Online Teaching & Technology Blog

Center for Online Learning, Research and Service @ Illinois Springfield

Category: Accessibility

Office of Civil Rights investigations, now searchable

The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights investigates cases of discrimination, disability discrimination is a part of their caseload.  They have a policy of investigating and attempting to close cases within 180 days.  Until recently, the only way to know who was under investigation was to receive notice of investigation, or by word of mouth.  Annual numbers of total cases have been available in the OCR’s annual budget, 2017 budget ( about 4,485).    However, as of the beginning of February 2018 the OCR has made available their pending cases on a searchable website.

Audio descriptions on a Frozen winter’s day

When using videos for educational purposes, they need to have audio descriptions.  What are audio descriptions?  They are a spoken, verbal explanation of what is occurring in the video.  The audio descriptions are captioned, as well.

For an example, take 3 minutes to watch these two, almost identical 1.5 minute videos.  Close your eyes and listen to the first video.  Do the same thing and listen to the second video.  The first video probably made much less sense than the second, and hopefully illustrates the use and value of audio descriptions.

Captioning

When using videos in class or online they need to have captions which are 99% accurate.  If you have created your own video and are using Kaltura within Blackboard, these directions from the ITS website can help you.  If you created your own video and are using YouTube, these directions from the COLRS website can help you.  If you are using a video on YouTube which you didn’t create and is not captioned, you can use a secondary website like Amara.  Amara allows the video to remain located at YouTube, but allows you to route the video through their site and add the captions at Amara, so there is no copyright issue.  You can even search Amara to see if your video has already been captioned there.

PowerPoint and the accessibility checker

Just like with Word, PowerPoint has a built in accessibility checker.  This link to Accessibility at the Microsoft website can show you how to run it for Macs or PCs.  It also lists some of the most common issues and fixes for PowerPoint.  Typically, those are alternative text and reading order.

Alternative text is what is read by a screen reader to describe an image in a presentation.  If there is no alternative text a screen reader will read there is an image and the size of it.

Reading order is the order in which a screen reader reads the information on a page.  And while it may seem intuitive to read from top to bottom and left to right, PowerPoint reads in the order which the information was added to the page originally.

A strong rule

In Word 2016, for Mac or PC, when using bold or italics for emphasis in a document, consider using the style “strong”.  It is in the styles group along with normal, heading 1, heading 2….  A screen reader does not add emphasis to bold or italics, but will if you use strong.  In appearance, strong is set to a default bold.  However, you can modify the styles to whatever you would like.  To learn how to modify your styles go to this page, scroll down to “to modify a link” and use the instructions to set the styles to your preferences.

As a general rule, if you add color, bold, italics, or underline for emphasis in a document, consider selecting just one method of conveying emphasis.  Around 5% of the population is color blind, and around 2.3% of the population has a visual disability.  The color can be problematic for a color blind individual, and none of those methods of emphasis are conveyed through a screen reader.

Using tools and checkers in Adobe Acrobat Pro to make PDFs accessible

PDFs can be tricky to make accessible.  Regardless of whether you are using a Mac or PC, check out the instructions on the Adobe site for making a PDF accessible by running the action wizard and full check.  An all text Pdf should be relatively easy following the instructions in the first two sections at the Adobe site.  If after running the accessibility full check as outlined in the second section there are no issues identified, then the document is accessible.
(It is possible on an all-text document that Logical Reading Order and Color Contrast will have a white question mark in a blue circle.  It is ok to “pass” the Logical Reading Order.  And if it is a white document with black text it is ok to “pass” Color Contrast.)

If there are images, charts, tables, or maps these steps become more problematic, but the instructions in the remaining sections at the Adobe site should help with issues like alternative text and tagging issues.

Quick tool for checking accessibility of PDFs with a PC

Determining whether a Pdf is accessible or not can be confusing.  You can run the built in accessibility checker in Adobe Acrobat Pro to see all the errors, but that doesn’t give a straightforward answer.  However, a European non-profit has a free piece of software , for Windows machines, which can help.  If you goto the Access for all website and fill out your name and email address you can download the software.   With a simple drag and drop the software can give you a green, yellow, or red to let you know very quickly if the document is accessible, needs some work, or needs lots of work to make it accessible.

Alt text for images in test questions

We had a faculty member ask about using alt text to describe some images in an online test.  There was an underlying concern that the alt text they provided, in conjunction with the picture might unfairly assist students who did not need the alternative text.  In our setting there are two ways we felt a student could view alt text.  With slow internet speeds in some areas a slow loading page might load the alt text before the image, or a student could inspect the page to view the alt text.  We came up with two possible solutions to this issue.

