Make Your Class Accessible
Improve the accessibility of your Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files as well as PDF files and videos you create.
Heading levels represent the structure of the document. Heading 1 should be displayed as the title, Heading 2 as a major section heading, and Headings 3-6 as a sub-heading for the heading above it. Heading levels must be continuous.
Headings allow people who use a screen reader program (ex: person with visual impairment) to skip to a desired section in your document without having to read every word before that desired section.
Alt-text can be used to describe graphics or pictures to visually impaired readers, allowing them to understand the graphic and why it is there.
PDFs are not easy to make accessible. Posting Word documents of posted PDFs are recommended. Accessible PDFs are an advantage because the formatting is easily preserved and the reading order can always be adjusted to read aloud in a logical order for impaired readers.
Microsoft PowerPoint is one of the most commonly used slide presentation tools.
Themes should have strong contrast and simple backgrounds. Content needs to be in a logical order and not scattered since screen readers read top to bottom and left to right.
Outline view will show you the reading order and graphics should be given alternative text. Notes field will ensure proper reading order.
The type of font used in your document is important because different fonts can make it harder for visually impaired people to read. Tahoma, Verdana and Helvetica the best fonts for visually impaired people.
Videos must be captioned or have a transcript that can be accessed at the same time as the video.
- Camtasia is a great tool for adding captions and editing videos. We recommend this because the university uses it and offers trainings through BEST Institute.
- Dragon NaturallySpeaking is a speech-to-text program. By using Dragon, you can speak the transcript to your video more than twice as fast as typing it.
- WebAIM Captioning is a great site that covers just about everything having to do with the web. This article addresses captioning.
Hyperlinks allow the screen reader to announce links and a description rather than the full link, some of which can be long and time-consuming to read out.
Faculty and staff are encouraged to discuss accommodations with students at the beginning of each semester. You may want to include one of these statements on your syllabi:
- Shorter Version:
Any student with a documented disability should contact the Student Disability Resource Center at 777-6142 to make arrangements for appropriate accommodations.
- Longer Version:
Students with Disabilities: The University of South Carolina provides high-quality services to students with disabilities, and we encourage you to take advantage of them. Students with disabilities needing academic accommodations should: (1) Register with and provide documentation to the Student Disability Resource Center in Close-Hipp, Suite 102, and (2) Discuss with the instructor the type of academic or physical accommodations you need. Please do this as soon as possible. All course materials are available in alternative format upon request.
For more information related to test proctoring, please visit the Alternative Testing page for Instructors.