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


handMaking 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 to assist them. Always make sure to put a note about special needs on your syllabus. Also, note that the browser Opera has good screen enlarging functionality (see Browsers & Plug-ins).

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.

Cuyamaca Contacts:

Brian Josephson: 660-4394
Rhonda Bauerlein: 660-4013

General Guidelines

Within Bb

  • Bb's Accessibility Page
  • All video should have captioning or a transcript available via a link (see YouTube's captioning instructions at
  • Any audio narrations should also 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 (see the sidebar in Multimedia)
  • Describe graphs, diagrams, and links clearly (screen readers cannot read graphics and links need more than just "click here")
  • Use annotations with images
  • Use high contrast and try not to use the color reds (hard to see for those with color deficiency - use blues instead)
  • Click for a tutorial for using a Screen Reader in Bb

Additionally, within a Browser

(such as your Cuyamaca Web page)

  • Use ALT tags (alternate names for images) on all images (most web creation programs, like Dreamweaver, have this as a property of images and are easily inserted)
  • Use frames and tables carefully (or provide a "no frames" page)
  • Use Cascading Style Sheets (but make sure your site is organized to be read without CSSs)
  • 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: 10/04/2017
Test Tubes WAVE>
Check your web pages online for web accessibility, just type the URL.
Stack of books INTERVIEW>
Brian Josephson of DSPS discusses accessibility and online classes.
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