  • Add alt-text to each image which might have a specific nomenclature such as q1image1, q1image2, q1image3…. Then create a word file which links the q1image1 to the alternative text.  This file could be added to the online class and hidden.  A statement in the syllabus could reflect that students who need alternative text can contact the instructor and the instructor can share that file with the students prior to the test.
  • Create a second copy of the test with alt text added to the pictures, and hide the test.  Provide a similar statement to the syllabus and make that test available for students who need the test.  Currently our institution uses Blackboard and this option would create some gradebook issues when used.

Use headings in Word, and modify them to fit your style

When creating Word documents use the built in styles such as heading 1, heading 2, heading 3…to layout your document.  This makes a document more navigable for people using a screen reader.  And while Microsoft has odd font and color choices for their default heading styles, you can modify the styles to whatever you would like.  To learn how to modify your styles goto this page ,scroll down to “to modify a link” and use the instructions to set the styles to whatever you would prefer.

Download Adobe Acrobat Pro to edit Pdfs

In preparation for the spring semester, make sure you’re able to edit your PDFs with Adobe Acrobat Pro.  You can download it for your personal use at the webstore.  By having Acrobat Pro, you can edit PDFs, run the built in accessibility checker, and make your PDFs more accessible.

Update your version of Word

In preparation for the spring semester, make sure that your version of Word is up to date, Word 2016.  You can download it for your personal use at the webstore.  By having the most recent version of Word you can update all old Word files to the most recent version, and use the built in accessibility checker to make your Word documents more accessible.

Do Captions Help Students Learn?

The WCET Frontiers Blog featured Dr. Katie Linder, Oregon State University Ecampus, who discussed a national research project on student use of closed captions and transcriptions. The Oregon State University Ecampus Research unit and 3Play Media worked together to conduct a national study on student uses and perceptions of closed captions and transcriptions.

The important results show that while these resources are not yet widely available, many students, even those who may not need these resources as an accommodation, are able to use transcriptions and captions to increase their success.

Online Teaching Considerations

If you are getting ready to teach online for the first time, there are several critical items to consider:

  • What are my learning outcomes or intended course objectives?
    While there are several theories or models of online instruction that may be helpful as you begin to conceptualize and design your online course, many instructors find it helpful to begin with backward design, in which you first consider the learning goals of your course (i.e. what you want your students to have learned when they finish your course). Only after you have determined what your goals are, should you begin to think about assignments and activities that help students achieve those goals. Objectives and outcomes should be measurable and aligned to professional standards in your field.
  • Who are my students?
    Universities serve an increasingly diverse array of students from the traditional college aged, to adult learners who come back to school to advance in their professions by acquiring new skills and knowledge. As you consider your audience, think about how you might develop assignments and activities that encourage self-determined learning (i.e. a heutagogical approach).
  • How can I make sure my course materials are accessible to all students?
    Employing principles of universal accessibility and design means that your course content will be accessible to all student who might enroll in your course, including students with visual, auditory, or other impairments. Additionally, it means that you have taken the extra step to ensure that your content reaches students with a variety of different learning styles; this means using varying formats and methods to impart knowledge.

While this may seem like a challenge, COLRS staff is ready to assist. Please contact your individual liaison for individual consultation, or contact our main office for any further assistance you may need:

Office hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Phone: 217-206-7317
Email: colrs@uis.edu

Liaison to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Carrie Levin, 217-206-8499, levin.carrie@uis.edu

Liaison to the College of Education and Human Services and the College of Public Affairs and Administration: Emily Boles, 217-206-8311, boles.emily@uis.edu

Liaison to the College of Business and Management: Michele Gribbins, 217-206-8251, mgribbin@uis.edu

Explore Further

Box Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard Shortcuts Overview

  • Box Keyboard shortcuts are case-insensitive.
  • Modifiers such as shift are explicitly indicated for applicable shortcuts.
  • When a shortcut contains more than one key, we indicate the sequence as follows:
    • key then key — Issue the keys in sequence.
    • key and key — Hold down the first key when you enter the second key.

Box Web Application Shortcuts

Box provides keyboard alternatives to quickly navigate our web application. For actions related to an item, select the item before pressing the shortcut.

Keyboard    Shortcut

Description

Explicitly check the small white box on the right side of each item to use these shortcuts. Use x to select an item.
c Activate the Copy File pop-up for the selected file.
d Download the selected item.
m Activate the Move File pop-up for the selected file.
s Send a shared link for the item.
t Activate the Edit Tags pop-up for the selected file.
Use these shortcuts without selecting any item.
b Activate the New Bookmark pop-up.
j Move selection up.
k Move selection down.
n Activate the Create New Folder pop-up.
o Open the folder or file to preview.
x Select an item.
shift and ? View the shortcut menu.
shift and v Toggle the display to thumbnail view of list view.
* then a Select all items in the current folder.
* then n Do not select any item in the current folder.
g then a Go to the Box Application Services page.
then c Go to your Box Collaborators page.
then f Go to your Box All Files page.
g then p Go to your Box Profile page.
g then s Go to your Box Account Settings page.
then u Go to your Box Updates page.
] Go to the next page (obvious only when you have a folder with more than one page of items)
[ Go to the previous page (obvious only when you have a folder with more than one page of items)
/ Use the search field (cursor is placed in the Search field when you type this shortcut.

