Originally for the Instructional Technology & Design Network (via D2L)
By: Barry Dahl, Teaching & Learning Advocate, D2L
So as a primer … I sat in on Barry’s presentation “Five Free Tools to Help You Improve the Accessibility of Online Courses” on February 16, 2021. He gave us permission to share the contents of his presentation, and this content is specifically from his “handout” that he gave us. So, I am sharing as this material is highly relevant to the audience of my site (YOU)! Many of the tools he shared with us do not even require you to use D2L… however, there are some tools that are specific to the D2L system. But if a feature interests you, I recommend you go out and research the LMS you use at your institution. There is a high likelihood that they will have a similar feature as well.
Note: this presentation is one of several #A11y presentations that [Barry] has created. [He] would not consider it to be “the starting point.” However, nothing in this presentation is particularly difficult, so it should be useful to accessibility beginners and the more advanced.
Here’s a good starting point:
- 10 Bright Ideas to make your Brightspace Courses More Accessible to Students with Disabilities (slide deck only – recording appears to have disappeared)
- The Brightspace Accessibility checker
- 12-part series about improving accessibility in Brightspace Courses (part 1, with links at bottom of each page to the other eleven posts)
Recent webinar: Fifteen Myths about Accessibility of Online Courses
Tools covered in the webinar on Feb 16, 2021
- Color blindness simulator.
- Accessibility toolbar for Microsoft Word.
- Described videos.
- Embedding audio files accessibly.
- Speech-to-text converter.
- Screen reading platforms.
#1: Color blindness simulator
- Coblis color blindness simulator for images, by Colblindor
- Ishihara color blindness test by Colblindor
- Color blindness info from National Eye Institute
- What is color blindness by WebMD
Android apps in the Google Play Store (search in Google Play on your phone)
- Color Blind Pal by Vincent Fiorentini
- Ishihara Color Blindness Test by King Brain, Inc.
- Color Blindness Test by Real Life App
Apple Store apps (Search in Apple Store on your phone or iPad)
- Sim Daltonism by Michael Fortin
- Color Mate – colour blind help
- Color Blindness AR Solution by Shonit Nair Sharma
#2: Accessibility toolbar for Microsoft Word
- Document Accessibility Toolbar (DAT) by Vision Australia
- DAT Frequently Asked Questions
- DAT User Guide (how-to)
#3: Described Videos (with Audio Description, or AD)
- Video about YouDescribe – 3:52
- 5-minute YouTube video – not audio described
- Same 5-minute Video with AD at YouDescribe
- YouDescribe website information:
- Info about Audio Descriptions at WebAIM
#4: Embedding Audio Files Accessibly
- Rev Online Voice Recorder – free to use, but must create an account after a few recordings
- Much more advanced – Audacity audio recorder – free, open-source, cross-platform
- Free guide to Audacity by Santos Newman
- How to Cut and Trim Audio Like a Pro in audacity by Microphone Basis
Step-by-step instructions for adding accessible audio player using Brightspace HTML editor
- Create your audio files
- Add new audio files to Manage Files in Brightspace (drag-n-drop)
- Suggestion: create a special folder for all your audio files
- Add audio file to the appropriate place in the course
- For example, in an Announcement, a discussion, a content page, a quiz question, etc.
- Use Insert Stuff to embed a selected audio file in an accessible audio player
- Save and test the file in the audio player
#5: Audio File Transcripts
By using speech-to-text applications, you can capture text for a transcript file at the same time that you are recording your audio file.
- Live Transcribe for Android phones
- Use the native voice-to-text capabilities of your phone to insert text into Evernote, Google Docs, or similar.
#6: Free Screen Reading platforms
JAWS by Freedom Scientific is the gold standard for screen reading platforms. Cost: $90 and up, depending on the license.
- 40-minute free trial use (restarts each time you reboot your computer)
- NVDA screen reader by NV Access
- How to use NVDA to evaluate web accessibility by WebAIM
- IOS VoiceOver for Apple computers, phones, and iPads
- How to use VoiceOver from Deque University
Bonus Stuff: try it or not, your call
Check out Accessibility OZ for lots of great resources
- Accessible OzPlayer for videos
- Embed code creator for OzPlayer
- Video accessibility principles – factsheet
- Page links and accessibility (links give lots of people problems)
- AccessibilityOZ on Twitter
Trace Research and Development Center
- Photosensitive Epilepsy Analysis Tool (PEAT)
- Free, downloadable resource for developers to identify seizure risks in their web content and software.
- PEAT User Guide
- Information about Photosensitive Seizure Disorders
More about Seizure Risks
- Photosensitivity and Seizures – Epilepsy Foundation
- Photosensitive epilepsy seizure triggers – epilepsy action
- Video: How Video Games Can Cause Seizures (3:14)
Lots of Google Stuff
- Make your document or presentation more accessible
- Accessibility for Docs editors
- Type with your voice
- NC State U, IT Accessibility: Google Docs (how-to)
- Google Chrome Web Store – Accessibility Extensions
- Chrome Help: Use Chrome with accessibility extensions
- Webnots: How to Use Accessibility Features in Google Chrome
- AMI: YouTube Accessibility
Again, I would like to thank Mr. Barry Dahl for giving us permission to share this material with others so we can help make education as accessible as possible for everyone!