Best practices and advice on elements to consider to ensure that all can participate and engage in the creation of multimodal material.

Many of the resources provided here are drawn from York University's Teaching Commons, York University Libraries' Accessibility Services, and Student Accessibility Services.

A Basic Checklist for Multimedia Accessibility

Adapted from Accessibility Toolkit (2nd edition)

When planning a video, identify any important visual content (including on-screen text) and ensure that the audio track describes these visuals for people with vision impairments. For guidance, follow this guide on providing spoken descriptions of visual content created by University of Colorado Boulder.

For visual media, choose color schemes that meet accessibility contrast standards.

If possible, script all spoken content in advance to ensure that important accessibility-related audio is recorded as part of the production process.

Use specific terms to describe on-screen visuals. For example, avoid terms like "here" or "there," which only provide visual cues to an audience member. For example, instead of saying "place the remaining material over here," say "place the remaining material in the box to your left."

A transcript is available for each multimedia resource including relevant non-speech content.

Transcripts should include:

  • speaker's name
  • all speech content
  • relevant descriptions of speech
  • descriptions of relevant non-speech audio
  • headings and subheadings

Captions of all speech content and relevant non-speech content are included in the multimedia resource; this includes the audio synchronized with a video presentation. Captioning provides support for English language learners, and can enhance comprehension for everyone! Our colleagues at Humber College have written a terrific style guide for video captioning.

Audio descriptions of contextual visuals (e.g., graphs, charts) are included in the multimedia resource. UC Berkeley has created an excellent guide to audio description, including tips for academic videos.

Ensure that media players for audio and video include accessibility features such as displaying captions or controlling playback speed, and ensure that the media player can be controlled using keyboard commands. If you have a choice of media players, consider AblePlayer. This open-course media player supports both audio and video content with accessible controls. It can include options for sign language interpretation, optional audio tracks, and more.

Recommendations for Instructors

  • Offer Options for Completing Student Work
    • Providing your students with choices in how they demonstrate their learning can positively affect their commitment and motivation, allowing them to draw upon their strengths, and meet their personal learning needs.
  • Provide Content in a Variety of Ways
    • Making course content accessible through a variety of means often translates into a curriculum that presents information in multiple formats and media at the same time, provides multiple pathways to the same objectives, and multiple ways to engage (with) students (Meyer & Rose, 2002).
  • Recognize the Limitations of Technology
    • "Although technology can provide more efficient instruction, it does not necessarily provide more effective instruction” (Morrison, Ross, Kalman, & Kemp, 2013, p. 224).

Using Accessibility Features in Common Software Tools

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