Box Preview Shortcuts

The following shortcuts are supported when previewing files:

Keyboard      Shortcut
Description
d Download the file being previewed.
u Upload new file version.
e Edit the file being previewed using Box Edit.
j Preview the previous file.
k Preview the next file.
s Get a shared link for the file being previewed.
p Print the file being previewed if it is a .pdf, .doc, .xls, .ppt, .docx, .xlsx, or .pptx document.
space Toggle play/pause for media files.
shift and + Zoom into the file being previewed.
shift and Zoom out of the file being previewed.
shift and enter Preview in full screen mode.
shift and ? View the shortcut menu.
] Next page.
[ Previous page.

Box Notes Shortcuts

To open a list of available keyboard shortcuts in Box Notes: 

On a Mac, press Command and ?
On a PC, press Control and ?

Accessibility when using Box

At present, the most accessible way to use Box is via the a.box.com website. This site contains many key Box features, and works well on mobile devices. It also contains a link to the standard Box site.

What are the available features for a.box.com?

a.Box.com supports the primary features of Box, and provides access to all features available in the m.Box.com website. Some of the primary features include preview and download access to files and folders, sharing and configuring links to files and folders, adding and managing collaborators, viewing and making comments, and managing files and folders.

a.Box addresses accessibility as a core requirement for each feature.

What are the supported browsers for Box applications? How does a.Box deal with browsers without JavaScript or CSS?  

Box recommends using the most current version of web browsers (see the list of officially supported browsers at Box). The a.Box.com site degrades depending on your browser’s support for JavaScript and CSS, but continues to display the basic information required to view files and folders.

Does a.Box support screen readers?

a.Box is intended to work with the leading screen reading technology providers, including VoiceOver. Screen readers attempt to identify and interpret what is being displayed on the screen and convey that information via text-to-speech to users who are visually impaired.

Does a.box.com provide keyboard access?

a.Box.com provides keyboard accessibility, which enables you to use your keyboard exclusively (with no mouse) for improved interactions with the Box UI.

a.Box.com helps enable keyboard accessibility through the following additional features:

  • Removal of all menu items that are enabled via mouse ‘hovering’.
  • Re-ordering of all menu structures to maintain a logical reading order.
  • Enabling of visible focus, which helps people with visual or other print-related disabilities have a clear indicator of where they are on a page.
  • Providing a short-cut that enables a user to immediately ‘skip to content’ they are trying to view, letting them bypass repeated menu elements.

Does a.Box provide low vision color contrast?

a.Box.com is designed with low vision and color-blind user needs in mind. a.Box.com allows for text resizing, with up to 200% magnification. The site has also been tested for color contrast, with contrast ratios set at a minimum of 4.5:1.

How can I get more information about accessibility at Box?

Contact Box User Services to receive additional information or to provide feedback.

Content provided by Box.

Excel Accessibility Cheat Sheet

MS Excel: Accessibility Best Practices

Tables: Use Tables Titles and Avoid Blank Rows and Columns

  1. One very common mistake is leaving column A blank (because it makes it look like a margin).
  2. Place table titles in the first column (A) so screen readers can find them easily.
  3. If the table does not display the full text, merge cells and center them by selecting the Home tab, then clicking on Merge & Center. Be sure to keep the original text in the first column.
  4. It’s OK to have merged cells in titles, but do not merge cells in the data part of the table.
  5. Resize your rows and columns to provide spacing that makes the table readable (rather than using

blanks to create your spacing).

  1. If you have two or more tables on the same worksheet, leave a single blank row between each

table. You can resize the blank row to create a space that is visually appealing.

  1. Add an “End of Table” message in the row after the last row of a data table row. The text can be in white against a white background.

Table Cell Range and Header Cells: Define the Regions

  1. You can use the Names feature to name a range of cells so that screen readers voice the names of header cells along with the value of each cell.
  2. Select the top-left cell in your table. Don’t count the titles, but do count all row and column headers as part of your table.
  3. Go to the Formulas tab in the Ribbon, and choose Name Manager in the Defined Names Choose New in the top left corner.
  4. A new dialog box opens. In the Name field, type TitleRegion then put a 1 if this is the first table on your worksheet, then a period, then the range of cells in your table from top left to bottom right (with a period in between), then another period, then the worksheet number. For example, your Title code might look like this:

TitleRegion1.a2.g7.2

  1. Click OK and Close.

Images: Use Alt Text for Informative Images

  1. Insert the image, then right-click and choose Size and Properties.
  2. In the Size and Properties dialog box, choose the Alt Text Type in a brief description with

enough detail to explain the picture, then Close the dialog box.

