Creating and or reviewing your classroom content for accessibility not only provides an equal learning opportunity for all learners but is also required by law. Ontario has made a commitment to accessibility by introducing the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act:

Recognizes the history of discrimination against persons with disabilities in Ontario. The purpose of this act is to benefit all Ontarians by,

(a) developing, implementing and enforcing accessibility standards in order to achieve accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities with respect to goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises on or before January 1, 2025; and

(b) providing for the involvement of persons with disabilities, of the Government of Ontario and of representatives of industries and of various sectors of the economy in the development of the accessibility standards. 2005, c. 11, s. 1. By Implementing and enforcing the standards set out in the act will help Ontario become more accessible and inclusive by 2025. The team in the Teaching and Learning Innovation Hub is here to help you succeed in providing your students with the best quality education. Please review this page for helpful resources to help you with accessibility.

Understanding Accessibility (WHY)

Why is accessibility important? Like many other colleges, Cambrian is committed to providing its students with equal learning opportunities. Check out the following YouTube series, “A Walk in my Shoes”, which follows the story of nine Cambrian College students living with various disabilities. These stories are a small glimpse into students’ daily lives here at our college.

Legislation (WHAT)

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)

Accessible Canada Act

WCAG 2.0

A WCAG Overview — Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 and 2.0 Explained

Eric Eggert explains the structure to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines — WCAG — and how you can start following their requirements.

Accessibility: What’s the difference between WCAG Levels A and AA?

WCAG 2.1

What is WCAG 2.1 – how is it different from 2.0?

The WCAG 2.0 guide was created in 2008. Since then, technology has advanced, and the need to revise the guide was necessary. The 2.1 guide builds on the 2.0 guide with the addition of modern applications. A compressive explanation of the guide from 2.0 to 2.1 can be found on the Accessible Metrics website. 

Accessibility – The new WCAG 2.1 guidelines

A short talk by Jack Niland, UX designer and accessibility expert at Spacecraft.

Creating Accessible Content (HOW)

Accessibility Checklist

The Teaching and Learning Innovation Hub has developed a checklist to review content for accessibility. This is the checklist we use to help staff review their content. This checklist is also a great resource for staff and faculty to use to review their own content. The Hub is an email or phone call away if you require any additional information or have any questions.

Document Accessibility

Website Accessibility

Image Accessibility

Providing alternative text (alt text) serves many purposes, from search engine optimization to accessibility to overall user experience. For those who use a screen reader or braille assistive device, alt text can describe the function and appearance of a photo or graphic they cannot see, providing them with an equal user experience. Writing functional alt text can be tricky and may take some practice. Below is a list of resources to help you build your alternative text writing skills.

*Modified Content, Images and Icons, Niagara College Accessibility HubCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.*

Improving Image Accessibility with Alt Text

Learn best practices for using alt text in order to improve the accessibility of the images on your website in this tutorial by Clarissa Peterson, a Chicago-based designer who specializes in user experience and content strategy.

Writing Effective and Accessible Alt Text

Learn how to write alt text for more complex image use, such as charts, graphs, and image links in this tutorial by Clarissa Peterson, a Chicago-based designer who specializes in user experience and content strategy.

Video Accessibility

Video has become a popular medium for communicating ideas and building an online presence thanks to its visual and auditory components. It is common to consume entertainment, socialize, and learn through video. Creating learning and instructive opportunities using video can be a great way to engage students, but how can we ensure that everyone has equal access to video content that is provided? The use of closed captioning, described video (described audio) and transcripts can help learners understand video content delivered in a lesson.

*Modified Content, Video Accessibility, Niagara College Accessibility HubCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.*

Social Media Accessibility

What is social media accessibility? Social media is becoming a popular tool for communicating with students. Content created for social media distribution, like any other media, should have accessibility in mind. While there is no regulation in Canada or guidelines under WCAG that mandates that social media meets specific requirements to be accessible, it is good practice to be accessible anyway. Ensuring that posts and content created for social media follow the guidelines and best practices outlined can help all to participate and engage equally.

*Modified Content, Accessibility and Social Media, Niagara College Accessibility HubCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.*

Accessible Academic Delivery

Email Accessibility

The use of emails in the academic setting is more prevalent now than ever. Like many other online facets, accessibility is critical when communicating via email. When sending emails, it’s essential to ensure the content can be read by everyone regardless of the method they use to interpret the message. Considering accessibility while generating an email can also make the information you send clear, readable, and engaging. Curating clear, accessible emails can help everyone, not just those who are disabled or who use assistive technology such as screen readers.

*Modified Content, Accessible Emails, Niagara College Accessibility HubCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.*

Accessible Communications and Events

While planning an event on campus, it is important to consider accessibility and inclusivity from the beginning of the planning process. Discussing access and inclusivity in all aspects of your planning process can avoid causing potential barriers to participation. Planning for accessibility can also mean being prepared to adapt and make changes as you encounter impediments. Your initial planning may not work for everyone, so being flexible and open to changes will allow for a more successful planning endeavour.

*Modified Content, Planning for Accessible On-Campus Events, Niagara College Accessibility HubCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.*

Moodle Accessibility Toolkit

Faculty can run an accessibility check for their Moodle courses using the built-in Accessibility Toolkit feature. While this accessibility check captures many common accessibility errors, it does not capture all issues in Moodle. It is also unable to review content outside of Moodle (including Word documents, PDFs, PowerPoints, video or audio files, external websites, etc.) so it is always recommended to conduct a thorough review outside of the Toolkit.