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Teaching Online
Home » Faculty/Staff » Teaching Online » Accessibility


hand or work through the Making your online courses accessible involves complex and rapidly changing technologies and policies - even district policies and support undergo rapid change. This page attempts to give a brief overall review of guidelines to make your online courses ADA 508 compliant. Most of these guidelines exist to accommodate those who are visually-impaired (screen readers, like JAWS, that read all tags on an HTML page's code) or those who are hearing-impaired (closed captioning and scripts). Realize that most instructors feel inadequate in this area and better solutions are being developed. Always make sure to put a note about special needs on your syllabus. Also, note that the browser Opera has good screen enlarging functionality.

Cuyamaca's Web Accessibility Page

A good starting point for making your courses accessible is to view the guidelines on the Cuyamaca DSPS Web Accessibility Page as well as Cuyamaca's Web Standards page. Both include guidelines for text, language, tables, multimedia, navigation, etc. [If this still seems too complex, take a look at the general guidelines below] Also, view some of the software/hardware and alternate media available at Cuyamaca's DSPS High Tech Center. Many Cuyamaca professional development presentations are being planned to help online instructors make their course more accessible.

You might also want to attend Cuyamaca's Accessibility Workshops during Professional Development week or spend an hour working through our Canvas Accessibility module

Cuyamaca Contacts:

Brian Josephson: 660-4394

Rhonda Bauerlein: 660-4013

General Guidelines


  • Accessibility within Canvas
  • All video should have captioning (see YouTube's captioning instructions )
  • Any audio narrations should have a transcript available
    • transcript hint: Use a voice recognition program (such as Dragon) while running the audio on your file to capture voice-to-text for a automatic transcript production (also see the section "Resource Links" below)
    • Use a text-to-speech program
  • Use headings to structure pages. This allows students using screen readers to scan the page for headings, just like sighted people scan the page for big bold text.
  • Add Alt text to describe graphs, diagrams, and pictures. 
  • Links should have meaningful text. For example, instead of the link saying "Click here" links need to describe the page students will see if they click the link.
  • Use high contrast and try not to use the color reds (hard to see for those with color deficiency - use blues instead)

Web Pages

(such as your Cuyamaca Web page)

  • Use ALT tags (alternate names for images) on all images.
  • Use tables only for data and make sure tables read well when read left to right, top to bottom.
  • Test in all browsers (turn off images and try tabbing around your pages checking for easy navigation)
  • Use a web checker (see below)

Web Accessibility Checkers

Web Accessibility Tutorials

Resource Links

  • NCAM - free software for adding captions to video and Flash
  • WebAIM - "Expanding the web's potential for people with disabilities
  • Do-It - universal design principles
  • WAI - Web Accessibility Initiative
  • Trace Center - "Research to make everyday technologies accessible and usable"
  • Section 508
Last Updated: 08/23/2019
  • Grossmont
  • Cuyamaca
A Member of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District