Charts: Use Alt Text Descriptions

1.       Right-click on the chart, select Format Chart, then Alt Text.

  1. Complete the Description field (not the Title field).

Resources

http://go.illinois.edu/excel_resources

See also: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Section 508 Accessibility checklist

HTML Accessibility Cheat Sheet

HTML: Accessibility Best Practices

Headings: Use Properly Formatted Headings to Structure Page Content

Rationale: Headings help to organize content, making it easier for everyone to read. Headings are also a primary way for people using screen reading software to navigate a page of text.

Lists: Use Ordered/Unordered Lists to Group Related Items

Rationale: Logical organization of content is conveyed to all users, along with other useful information for assistive technology users about the number of items listed. Mobile users also benefit as information is presented as it is meant to be presented.

Tables: Use Tables for Tabular Data and Provide Column and/or Row Headers

Rationale: Screen readers linearize content and read tables from left to right, top to bottom, one cell at a time. If cells are split or merged, it can throw the reading order off and make the table difficult to comprehend by users who are blind and using a screen reader to navigate.

Images: Use Alt Text for Informative Images

Rationale: Alt text is read by a screen reader. It should adequately describe what is displayed and its purpose. This allows screen reader users to benefit from information conveyed by the image, even if they cannot see it.

Links: Use Meaningful Text for Links

Rationale: Headings help to organize content, making it easier for everyone to read. Headings are also a primary way for people using screen reading software to navigate a page of text.

Keyboard: Check Keyboard Access

Rationale: Users with visual and mobility impairments rely on the keyboard, rather than a mouse, to access and navigate online content. If content is not keyboard accessible, it restricts who can learn from that content.

Color: Use Sufficient Color Contrast

Rationale: Without sufficient color contrast between font and background, people who are color blind and low vision may not perceive the content. Additionally, using color alone to convey meaning (e.g., items in red indicate a deficit) excludes color blind or blind users. To check color contrast, use the Paciello Group’s Color Contrast Analyzer:  https://www.paciellogroup.com/resources/contrastanalyser/

Video/Audio: Provide Captioning for Video and Text Transcripts for Audio

Rationale: Captions are essential for those who are deaf and hard of hearing, but they also benefit non-native speakers, those unfamiliar with the vocabulary, and viewers with some learning disabilities or in a noisy environment. Audio transcripts are essential for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, but also assist others who can easily read or search the transcripts.

Math: Write Math and Science Equations Accessibly

Rationale: For web pages, use an equation editor that outputs MathML, a markup language that allows equations to be stored as structured text that is compatible with many assistive technologies. With screen readers, for example, blind users can navigate and review parts of an equation, such as the top portion of a complex fraction. For more information on MathML, see the W3C Math guide: https://www.w3.org/Math/.

Resources

http://webaim.org/intro/#principles

See also: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Section 508 Accessibility checklist

PowerPoint Accessibility Cheat Sheet

MS PowerPoint: Accessibility Best Practices

Use Default Slide Layouts

  1. From the Home tab, choose the New Slide dropdown menu.
  2. Select a slide template (do not use Blank slide template).
  3. Avoid using Text Boxes to create or arrange slide content (screen readers will always read Text Boxes last).

Keep Slide Content Clear, Concise, and Readable

  • Use concise, non-figurative, and accurate language.
  • Slides should appear clean and uncluttered with adequate foreground-background color contrast.
  • Use standard fonts. For readability, sans-serif fonts, such as Arial, Verdana, and Helvetica are preferable.

Use Unique Slide Titles

  1. Create slide titles with the Title placeholder visible in default slide layouts. Do not use text boxes for titles.
  2. Use a unique slide title for each slide. If you have multiple slides that continue a topic, you can label them in the following way: “[TITLE OF SLIDE], 1 of 4,” “[TITLE OF SLIDE], 2 of 4,” etc.
  3. Check titles and document structure: from the View tab, select Presentation Views and click Outline View.

Insert Charts and Graphs with Data Tables

  1. Go Insert and select Chart. The PowerPoint datasheet view appears for you to enter your table data.
  2. Add values to the PowerPoint datasheet by selecting a cell and typing in the value. Remember to add labels for the rows and columns. Close the datasheet window by selecting ESC from your keyboard.
  3. Display the corresponding data table. For Office 2010, select the chart, select Layout from the chart tools menu, and choose Show data table from the Data Table For Office 2016, use the Add Chart Element from the Design tab to choose a layout that displays the data table with the chart (e.g., Data Table > With Legend Keys).

