- Identify key strategies for creating an accessible learning experience.
- Connect key accessibility strategies with sound pedagogical principles.
- Use the tools available in Carmen to make content accessible.
Carmen's (Canvas) framework has been built to be accessible to all users; however, the content placed into Carmen is the instructor's responsibility. When content is not accessible, students will find themselves limited in what they can participate in and learn from in the classroom. To make sure that your classroom content is accessible, here are some tips.
Tip 1: Give flexible time limits on quizzes and tests. While some students may be excellent test-takers, others may struggle and even find themselves anxious about the quiz or test. Students with cognitive disabilities may find the additional time pressure overwhelming. In any case, allowing for some flexibility in how much time students have to complete the exam will likely result in a more balanced experience for all students. Easily change these settings to extend time for individual students or a whole class in CarmenCanvas.
Tip 2: Stick to basic quiz question types. Throwing in a question type that students are unfamiliar with may cause more confusion than good. Stick to fill in the blank, essay, and multiple or single choice questions.
Tip 3: Implement Universal Design for Learning strategies. This will help you to make classroom activities, assessments, and learning materials allow for multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement. In doing so, you are designing your course to be universally usable for all. To learn more about how to maximize learning experiences in your course visit these UDL resources on the Distance Education blog site.
Tip 4:Use the Carmen page editor. Use this to put content directly into Carmen pages, rather than linking to Word documents or PDFs whenever possible. Word documents and PDFs must be made accessible while content put into the Carmen editor requires less on your end to ensure accessibility.
Tip 5: Create accessible HTML content in Carmen. Here are some ways to make that happen:
- It is best to base new content on an already accessible template. ODEE has several accessible templates available on the Canvas Commons.
- Use the built-in heading styles to structure your content pages.
- Make sure the images you upload have accurate alternative descriptions. Carmen will prompt you for one each time you insert an image. For decorative images you can mark the box for "decorative" and a null attribute will be added automatically, prompting a screen reader to skip that content.
- If possible, keep data tables simple and follow the guidelines in the template. Data tables need to have row and/or column headers to be accessible, and ascopea should be set on headers.
Tip 6: Add or link to videos with synchronized captions. Videos you link to or embed (through YouTube, for example) should have synchronized captions so that students with disabilities or students with English as a second language may benefit from the media.
Tip 7: Use the Carmen built-in equation editor for math equations. This allows you to create complex equations manually or by transforming them from LaTeX or MathML.
For more information about how to make your content accessible in Carmen visit Five Basic Ways to Improve Accessibility in your CarmenCanvas Course.