When you choose or create teaching materials for your courses, you might want to ensure that all your students can easily access and use those resources. Accessible content meets the requirements of the Alberta Human Rights Act, which "has as its objective the amelioration of the conditions of disadvantaged persons or classes of disadvantaged persons, including those who are disadvantaged because of their race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, gender identity, gender expression, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income, family status or sexual orientation".
With regards to taking a proactive approach relating to the diversity in your students, it is best to plan ahead and determine early what course material you will be using in the upcoming academic year. In the accordion below you will find more detailed guides to assist you in this process (especially with regards to student disabilities). For example, if a MS Word document is planned, formatted, and structured correctly in the beginning, it will ensure the file is not only accessible but can also be converted into a variety of different alternate formats (e.g. PDF or braille) while retaining its accessibility features (sometimes referred to as conversion ready).
Consider this simple guideline while choosing the materials for your teaching:
- All the images you use have alt tags, meaning alternative text describing the content and explaining the reasons why the pictures have been chosen.
- All your video content has captions (either below the video or attachments with text transcriptions are provided).
- Provide transcripts for audio content.
- All your PDF's are machine readable.
- You use good headings structures and lists in all your documents to support navigation by screen readers.
- All the hyperlinks are anchored to descriptive text rather than the word "here".
- Ensure enough contrast between text and background.
- Understand how to export pdf preserving accessibilty.
- Define the language within your documents.
- Use tables wisely.