Keep Lists Readable

  • Avoid presenting more than six points per slide at default font size.
  • Use one line of text, ideally, and no more than two per point.

Use Alt Text for Informative Images

  1. Right click on the image, and select Format Picture, then Alt Text.
  2. Fill in the Description field (not the Title field).

Use Meaningful Text for Links

  1. Type out text that describes the link’s destination (e.g., “CITL Summer Intensive”). Avoid text like “Click here.”
  2. Select the text, right click on it, and choose Hyperlink from the menu.
  3. In the Insert Hyperlink window, enter a URL address in the Address field.
  4. Click the OK button to save the link.

Document Properties: Identify the Title and Author

  1. In Windows, click File, then expand the pull down menu for Properties to select the Summary On a Mac, click File, then select Properties, and then select the Summary tab.
  2. From the Summary tab of the Properties dialog, add or change the Title and the Author.

Resources

http://go.illinois.edu/ppt_resources

See also: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Section 508 Accessibility checklist

MS Word Accessibility Cheat Sheet

MS Word: Accessibility Best Practices

Headings: Use Styles to Provide Logical Heading Structure

  1. Select the text that you want to make into a heading.
  2. From the Home tab, choose the appropriate heading level from the Styles

Lists: Use Ordered/Unordered Lists to Group Related Items

  1. Select the text you want to make into a list.
  2. From the Home tab, in the Paragraph group, select the Bullets or Numbering

Tables: Use Tables for Tabular Data and Provide Column Headers

  1. Place the cursor in the top row of your data table and click on the Design tab under Table Tools.
  2. In the Table Style Options group, select the Header Row check box.
  3. Under Table Tools, click the Layout
  4. In the Data group (Word 2016 – Table Design > Layout tab), click the Repeat Header Row

Images: Use Alt Text for Informative Images

  1. Right click on the image, and select Format Picture, then Alt Text.
  2. Fill in the Description field (not the Title field).

Links: Use Meaningful Text for Links

  1. Type out text that clearly describes the link’s destination (e.g., “CITL Best Practices for Creating Accessible Word Documents”). Avoid text like “Click here” or “Visit.”
  2. Select the text, right click on it, and choose Hyperlink from the menu.
  3. In the Insert Hyperlink window, enter a URL address in the Address field.
  4. Click the OK button to save the link.

Document Properties: Identify the Title and Author

  1. In Windows, click File, then expand the pull down menu for Properties to select the Summary On a Mac, click File, then select Properties, and then select the Summary tab.
  2. From the Summary tab of the Properties dialog, add or change the Title and the Author.

Color: Use Sufficient Color Contrast

  1. Download the Paciello Group’s Color Contrast Analyzer from the following URL: https://www.paciellogroup.com/resources/contrastanalyser/
  2. Open the Color Contrast Analyzer application.
  3. Click the Foreground eye dropper tool. Hover over and click your foreground color to select it.
  4. Click the Background eye dropper tool. Hover over and click your background color.
  5. If you are testing a 12-pixel or smaller font, you must get a Pass (AA). If your font is larger than 12 pixels, you must get a Pass (AA) in the Large Text field.
  6. AA standards pass is sufficient.
  7. Do not use color alone to convey information (e.g., items in red indicate a deficit).

Resources

http://go.illinois.edu/word_resources

See also: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Section 508 Accessibility checklist

PDF Accessibility Cheat Sheat

PDF: Accessibility Best Practices

Method 1: Convert MS Word to PDF

  1. Start with a well-structured Word document.
  2. In Word, click the File tab and select Save as. In the Save as type field, select PDF (*.pdf.).
  3. Enter a file name in the File name field.
  4. Click on the Options button and make sure the Document structure tags for accessibility is checked.
  5. Click OK and Save.

This will tag the document so that headings and lists are correctly interpreted by screen readers. Additional remediation using Adobe Acrobat Pro/DC may be needed to adjust reading order.

Method 2: Run Optical Character Recognition (OCR) on Scanned Document

Using Acrobat XI for OCR

  1. Open the scanned PDF file in Adobe Acrobat XI.
  2. Open the Tools panel (click Tools in top right) and click Text Recognition.
  3. Click In This File and the Recognize Text window will open.
  4. Click the Edit button to adjust OCR settings. Select English (US) for Primary OCR Language, Searchable Image for PDF Output Style and 600 dpi for Downsample To.
  5. Click OK when done.

Using Acrobat DC for OCR

  1. Open the scanned PDF file in Adobe Acrobat DC.
  2. In the Tools panel, click the Action Wizard and select Optimize Scanned Document.
  3. Use the Enhance tools to Add Document Description.
  4. Use the Enhance tools to Optimize Scanned Pages.
  5. Use the Enhance tools to Save As.

