Applying Accessibility Principles to Your Course

October 30, 2023

Thinking about accessibility in your course makes sure you are providing sufficient and proper resources to every learner in every facet of the course. It is the responsibility of the instructor to make reasonable accommodations that can benefit all students regardless of accessibility status. 

Quality Matters General Standard 8 outlines practical applications for accessibility standards. Clemson Online offers Quality Matters revisions that provide instructors with accessibility feedback or additions. Below are four ways to apply the principles of accessibility to different aspects of your course.

1. Provide multiple means of access.

Providing multiple means of access ensures that your course information can be accessed in different formats. For example, if you share a video, make sure that the audio has subtitles on it. Another way to do this is to offer multiple forms of assignment submissions. It is also a good idea to publish your course communication in multiple ways to make sure every learner is receiving and can access the information you send to them.

2. Provide distraction free navigation.

Only including information that is necessary and used in your Canvas course ensures clarity. Hide all course buttons that you do not use to keep the course organized and ease navigation. Additionally, keep as much material as possible consolidated in Canvas. By doing these to two things, it makes sure that students can easily find course information or assignments. Utilize modules as a course guideline. This will act as a roadmap for students to know which topics are being covered and which material is related to those topics.

3. Use consistent course design.

It is easy to get creative when designing a course. But to apply this accessibility principle, avoid using many different fonts, colors, or switching font sizes. Using Clemson colors and bolding text when necessary accentuates aspects of your course without becoming  hard to understand.

4. Provide accessible images and text.

Make sure all images have alt-text so that students who use a screen reader will still have an understanding of what the image you have included is and why it is there. Try to only use tables for data instead of page formatting. Lastly, it is common that scanned PDFs upload as images. Images of text will not be read by the screenreader, and students will miss course content. Make sure that PDFs are selectable and searchable so that a screen reader will be able to relay the information properly.

These principles will ensure that you provide your students with an equitable learning experience. Accessibility goes beyond the accommodation letter and can benefit every single student in some way. 

For more on these topics, watch the recording of last week’s workshop on Applying Accessibility Principles led by Sharyn Emery, PhD.

Upcoming Events

Quick Hits: iClicker

Thursday, November 2nd, 3:30-4:30 PM

Join this training to have your questions about iClicker answered. Whether you have a specific question or want an iClicker topic demonstrated, this training opportunity is your time to work with one of our iClicker admins. When registering, choose whether to have a specific topic covered, enter your question, or both. 

Facilitated by our Learning Technology Team.

Modality: Virtual and synchronous—an Outlook Calendar invite, with the Zoom link, will be sent.
Registration: Quick Hits: iClicker on November 2nd .

Planning an Online Course

Wednesday, November 15th, 1:30-2:30 PM

Whether taking a face-to-face course online or building a new one from scratch, designing an online course takes time and planning. Join this presentation to learn about which course elements to start with and how to build an effective plan for developing an online course. 

Facilitated by Leslie Fuller, Ph.D., Digital Learning Strategist.

Modality: Virtual and synchronous—an Outlook Calendar invite, with the Zoom link, will be sent.
Registration: Planning an Online Course on November 15th 

Clemson Online Fall 2023 Events Calendar

calendar for Fall with woman fashion fall accessories.

Review our Fall 2023 Events Calendar to see what Online Instruction Development opportunities await!

We have a robust Summer lineup of topics and live training formats to support your use of Canvas and other e-learning tools. Topics cover demonstrations of using Kaltura, presentations on inclusive practices for online education, and workshops to get your Canvas site ready to teach!

All of our live training is recorded. Registrants will automatically receive a link to that day’s video after it has been processed.

Contact James Butler with any questions regarding these sessions. 

Clemson Online – Where Tech and Teaching Meet

Blog Home


Orange Clemson Online logo with the word blog in purple below it

Visit our website or use the direct links below for more:

Self-enroll in our Faculty Resource Center for up to the semester information about online teaching at Clemson:

Click on the icons below to check out our social media channels: