- Accessibility and Why it Matters
- Making Your Course Accessible
As a concept, accessibility refers to whether a service or product can be used by everyone. Accessible education is focused on designing courses and developing teaching methods that meet the needs of students from different backgrounds and abilities. Accessible education is proactive; it takes into account a variety of student characteristics and removes barriers to learning without compromising academic rigour. This section provides information on what accessibility is (and why it matters), AODA legislation and accessibility at Carleton.
Accessibility allows all people to navigate, perceive, understand and be active in both the physical and digital world. In education, accessibility involves considering different learner characteristics in a proactive and inclusive way. When courses are designed with accessibility in mind, it provides equal access and opportunities for all learners.
- What is Accessibility?
- Glossary of Accessibility Terms
- Council of Ontario Universities’ Accessibility Resources
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is a law that sets out the process for developing and enforcing accessibility standards. This section contains links to information about the act, how it applies to customer service, and website and resource compliance levels.
- AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities)
- AODA – Customer Service Guide (Read Section 2)
- Ontario Government: How to Make Educational Resources Accessible
- Web Accessibility Compliance Levels (A, AA, AAA)
Carleton strives to be an inclusive and accessible community, where everyone on campus is able to participate and thrive. This section contains links to general information about accessibility at Carleton, the Paul Menton Centre (Carleton’s centre for students with disabilities), and information about peer-to-peer support.
- Accessibility at Carleton
- Policies and Responsibilities – Paul Menton Centre (PMC)
- Mentorship Network: Peer-to-Peer Support at Carleton
Carleton’s supported Educational Technologies include many accessibility options. For more information on the accessibility of EdTech tools at Carleton, see the following support pages.
Depending on the delivery method, you can improve the accessibility of your course in several ways. The sections below address ways of making courses more accessible through thoughtful course design that incorporates principles of Universal Design for Learning, by creating accessible course documents, and by checking the web accessibility of your online or blended course components.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework for designing teaching and learning activities, courses or curricula so that they are usable by all people without the need for adaptation or specialized design. The principles of universal design encourage course design that is equitable, flexible, intuitive and that presents information in a clear and perceptible manner. Use the links below to learn more about UDL and how you can design or redesign your course by following UDL principles.
- An Overview of Universal Design for Learning
- Universal Instructional Design – Paul Menton Centre (PMC)
- UDL Guidelines: CAST
- CAST UDL on Campus
Making course documents accessible ensures that they can be used in different ways by a wide range of learners. It can also make your documents easier to navigate and edit. The links in this section can provide guidance on creating accessible documents in Microsoft Word, Google Docs and PDFs.
- Microsoft Word: Instructions for Making Accessible Word Documents
- Microsoft Word: Instructions for Using the Accessibility Checker
- Creating Accessible PowerPoint Documents (PC)
- Creating Accessible PowerPoint Documents (Mac)
- Creating Accessible Word and PDF Documents (PC)
- Creating Accessible Word and PDF Documents (Mac)
If you are designing or teaching an online course, it is important to pay attention to the accessibility of your online and web content. The resources linked below can help you improve the accessibility of your web content by following Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), using accessibility checkers and changing settings in your browser.
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