Considering accessibility in course development in Moodle
If you know that you have students in your course who have disabilities and cannot use the online course platform so well, notice the following guidelines when constructing a course. Note that these guidelines are general and can be used in various contexts; the elements of good user interface are observed.
Points to consider
- Students may need to enlarge the font on the screen. The side block columns (contain mainly course administration issues) are static, so the content block in the centre might get too narrow for larger font. To enable a larger font in the content block, move all the side blocks to only one side of the content block.
- Screen readers and talking browsers used by the visually impaired read the contents on the screen from top left to bottom right, so you should think what you want the student to find first, and what is not so important.
- On the side block you should have quick access links ("jump-to" links) that lead directly to the contents.
- Avoid fancy font colors, it is best to use black. Avoid also fancy fonts, default font is usually the best.
- When you write instructions or deliver other materials, note that file formats in which you cannot change the size (such as pdf) are the worst for visually impaired.
How to attain better accessibility
- Add a clear title to your course and use the biggest heading size (heading 1).
- Move all side blocks from left to right (by using the arrows after Turn editing on).
- Add Section Links and Activities blocks and move them to the left of the page for quick access to sections and different activities.
- Divide your course contents so that you add only one topic per section.
- Choose informative titles to each section, and use one of the headings that is given in the editor.
- Avoid long texts in the course platform. The best place for instructions is Add a resource: Compose a webpage.
- Use descriptive texts in the names of links.
- When you deliver materials to students, preferably use formats doc, html and txt. Try to avoid files in pdf and ppt formats.
- Main guideline: avoid pictures
- If pictures are essential in course content, remember to describe each picture in its alt-metadata
- Do not put a picture in the 0-section: text is more relevant. Pictures and images on top of the page hinders the finding of text after a picture or an image.
Links to accessibility issues in the web
- Equality and non-discrimination at the University of Helsinki, text version (Alma-intranet, requires login)
- Esok-project - Inclusive Higher Education (University of Jyväskylä)
- Web content accessibility guidelines
- Web accessibility aim (WAI)