While Disability Services Program (DSP) approves academic and non-academic accommodations associated with a student’s disability, medical and mental health condition, faculty are legally responsible for administering many accommodations within the classroom. The OTL and DSP are here to help support faculty and facilitate this process. Throughout this article, you can find our accessibility checklist for designing, building and teaching in Canvas, DU’s primary Learning Management System. The content described in this article is applicable to all teaching modalities, not strictly teaching online. All courses moving forward should have a Canvas presence. Please follow this checklist, or download our accessible PDF here.

Instructors that need help or have questions about making digital content accessible, please fill out our OTL Accessibility Request form.

✔ Syllabus Checklist

  • It includes contact information to the Disability Services Program (DSP), as well as the institutional DU Accommodation Statement.
  • It includes contact information for the instructor, as well as any teaching, graduate or classroom assistants.
  • It includes contact information for Canvas, Zoom and/or technical assistance.
  • Syllabus is posted on Canvas Syllabus navigational area within Canvas, and it is accessible to students.
  • If any component of the class requires a physical campus presence such as Labs, a COVID-19 statement has been included.
  • Include an accessible and downloadable syllabus that also match any syllabus information on Canvas, this can be in an accessible PDF or Word format.

✔ Navigation and Organization Checklist

  • Canvas Modules are labeled accordingly and follow a linear or cohesive naming convention.
  • Assignments are nested in their appropriate Module, and match the syllabus.
  • The Navigational bar contains relevant links & applications, any unused areas are disabled in the settings and not viewable by students.
  • All Modules, Assignments and relevant instructional materials are published and accessible to all students. You can also verify this by using the “Student View” option.

✔ Headings, Texts, and Links Checklist

  • Canvas content was created with either a CidiLabs template or the Rich Content Editor in Canvas.
  • Use different heading levels (Heading 1, 2, 3, etc.) to clearly mark sections of your course and indicate how content is ordered and related.
  • Labels are provided for linked text, and are not posted as long url links. Avoid using language such as “Click this link”, and instead use screen tips.
  • All links work as intended after testing, and they open in a new tab.
  • Colors on text and background are high contrast.
  • All bullets and numbered lists were created using the Canvas Rich Content Editor. The built-in lists provide a navigational structure for those students using screen readers.
  • The Rich Content Text Editor was used to create formulas, equations and other scientific notations. Math content in Word, PDF, applications, platforms or other formats also need to be accessible (MathType, MathML, LaTeX, Desmos, etc.).
  • Use the heading labels in Modules to mark distinct sections.

✔ Tables Checklist

  • Tables in Canvas were created using the Rich Content text Editor or using a CidiLabs template.
  • Tables include appropriate Headings, and headings appear in a single row.
  • Tables include Captions or an Alternative Description.

✔ Images Checklist

  • All images in your course are high-resolution with good color contrast.
  • All images, charts, diagrams and illustrations have the appropriate alternative text (decorative, informational, etc.).
  • Any text-based images include the same as the text in the image. However, we encourage adding any text content using the Rich Text Editor.

✔ Videos Checklist

  • Enable Zoom automatic closed captioning during live lectures.
  • Zoom lecture videos are uploaded to Canvas for later viewing, whether automatically via cloud recording or manually.
  • Verbally describe any images or graphs in your slides to help low vision, blind, or students with learning disabilities. Verbal description will also be converted into closed captions.
  • Captions and transcripts have been reviewed for accuracy.
  • Review and edit auto-generated closed captions for Kaltura videos for accuracy.

✔ Audio Checklist

  • All audio files (audio recordings, podcasts, etc.) have transcripts. Kaltura is able to provide a transcript for podcasts & audio recordings.
  • All transcripts have been manually reviewed for accuracy.

✔ Files Checklist

  • For materials that I uploaded in an Acrobat PDF format, I used the built-in accessibility checker to review errors, if any. All DU faculty & staff have access to Adobe Creative Cloud at no cost (please email IT support to activate).
  • For materials that I uploaded in a Microsoft Office format (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.) I used the built-in accessibility checker to review errors, if any. All DU faculty & staff have access to Microsoft Office 365 at no cost.
  • Excel documents contain no empty cells and are used strictly for organizing data.

✔ Assessments and Discussions Checklist

  • Extended times on timed assessments for students with approved accommodations have been provided & setting options have been reviewed.
  • Students have been provided with the option to use a variety of modalities (text, audio, video, etc) with any discussion in Canvas to promote an inclusive environment.

✔ Third Party Applications and Books Checklist

  • Third party platforms that are used as part of instruction (assignments, exams, readings, etc) are accessible to all students. You can review this by requesting a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) from the the publisher or vendor, and reviewing it with your IT department.
  • Your course book(s) are accessible to your students in different modalities, and compatible with assistive technology (PDF, ePub, audio books, etc).
  • Please contact the publisher of your book(s), or your department head to check for accessibility.

✔ Quality Assurance Checklist

  • I used the built in CidiLabs Accessibility checker to review errors, if any.
  • I used the accessibility checker for document files (Word, PowerPoint, etc.) in the corresponding program.
  • If I have any students with medical accommodations, I have contacted Disability Services Program to make sure my course & materials are accessible.
  • I made the suggested changes to my course and/or I have consulted with an Instructional Designer from OTL to make sure my course is accessible.

Need additional assistance? Please contact the Office of Teaching and Learning at OTL@du.edu, 303-871-2084 or schedule a one-on-one consultation with an Instructional Designer.