Oncourse Tool Accessibility Breakdown
Tools that Are Generally Accessible to Students Using Adaptive Technology
- Assignments (with exceptions)
- Assignments 2 (with exceptions)
- Messages (with exceptions)
- News (with exceptions)
- Test and Survey (with exceptions)
- Resources (with exceptions)
- Syllabus (with exceptions)
- Web Content (with exceptions)
Oncourse Tool Accessibility Hints
Many tools in Oncourse are accessible to students with disabilities who use adaptive technologies (like screen-reading software). They will generally be able to navigate Oncourse and get to the content provided to them by instructors.
The rich text editor (or What You See Is What You Get Editor – WYSIWYG) editor in Oncourse is inaccessible. Any task in Oncourse that requires use of the WYSIWYG editor may cause difficulties to some students with disabilities and be completely unusable to others. If possible, use workarounds that don’t require use of the WYSIWYG editor.
Assignments / Assignments 2
The assignments tool is generally accessible, however there is one important consideration to keep in mind. As mentioned above, the rich text editor (or What You See Is What You Get Editor – WYSIWYG) editor in Oncourse is inaccessible. If, when creating the assignment, the student is required to enter their solution in the WYSIWYG editor, then they may not be successful.
The best solution is to allow students to submit attachments. When creating an assignment, do not set the "Submission Format" to "Text only" (see Figure 1).
Figure 1. Example of setting an assignment's Submission Format to "Text and Attachments"
It is important to use meaningful, consistently formatted names for both the assignment titles and for any attachments included with the assignment. Clear, meaningful names will make it much easier for screen-reader users to locate the assignment and attachments.
The events listed in the calendar tool are accessible, however it is best if the students use the "Events List View" to view the calendar in a table format.
The messages tool is fairly accessible. Luckily it does not use the WYSIWYG editor. There is one task that is known to cause difficulty, though, to users of adaptive technology. Selecting multiple items in a combo box is extremely difficult to do accurately while using an adaptive technology like a screen-reader. In the Messages tool, this limits the user’s ability to select multiple email recipients. Students who have to send email messages to multiple classmates at once (for example, to a study group) will have difficulty.
The news tool is pretty accessible. It is important to keep in mind the accessibility of the page the user will be redirected to when accessing content.
Original Test and Survey
The test and survey tool has two issues that content creators need to be aware of.
The first is that users with disabilities often will require extend test taking time. Timed quizzes could pose a difficulty. Oncourse allows students to be grouped, and the time limits can be configured independently for each group. Simply create a new group, and put any students requiring extended test taking time into that group.
The second is that users with low vision or who are blind will have difficulty with the matching type questions. They cannot see the screen to easily review which item is assigned to what letter / number to successfully set all of the combo boxes. It will require a lot more memory, skill at using their adaptive technology, and time to be successful at completing questions of this question type.
It is important to remember to use concise, meaningful, and consistently formatted names for items placed in the Resources tool. This includes keeping the display name and the item’s actual file name as close to the same as possible (otherwise users may have trouble finding the file after downloading it).
Also, it is important to make sure the items are created in an accessible format. Information is available on how to create accessible PDF, MS Word, MS PowerPoint, and other documents.
The syllabus tool itself is pretty accessible. Again, it is important to use well named files and that any attachments and linked documents are created in an accessible format.
The Web Content tool itself is pretty accessible. It is important to keep in mind the accessibility of the page the user will be redirected to when accessing content.