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.