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Digital Accessibility

What is Accessibility?

Accessibility is about ensuring that things can be used by as many people as possible, working towards equality of opportunity. Our commitment to inclusion is underpinned by both the Equality Act and the more recent Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018

Make it Accessible

Converting files to alternative formats - SensusAccess

The University is running SensusAccess, a system that automatically converts documents into alternate formats, allowing you to:

  • Convert image PDFs, JPEGS and other files into an e-book, text file, audio or braille.
  • Combine more than one .JPG into a single file

Information can be found on the SensusAccess pages.

Accessibility checker in Canvas - Ally

In Canvas you can use a tool called Ally. Ally checks how well your course content meets accessibility standards and provides guidance on what to do to improve accessibility. Ally can also generate alternative formats eg e-Pub, audio (text to speech). 

The Canvas Rich Content Editor has an accessibility checker that can be used as you edit Canvas pages. It will flag up issues like poor contrast and missing alt text.

Immersive Reader

Microsoft immersive reader uses a range of techniques to help aid the reading and editing of documents.  The immersive reader is available in Canvas, as well as several Microsoft applications including Teams, Office 365 (Word and Outlook), OneNote and Microsoft Edge. Further information about Immersive Reader can be found on the Microsoft website and on Canvas.

Readability and Accuracy

There are also tools that can support readability and accuracy. The digital design website has information and links for further details. 

Accessibility in synchronous online learning using Zoom or Teams

If you use are using Zoom or Team to deliver an online synchronous online session, there are various considerations when it comes to accessibility.

The Zoom page has information on using captions in Zoom. It is also worth noting that captions are not available in breakout rooms. 

Microsoft provide advice on using captions in Teams. Unlike Zoom, Teams have live captions in breakout rooms.

It is recommended that you keep your camera on as some students will read lips. It also helps with building rapport and a community with your students. 

Think about the text size and contrast of slides you use or documents you share.

Zoom and Teams meetings can be confusing. Remember that not all students will be able to switch their focus rapidly from text chat, shared screen etc. Signpost changes of activity and give instructions in writing and as well as verbally.

Considerations for teaching and studying with poor internet

Staff and students alike may well be affected by slow or variable internet connections which in turn will make many aspects of online teaching and learning troublesome. Read our guide on Learning and Teaching with poor internet.