OSCQR – Standard #34

OSCQR – Standard #34

Text content is available in an easily accessed format, preferably HTML. All text content is readable by assistive technology, including a PDF or any text contained in an image.

Review These Explanations

Online courses may provide access for a more flexible learning experience for many learners, but the delivery platforms may hinder online courses access for learners with visual impairment, who rely on screen readers to process text (Huss & Eastep, 2016).

Text content is easier for screen readers to process, assuming that it is available in HTML. Instead of displaying as visual content, screen readers convert course text to speech so that learners can listen to the course content. Screen readers insert pauses for periods, semi-colons, commas, question marks, exclamation points, and ends of paragraphs.

Providing content that is accessible is critical to keeping learners with visual disabilities on track. PDF documents are not always designed to be compatible with screen readers. Compatible PDF documents are structured and have a very specific reading order so that assistive devices can translate them effectively.

References:

Huss, J., & Eastep, S. (2016). Okay, Our Courses Are Online, But Are They ADA Compliant?. I.E.: Inquiry In Education, 8(2), 1-21.

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

  • Refrain from using graphic images that include text. If you do use them, be sure to include descriptive ALT (alternative) text to comply with accessibility guidelines.
  • Ask for a course accessibility review from your campus accessibility and learner accommodated services staff.
  • Listen to how a screen reader reads through an unformatted PDF file here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaNwnsT4B5s.
  • Listen to how your content (including PDF files) sounds in a screen reader. You can download free versions of Jaws at https://www.freedomscientific.com/Downloads/JAWS

Explore Related Resources

Adobe is an industry leader in accessibility and supports the creation of outstanding web experiences by encouraging developers to produce rich, engaging content that is accessible to all.
Hixon, E., Barczyk, C., Ralston-Berg, P., & Buckenmeyer, J. J. (2016). Online Course Quality: What do Nontraditional Students Value?. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 19(4), 1-12.
Raths, d. (2016). Your Course Accessibility Checklist. Campus Technology Magazine, 29(5), 24-26.

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OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

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