Method 3: Run Adobe Acrobat Built-in Accessibility Checker

Using the Acrobat XI Accessibility Checker

  1. Click the Tools tab to open the Accessibility panel on the right hand side. If you don’t see it, click the View menu and select Tools > Accessibility.
  2. Under Accessibility, select the Full Check The Accessibility Checker window will open.
  3. Under the Report Options, check the Create Accessibility Report
  4. Click the Start Checking
  5. The Accessibility Checker Report will display on the left pane.

Using the Acrobat DC Accessibility Checker

  1. In the Tools panel, click Accessibility to bring up the Accessibility tools.
  2. From the Accessibility tools, select the Full Check The Accessibility Checker window will open.
  3. Under the Report Options, check the Create Accessibility Report
  4. Click the Start Checking
  5. The Accessibility Checker Report will display on the left pane.

Resources

http://go.illinois.edu/pdf_resources

See also: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Section 508 Accessibility checklist

How to convert scanned PDFs and photos to text

Sometimes it can be difficult to avoid sharing a scanned PDF or photo with your students. For instance, you might want them to read an out-of-print manuscript that’s not available in any other format. The unfortunate down side, however, is that these types of files are not accessible to students who rely on screen readers or other technology to assist them when completing assigned readings.

Luckily, as UIS faculty, you have access to free tools that allow you to quickly and accurately convert PDFs and photo files to text, which is essential in making your course content accessible to all students. This can be accomplished through optical character recognition in Google Drive. (All UIS staff, faculty, and students have access to Google products with their existing UIS NetID and password through our educational license with Google; for more information, visit go.uis.edu/google.)

To get started, follow these steps:

  1. Go to drive.google.com.
  2. Sign in with your UIS NetID and password.
  3. Upload your PDF or image file. (instructions)
  4. Hover over the file in Google Drive, right-click, and select Open with > Google Docs.

The image file will then be converted to a Google Doc, and any text that was recognized in the image will appear below the original image within the Google Doc. (For multi-page PDFs, each page will appear as a separate image, with the text underneath.)

Once doing this, it is important to scan the new text for accuracy, and correct any errors that you find. Most of the time, formatting (bold, italics, etc.) will be retained.

Please also keep this in mind:

  • Only these file types are currently supported: JPEG, PNG, GIF, and PDF
  • Text should be right-side up. If your image or PDF is facing the wrong way, you must rotate it before uploading it to Google Drive.
  • The maximum file size supported by Google at this time for optical character recognition is 2MB. This means that larger, multi-page PDFs may need to be separated into several different files before starting.
  • Tables, columns, footnotes, etc. are not likely to be detected.
  • For the best accuracy:
    • Text should be at least 10 pixels in height.
    • Common fonts like Arial or Times New Roman work best.
    • Try to avoid uneven lighting or blurry photos.

Adding captions to videos hosted on YouTube

In a previous post, we explained two options supported by the university for hosting video content in your online courses: Kaltura and YouTube. Today, we will explain how to make sure your YouTube videos are fully accessible using YouTube’s built-in closed captioning feature.

To get started, you’ll need to upload a video using a computer, Android device, iPhone, or iPad. Next, select the option below that fits your situation:

Option 1: I already have a transcript.

By far the quickest and easiest way to make sure your videos are accessible is to prepare a script in advance before you record. In addition to assuring that you will not forget to cover any critical material, a script will also ensure that you stay on track and avoid tangents while recording. Once you’ve prepared your script and uploaded your video, follow these steps:

  1. Save your script as a plain text file (.txt). If you are using Microsoft Word, a settings pop-up will appear with file conversion options; be sure to select the option to “Allow character substitution.” You may leave all other settings at their default value. (If you do not select character substitution, YouTube may read common punctuation incorrectly, such as apostrophes or quotation marks.)Plain Text file
  2. When you are signed in to your YouTube account, navigate to your video and click the CC button directly underneath the video player.YouTube video options
  3. Click the blue button, Add new subtitles or CC, and select your language (usually English).
  4. Select the option to Upload a file.
  5. For file type, select transcript.
  6. Click Choose File, and find the plain text file that you created in step 1. Click Upload.
  7. Your transcript should then appear in the text box. You may watch your video once more and double-check your transcript for accuracy, or if you are confident with what you have uploaded, simply click the blue Set timings button.
  8. That’s it! YouTube will automatically scan your video and text, and create accurate, correctly-timed closed captions.

Option 2: I need to create a transcript for an existing recording.

