal Design

5. Multimedia submissions may need to be captioned or transcribed for grading or archival purposes

When creating submissions, students may choose from the same set of tools presented on this mini course.


Course Home Page: Creating Accessible Online Learning Materials, Focusing on Accessibility
Lesson 1: What is accessibility and why does it matter?
Lesson 3: How do you verify and apply accessibility practices?


For a reference, below is a link to the FACT2 Accessibility Page Glossary of Terms. This may come in handy along your journey in this class and thereafter.