University of Wisconsin–Madison

Accessible Course Content Supports Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at WSB

Support our inclusive campus culture by providing an accessible digital learning experience for your students

WSB Instructors are making great strides to provide inclusive in-person learning environments. This inclusive behavior must extend into our digital learning materials and spaces. DEI practices include removing barriers in your Canvas course content. We all benefit from providing accessible teaching and learning both in-person and digitally.

The UW-Madison Digital Accessibility Policy states that we are “committed to diversity and fostering a culture of full inclusion of people with disabilities by providing digital resources and information technology that people with disabilities can fully, equally, and independently use.“

Accessibility is about providing information equitably to students who have diverse sensory and perceptual experiences, including visual and auditory impairments. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), reasonable accommodations MUST be provided to allow all students to engage with content equitably.

For a more inclusive course experience, consider the following in your Canvas site:

  • Add Alt-text to your images when you upload them: Alternative (Alt) Text is meant to convey the “why” of the image as it relates to the content of a document or webpage. It is read aloud to users by screen reader software. It also displays on the page if the image fails to load, as in this example of a missing image.
  • Use text that is readable with a screen reader: Some elements on the page lack adequate labels or tags to alert the user of the function of the elements, for example, a button to remove a filter labeled “Active Issues” will read the label to the user, but won’t announce that selecting that option removes that filter. Other elements, like an arrow button to reveal more information, lack contextual labels and simply reads to the screen reader user as “Clickable.”
  • Give descriptive names to links and pages: make it easier to navigate course and web content, and provide context for links. Hyperlinks should give students and other users an idea of what they will encounter when they open a new page.
  • High contrast text: Some text elements have low color contrast and may be difficult for some users to navigate and read if they have low vision or color blindness.

Resources to ensure your digital materials and spaces are accessible

  • Accessibility @ UW-Madison – A new website that centralizes the university’s disability and accessibility resources in a single location The goal of the site is to ensure faculty, staff and students have access to the tools and resources to fulfill the university’s shared responsibility for creating an inclusive, accessible environment. 
  • Create accessible online course materials – All students, with and without disabilities, benefit from accessible course content. By following a few accessibility guidelines, you can create an accessible and inclusive foundation so that students in your course are able to access course content in a timely/effective manner and experience the rich learning experience you have planned for them.
  • Universal Design Online Content Inspection Tool (UDOIT) – pronounced, “You Do It” – A Canvas integrated accessibility evaluator that scans a course, generates a report, and provides resources on how to address common accessibility issues. After the scan, an instructor can correct some barriers directly through the tool. For barriers that cannot be corrected within the tool, guidance is provided to help an instructor remove the barrier.
Screenshot of UDOIT Accessibility Checker in Canvas Menu
Screenshot of UDOIT Accessibility Checker in Canvas Menu