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My Moore School

Digital Accessibility

Accessibility is all about inclusiveness, a way to ensure that no one is excluded. As more services become digital, the number of people using the internet increases. One of the biggest upsides to an accessible website is that it provides a better user experience for everyone, not just for people with disabilities.

Digital accessibility is making documents, web pages, videos, presentations, photos and all digital content readable by assistive technology. Assistive technology includes screen readers that read web content out loud, captions for videos, transcripts for audio, keyboards and switches for those who cannot use a mouse or trackpad.

As an educational institution, we should be providing an equally excellent user experience for everyone. Not everyone who has a disability identifies as such and may not report their disability to the Student Disability Resource Center. Thus, all course materials and student communications must be made accessible so that all students have fair and equal access to the same material. Additionally, students learn best in different ways so providing accessible material is an inclusivity practice that helps everyone, not just those with disabilities.

While we should be doing this to ensure everyone has an equally positive experience, we are required to do so by federal law and UofSC policy [PDF].

All course materials that are posted online must comply with digital accessibility guidelines required by the ADA and outlined in WCAG Level AA. This includes content that is posted to the website  as well as content that is posted to Blackboard or distributed to students via email.

The need for digital accessibility compliance applies to any site that may be associated with the university. If you believe that is not your site, you should be aware that if a legal complaint is made to the university about the accessibility of your site, you will be responsible for fixing the issues within a specified time frame or will have to take down the inaccessible content.

The first thing you should do is make sure you have the most recent version of Microsoft Office. View instructions for updating your software.

Answers to questions raised in trainings

  • While the BB interface is accessible, you need to make sure than any documents you add or create are also accessible. 
  • When creating documents or tests in BB, please use the tools BB provides (ex: use the table tool to create tables, the formula tool to create formulas, etc.).
  • If you copy and paste a table, formula, image into a BB document, you MUST provide alt text.
  • If you are sending students out to social media for class assignments, please be aware that you may need to make accommodations for certain students. Just a mention in the assignment will suffice ("Please let me know if you need special accommodations for this assignment.')

FOR NOW, please auto caption and place videos on BB. You do not need to fix the captions unless you are inclined to do so. We are working with the university digital accessibility director to find a solution and we will communicate it to you once something is in place.

  • All new video content posted online, no matter where it lives online, is required to be captioned. This includes both public content posted on the website or a social media platform as well as content that is hidden behind a login on a platform like Blackboard. If the information is being shared with students, it is required to be captioned.
  • Livestreamed video content is not required to be captioned unless a student has requested special accommodations through the Student Disability Resource Center. The university encourages the use of video conference platforms that auto caption speech or provide a transcript after the session has ended.
    • Captioning video content not only helps students with disabilities but non-native English speakers as well. Captioning also provides support to students who may have difficulty understanding faculty accents, allowing them to read the transcription of a lecture to improve their comprehension of course content.
  • Lecture video content recorded via Blackboard Collaborate or Zoom can be saved and uploadedto Microsoft Teams, YouTube or Ensemble for automatic captioning.
    • Please note that captions will need to reviewed and edited by the faculty member or by a grad and/or teaching assistant to ensure that words are spelled correctly and timing matches what is being said. Many captioning since services often have trouble with accents and poor audio, which is why all video content captions need to reviewed prior to posting online. 
  • Recording yourself talking while showing a slide show
    • The content on the slides has to be relayed for students with vision-related disabilities. A best practice is to describe the slide in voiceover so it can be relayed in captions. This includes charts and data, which will need to be described in audio.
  • PowerPoints, Keynote, Google Slides, etc.
    • All presentations must be accessible, even those without recorded voiceovers. If you’re using software other than those listed, please contact Laney Grubbs so the software can be checked for compliance.
  • This refers to syllabi, handouts, reference materials, case studies, etc.

  • Newer versions of Word have accessibility checker. The checker will identify problems and assist you in fixing them. Microsoft Office 2019 is recommended for PCs and Microsoft Version 16.41 for Macs.

  • Use the built-in tools to build your documents. Examples include
    • Setting text styles in the Style Toolbox
    • Using the table tool instead of tabs
    • Using formula tool
    • SET LEVEL 1 HEADINGS!
  • DO NOT save Excel files as anything other than Excel formats. If you save as a PDF, it will remove many of the accessibility features.

FOR NOW, please put a disclaimer next to any assignment that sends students to outside websites or includes documents that can't be made accessible:

"If you need special accommodations to complete this assignment, please contact me at (your email and/or phone number)."

  • Word, Adobe Products, PowerPoint, etc., files need to be made accessible prior to converting to PDF.
  • Never scan and save a document as a PDF or make a static photo/image into a PDF. These type of images cannot be made accessible. Those of you having the library/a student scan pages from books/magazines/journals need to instruct them to scan as TEXT rather than PDF. This will give you a document screen readers can scan. Accessibility issues will still need to be fixed in Word.
  • If you are using downloaded articles, case studies or journal entries in class, you must still make these accessible. There are options to do that:
    • Fix the accessibility issues in Adobe Acrobat Pro, or
    • Provide an accessible alternative:

This can be a link to the original article online or you can save the page to your computer by right clicking on the page and then clicking “Save as…”.  Blackboard allows you to upload HTML files so they can then distribute the page that way (there are sometimes display issues with this method).

The other option is to copy the text from the page and paste it directly into a 
Blackboard Item. From there you can adjust it or format it.

  • Google Forms are NOT accessible. The Moore School is now using Formstack for all forms on the website or that are emailed out to students. This includes course evaluations!

Finding the Accessibility Checker in Microsoft Products

In Word, PowerPoint and Excel, the Accessibility Checker can be accessed as follows:

  1. Open the File tab.
  2. Click Info in the left menu.
  3. Click the button Check for Issues (next to Inspect Document) and select Check Accessibility in the drop down menu.
  4. A report will open show any errors found. The report is customized for each application.

In Word, PowerPoint and Excel, the Accessibility Checker can be accessed as follows:

  1. Open the Tools menu, then select Check Accessibility.
  2. A report will open show any errors found. The report is customized for each application.

Note: The Accessibility Checker was not available in earlier versions of Microsoft Office for the Mac.

In the online version of Word, PowerPoint and Excel, the Accessibility Checker can be accessed as follows:

  1. Click on the Review tab.
  2. Click Check Accessibility.
  3. A report will open show any errors found. The report is customized for each application.


Training Videos and Documents

The Moore School's Marketing and Communication department will be offering trainings for anyone interested in learning how to make course materials accessible. We encourage faculty to send TAs and student interns to these trainings so they can help with the task of making teaching materials accessible.

If you have a Richland County Library card, you can access FREE Lynda.com accessibility tutorials.  Need a library card? Apply online. 

 

Upcoming Moore School Trainings

These are Zoom meetings and do not require registration. Open to faculty, staff, TAs and student interns. Trainings usually last one to one and a half hours.

Microsoft Office Document Training: Word, PPT and Excel

Formstack

  • If you have a Formstack account and would like training, please contact Laney Grubbs to set it up.
  • Google Docs is not accessible and can no longer be used for forms, applications, evaluations or surveys. If you do not have a Formstack account and would like us to convert a document for you, please contact us.

If you don't see a date/time that works for you, please contact us and we'll set up something to accommodate you. 

Want to get started on making your instructional materials accessible but can't attend a training? Visit the UofSC Accessibility website. 


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