Accessibility is an aspect of Universal Design for Learning. Universal Design for Learning is a way of thinking about and creating a learning environment that makes student participation and engagement as ubiquitous as possible. An accessible course is designed with different learning styles and abilities in mind, so that the maximum number of students can participate without additional accommodation. If accessibility is built into the structure of the course upfront, less work will need to be done to facilitate an accommodation later on.

As more content is moved online, it becomes imperative, that instructors are aware of the impact as well as how to remediate some of the barriers, that keep students from fully participating in their courses.

The Importance of Accessibility

WebAIM did an analysis of the top 1 million websites earlier this year (2019). They used WCAG 2.0 Level A/AA–the lower two levels of compliance–and estimated that less than 1 percent or so of commonly accessed websites conform to WCAG 2.0 Level AA. They found on average 59.6 average accessibility errors per page. According to WebAIM, users with disabilities should expect to encounter an error on 1 of every 13 HMTL elements with which they interact. A complete summary of the results is available.

Three common barriers to accessible content for all students

  1. Items lacking contrast
  2. Missing alternative text tags for images
  3. Empty or broken links

Eighty-five percent of homepages have issues with presenting low contrast text. Nearly 68 percent of pages were missing alternative text for images. More than half of the websites included empty links or missing form labels.

From: eCampus News - Ensuring accessible content for all students.

Learn how to prevent these issues in Canvas on our Accessibility in Canvas page or view this this Canvas post about Fixing and Preventing Accessibility issues in your course.

Tools to Help Make Your Content Accessible

The WAVE WebAIM Tool is a suite of tools inside a web browser add-on and is a great way to scan online or browser content and get feedback multiple areas of web content at once. See

If you need a specific tool or need to verify offline content, we recommend you check out the lists below for some tools that can help you.