Depending on the length and complexity of your video and the content, creating transcripts can be a time-consuming process. YouTube does have several powerful features to make it a bit easier, though:

  • YouTube auto-captions
    YouTube’s auto-captioning feature is surely not perfect, but it is getting more accurate as time goes on and Google is able to harvest more and more voice data. Auto-captions are created automatically after you upload a video, usually within several hours after uploading. (Sometimes, it may take up to one day before auto-captions will appear. Unfortunately, there is no way to speed this process up; all you can do is keep checking after you’ve uploaded a video to see if they are ready.)To check if auto-captions are ready for your video, go to your video’s closed-captioning settings using the directions in step 2 above. Once they have been created, they will appear like this:YouTube auto captionsClick on the captions, usually titled “English (Automatic)“, and then click the blue Edit button.Editing YouTube auto captionsYou can then play the video and jump from caption to caption to edit for accuracy. Once you are finished, simply click the blue Publish edits button.
  • Create a transcript from scratch
    This option is the most time and labor intensive option, but usually produces the best results (if you didn’t use a script).To use YouTube’s built-in transcription feature, simply follow steps 2 and 3 above (go to your video’s closed caption settings, and select the option to “Add new subtitles or CC.”) However, instead of uploading a file, you’ll select the option to Transcribe and auto-sync.On the following page, you may play your video and begin typing what is spoken into the text box. YouTube will pause the video while you are typing automatically, making it easier to type what you hear, as you hear it, without falling too far behind. When you have finished typing what is spoken in your video, click the blue Set timings button. After several minutes, YouTube will have automatically timed the text to the video, creating accurately timed closed captions.Transcribe and auto sync

This is overwhelming. HELP!

We get it – you are busy, and it takes time to make sure your content is accessible. The technology behind accessibility can also feel overwhelming at times. We’re here to help you, though!

Any of the professionals at COLRS are available for one-on-one tutorials or departmental workshops in which we can teach you, face to face, how to use this technology and ensure your content is accessible to all students. To set something up, or if you just need some help along the way as you try this yourself, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Creating accessible videos for online courses

UIS offers instructors two options for posting accessible videos with captioning in online courses: Kaltura and YouTube. In this post, we’ll explain the differences between both options, and when it’s better to use one over the other.

Kaltura

Kaltura is a premium video service supported by ITS that provides instructors with several advantages:

Kaltura also has several disadvantages:

  • Increasing storage costs for the university as video uploads increase

YouTube

All faculty, staff, and students at UIS have access to individual YouTube accounts through our Google Apps for Education license. This means that practically anyone affiliated with the university has access to most Google products, including YouTube, with their existing UIS NetID and password.

Many instructors are moving from Kaltura to YouTube to host accessible videos with captioning. Some advantages of YouTube include:

  • Unlimited individual video storage and video retention
  • Better mobile support
  • An increasingly-accurate auto-captioning service that automatically creates captions for any video that you upload, in dozens of different languages
  • A user-friendly integrated transcription feature
  • The ability to upload closed-captions (.srt files) and pre-existing plain-text transcripts
  • An auto-timing feature that easily converts transcriptions to closed-captions

Disadvantages of YouTube include:

  • Privacy concerns: While individuals have full control over whether their videos may appear in public searches, anyone with a link to a video that is not “private” will be able to watch it or embed it on other websites
  • Advertising: Because YouTube is an ad-supported service, students may be subjected to ads that you do not control, unless they pay for a premium YouTube subscription
  • More limited analytics that are restricted to video views

Accessibility for Videos

 

Regardless of the video platform you choose to use, you should ensure that your content is accessible, and that you have proper copyright permissions if you use anything that you did not produce yourself. Learn how to use YouTube to make closed-captions. Please feel free to contact COLRS anytime to further discuss Kaltura, YouTube, captioning, and accessibility.

Using JAWS Screen Reader with Blackboard

Blackboard has developed the following resources to aid users of JAWS screen readers in using Blackboard:

Navigate Blackboard Learn with JAWS

Best Practice: Using Tests with JAWS

Best Practice: Grading with JAWS

If you are a JAWS user and need additional assistance, please contact the UIS Office of Disability Services.

10 Tips for Creating Accessible Online Course Content

In our media-centric society, the desire and need for online learning is at an all-time high. However, as more academic content goes online, the industry is running into a stumbling block as they struggle to make their online courses accessible. With recent lawsuits in higher education and updates to Section 508 on the horizon, it is more important than ever that online learning content be made accessible to students with disabilities.

In this webinar, Janet Sylvia, Web Accessibility Group Leader and Web Accessibility Trainer, will provide you with 10 tips for making your online course material accessible.

