Digital accessibility in teaching

The Law on Accessibility to Digital Public Service applies to all employees at Umeå university. If you work as a teacher there are a few things that you should be aware of.

This page will give you a little information about what the law requires and some tips about what you can do as a teacher to make your material more accessible.

Law on Accessibility to Digital Public Service

The Law on Accessibility to Digital Public Service changes the playing field for how the University must present and communicate through digital services such as the web and learning platforms. The law came into effect September 23, 2020.

The law affects us who have public websites and intranet. Even documents and videos that are uploaded to websites or learning platforms are included in the requirements.

Read more about the The Digital accessibility project at Umeå university.

What you need to consider to create accessible teaching material

When you create teaching material there are a few things that are good to know in order to make the material work for everyone. Often, the adjustments are not very time consuming for you but makes a big difference for the recipient. A more accessible content supports all kinds of recipients and students, not just the ones with some kind of disability.

When you work with a course in a learning platform it means that the content is covered by the law. Any material created or published in a learning platform must follow the regulations.

In large you should publish content with:

  • Clear and understandable language
  • Standardised headline sizes
  • Clear links (the link should be understandable on its own and describe where it leads)
  • Images with alternative captions
  • Videos and sound clips that everyone can comprehend

What kind of support can you get as a teacher to increase the accessibility in your teaching material

There is a lot to think about and luckily a lot of the university's systems have a built in support for accessibility.

Accessibility check in Canvas' text editor

By clicking the symbol for accessibility in Canvas' text editor you will get information about any problems the page has regarding accessibility. If there are any problems on the page there will also be a guide that shows you how you can rectify the problem.

Ally in Canvas

A course site in a learning platform is full of participants with unique learning abilities. As a teacher in the learning platform Canvas you can receive help to acknowledge any accessibility problems on the course site. You will also get step-by-step instructions on how to rectify any problems. Ally is an integrated tool in Canvas that analyzes the accessibility on course sites. Students may also take part of alternative versions of your files. That makes it possible for the students to choose what serves them best.

Automatic subtitles in videos

There are many pedagogic advantages with a video and from an accessibility perspective it is good because the viewer can pause and repeat parts of the video in their own time.

Subtitles are the usual form of accessibility adaptation when it comes to video. Using subtitles you can reach a wider audience, for example persons with disabilities or with Swedish as a second language.

In UmU Play, the service for video at Umeå university, there is support for creating closed captions. Closed captions means that the viewer can decide if subtitles are needed. In short this means that subtitles are created automatically and before you publish them you correct any errors.

Videos that are published from September 23, 2020, must be accessible according to the Law on Accessibility to Digital Public Service. Live streams are not included in the regulations but if you publish the live stream afterwards it must be accessible.

Guide for closed captions in Umu Play

Accessible documents created with O365

O365 contains programs (Word, Power Point etc) that are used to create documents and presentations that can be uploaded to a learning platform. The programs have built-in functions for checking and improving accessibility.

Guide for accessible documents in O365 (Microsofts website)

Marie Friman