What Is Online Accessibility?

While making your online courses more accessible may seem foreboding, in many respects you may already be on your way thanks to technology. Webcourses@UCF is quite accessible on its own. However, external material such as PDFs, Powerpoints, presentations with audio, videos, and publisher content you choose to place in your online courses will benefit from additional review for accessibility. When you create materials for your online course, please keep Section 508 standards and universal design principles in mind. “Universal design means that, rather than designing your instruction for the average student, you design for potential students with a broad range in ability, disability, . . . learning style, native language, and other characteristics” (Burgstahler, 2010). Adhering to these standards will not only benefit students with disabilities but will help assure that all of your students will be able to access and use the online content you wish to share with them. To learn more about UCF’s commitment to providing accessible course materials to all students and the support services available to assist you with this, please read the Provost Letter (PDF) sent to UCF faculty regarding ADA-compliant course materials (September 2015).

How Do I Know if I Have a Student Who Requires Accommodation?

If a student registered for your course requires accommodation, they will submit a request through the office of Student Accessibility Services. After the student submits their request, you will receive an email from SAS describing the needed accommodation and will be directed to a Course Content Survey asking what materials you plan to use for that course. For example, if you use multiple YouTube videos in your course, there may be higher quality videos with closed captioning that can be provided through the UCF Library. If you use PDFs of photocopied articles, this is another area where the Library may be able to provide accessible versions for your course.

Utilize the UCF Library

If you use the Ask A Librarian chat, you can receive digital files directly during regular business hours.

Explore More About Accessibility

Use the resources below to assist you in creating course materials that are accessible and usable by all students. Depending on the type of document you would like to create, you may click on the appropriate link below.


Burgstahler, S. (2010). Equal Access: Universal Design of Instruction. In DO-IT: Disabilities, Opportunities, Internet working and Technology.

Creating Accessible Multimedia

 Audio and Video Locate and test all video CC buttons as they may not be available or activated. Be sure video files contain synchronized captions. Please note that automatic captioning in YouTube is not accurate. Include text transcripts for all audio files including podcasts. Amara provides self-captioning for YouTube and Vimeo files. Camtasia Studio, mentioned …

PDF Formatting Guidelines

If you cannot highlight text in a PDF document, it is not accessible. A screen reader will interpret an inaccessible PDF as an image, not text. This page will walk you through the process of creating accessible PDF documents. You can either start with a Word document and convert this document to PDF or you …

PowerPoint Formatting Guidelines

Working with Microsoft PowerPoint (PPT or PPTX) Use slide layout templates whenever possible. When you can’t use a template, at least use the one with the slide title only. Write presenter’s notes in the provided area. Apply alternative test (ALT text) to images. Add captions to the slide or presenter’s notes for complicated images (e.g. diagrams …

Text Formatting and Document Organization

Text Formatting and Document Organization Use sans-serif fonts designed for legibility on the computer screen (e.g., Arial, Verdana, Helvetica). Use bold or italic text to display emphasis. Don’t underline words since on a web page this indicates hyperlinks. Avoid using colored text (such as red) for emphasis since screen readers will not indicate it is …

Universal Design Online Content Inspection Tool (UDOIT)

What is UDOIT? The Universal Design Online Content Inspection Tool, or UDOIT (pronounced, “You Do It”) enables faculty to identify accessibility issues in Webcourses@UCF. It will scan a course, generate a report, and provide resources on how to address common accessibility issues. The Origin of UDOIT The Center for Distributed Learning (CDL) partners with the Student …

Webcourses@UCF Page Formatting Guidelines

This page will walk you through the process of creating materials (e.g., Syllabus, Schedule, Course Expectations, content pages) for your online course using the Pages tool in Webcourses@UCF to present content to students.

Word Document Formatting Guidelines

This page will walk you through the process of creating materials (e.g., Syllabus, Schedule, Course Expectations, content pages) for your online course. You may choose to build content directly in Webcourses@UCF using the Pages tool or create content in Microsoft Word and then copy/paste the content into Pages. We recommend that you use the Pages …