Janet will cover:

  • The challenges of making online course content accessible
  • The legal landscape for online learning and accessibility
  • Challenges and solutions for instructors and administrators
  • Developing an accessibility statement and accessibility policies
  • 10 tips for creating accessible course content

Presenters

Janet Sylvia
Web Accessibility Trainer

Sponsored by: 3 Play Media

Download 10 Tips Handout (PDF)

Doing the Right Thing: A Focus on Accessibility in Online Programs

In today’s world of online learning, high quality course development and delivery are key components for successful online programs. Institutions follow a myriad of instructional design strategies, faculty development techniques, and student engagement activities. But in the midst of these important elements, there is one thing that is sometimes overlooked – or completely left out: Accessibility. Title 5 (which defines distance education) of the ADA makes it clear that online classes must fulfill the requirements of the Americans with Disability Act and section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

As leaders in online education, accessible design is an important component of your online program strategy and execution. Join this webinar as we discuss techniques to drive consistent compliance with Title 5 as you build out new and update existing online programs.

Presenters:

  • Darcy Hardy, Associate Vice President, Enterprise Consulting, Blackboard
  • Scott Ready, Director for Customer Relations, Enterprise Consulting, Blackboard

Online Video and the ADA: How a Landmark Case Changed the Legal Landscape of Closed Captioning

 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990, before the Internet was an integral part of society. While it originally dictated accessibility requirements for physical structures and businesses, several recent legal cases have expanded the reach of the ADA to include places of online accommodation. MIT, Harvard, and Netflix (among others) have all been sued for not providing closed captioning for their online video content.

This webinar will be presented by Arlene B. Mayerson, the Directing Attorney of the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF). Ms. Mayerson led the legal team that secured a historic settlement regarding application of the ADA to online commerce in National Association of the Deaf (NAD), et al. v. Netflix, which ensures 100% closed captions in Netflix’s On-Demand Streaming Content. In this webinar, she will discuss how she and the NAD brought Netflix under the ADA, as well as how the ruling has impacted the legal landscape of web accessibility and closed captioning.

This webinar will cover:

  • What constitutes a place of public accommodation under the ADA
  • How Netflix was originally brought under the ADA
  • How the scope of the ADA has changed since the Netflix ruling
  • The current legal landscape of closed captioning and web accessibility
  • How the Netflix ruling impacts online education and other industries using streaming video
  • Given recent lawsuits, who is implicated by the ADA?

About Arlene B. Mayerson
Arlene B. Mayerson is one of the nation’s leading experts in disability rights law. She has been a key advisor to both Congress and the disability community on the major disability rights legislation for the past two decades. At the request of members of Congress, Ms. Mayerson supplied expert testimony before several committees of Congress when they were debating the ADA. She filed comments on the ADA regulations for more than 500 disability rights organizations. Ms. Mayerson has devoted her career exclusively to disability rights practice, representing clients in a wide array of issues. She has provided representation, consultation to counsel, and coordination of amicus briefs on key disability rights cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. She was appointed by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education to the Civil Rights Reviewing Authority, responsible for reviewing civil rights decisions of the Department.

Ms. Mayerson is also a John and Elizabeth Boalt Lecturer in disability law at Berkeley Law, University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall). She has published many articles on disability rights and is the author of a comprehensive three-volume treatise on the ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act Annotated-Legislative History, Regulations & Commentary (Clark Boardman Callaghan, 1994), which sets forth the legislative history and regulations for each provision of the ADA.

Presenters

Arlene B. Mayerson
Directing Attorney | Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund

Lily Bond (Moderator)
Marketing Manager | 3Play Media

Sponsored by 3 Play Media

UIS Disability Statement for Syllabus

As of Fall 2015, the following disability statement should be used on UIS syllabi:

If you are a student with a documented temporary or ongoing disability in need of academic accommodations, please contact the Office of Disability Services at 217-206-6666.

Disabilities may include, but are not limited to: Psychological, Health, Learning, Sensory, Mobility, ADHD, TBI and Asperger’s syndrome.  In some cases, accommodations are also available for shorter term disabling conditions such as severe medical situations.  Accommodations are based upon underlying medical and cognitive conditions and may include, but are not limited to: extended time for tests and quizzes, distraction free environment for tests and quizzes, a note taker, interpreter and FM devices.

Students who have made a request for an academic accommodation that has been reviewed and approved by the ODS will receive an accommodation letter which should be provided by the student to the instructor as soon as possible, preferably in the first week of class.

For assistance in seeking academic accommodations, please contact the UIS Office of Disability Services (ODS) in the Human Resources Building, Room 80, phone number 217-206-6666.

Open Educational Resources – Cable Green

Cable Green, Director of Global Learning at Creative Commons, led a discussion of “eTextbooks and Open Educational Resources” to help University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) student leaders understand the local and global education opportunities when digital content, the internet and open licensing are combined. View the recording of Cable Green’s lecture.Movie Fifty Shades Darker (2017)

Blackboard Mobile Learn

Information about Blackboard Mobile Learn can be found at:

http://www.uis.edu/informationtechnologyservices/iss/blackboard.html