Pope Tech is an accessibility remediation tool available to instructors in Canvas. This tool (provided through the CCC Accessibility Center) gives instructors a quick but powerful way to check for and fix common accessibility concerns in Canvas content. Ensuring your Canvas courses are free of accessibility concerns helps support inclusion and equity for all students, and also is a requirement of MiraCosta policies as well as state and federal regulations.
The Pope Tech Overview (PDF) is a handy 2-page overview. You may also watch this 7-minute video for a helpful demonstration of how Pope Tech works in Canvas:
Pope Tech Detailed Guidance
Click any of the items below to view more details, including video guides, for using Pope Tech.
What Canvas elements can be tested? What does Pope Tech check for?
What Canvas elements can faculty test with Pope Tech?
Most areas where faculty use the Canvas Rich Content Editor can be tested with Pope Tech:
To test a Canvas item for accessibility concerns, activate Pope Tech by selecting the button at left of the Cancel and Save buttons while editing any of the Canvas items above. Pope Tech works even when the item is not yet published.
What does Pope Tech check for?
If headers are present or skipped
Flags suspicious alt text for images (contains “image of”, “image”, etc.)
Color contrast between text and highlighted colored-background (Note: doesn’t check color contrast within images)
If font size is readable
Flags non-descriptive links such as “click here”, “link”, “more”, “read more”
Flags redundant links
Flags tables that lack at least one header and caption.
Flags YouTube, Canvas embedded video and Canvas embedded audio to bring awareness media will need to be manually reviewed for captions
Flags potential inaccessible files that need to be manually reviewed
How do I use Pope Tech?
Using Pope Tech is simple and intuitive.
Step 1: Open Pope Tech
To test a Canvas item for accessibility concerns, simply activate Pope Tech by selecting the icon next to the Cancel and Save buttons on the page while using the Rich Content Editor.
Step 2: Use Pope Tech to Locate and Fix Accessibility Issues
Once Pope Tech is activated, the Pope Tech menu will appear on the right-hand side of the screen. At the top of the interface, the number of errors and alerts will need to be addressed.
Errors are accessibility errors and should be looked at for remediation.
Alerts are suspicious areas. Alerts may or may not be an accessibility error. The user should review these and fix if necessary.
Rescan can be used once errors and alerts are fixed. This will allow the user to scan the page a second time and verify that all fixes were applied correctly.
Note: Files, videos, and audio will always be listed as alerts, as these require manual review with human eyes!
In the example below, we have 11 errors and 4 alerts.
In the Pope Tech interface, results are organized by the following categories:
Images and Links
Text and Contrast
Tables and Lists
Documents and Videos
Each of the categories can be expanded to show the errors or alerts. To view the content raising an error or alert:
Select the arrow displayed next to any category name. Once you expand a category, Pope Tech will display fields grouping together issues within that category.
Click any field to view detailed results and how to fix them.
Click a particular result to highlight the indicated content within the Canvas editor, enabling you to fix that content.
This quick (42 second) video demonstrates the process described above:
Video Demos: Fixing Alternative Text, Color Contrast, and Table Errors
Fixing Alternative Text
Alternative Text errors are listed in the Images and Links category of the Pope Tech tool. This video demonstrates how to fix such errors:
Fixing Color Contrast
Color Contrast errors are listed in the Text and Contrast category of the Pope Tech tool. Users can fix color contrast errors by one of two methods:
Adjust the color in the Canvas rich text editor.
Adjust the contrast by using the sliders in the Pope Tech interface until the interface displays a “Pass” message.
This video demonstrates how to fix such errors:
Fixing Table Captions and Headers
Table errors are listed in the Tables and Lists area of Pope Tech. Using Pope Tech, it is very simple to add a table caption and designate whether the first row or the first column must be the header. This video demonstrates how to fix such errors:
Accessibility Issues Explained, from PopeTech
Click any link below for details about common accessibility issues, why it matters, and what to do to fix/avoid the issue.
Social Annotation with Perusall (Zoom Recording, 1 hour 5 minutes) – 1/16/2023 workshop by Jim Julius, Michael from Perusall, Rob Bond, John Kirwan, & Aaron Roberts
Perusall makes it possible to have students comment, discuss, and share by annotating a document or image. Some possibilities might include:
annotating the textbook together (Perusall offers many common textbooks within its framework — see the catalog)
uploading pdf files and having students highlight and annotate
uploading images or videos and having students annotate
Perusall has been used independently by a number of MiraCosta faculty for several years, but starting in 2022 the college has licensed it, making it easier for all faculty to engage students in these kinds of rich, interactive learning opportunities. Perusall can be quickly added to any Canvas course. MiraCosta instructor and online mentor Lisa M. Lane has been using Perusall for some time, and has provided instructions and videos below to help faculty get started. You can also reach out to Lisa (email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) to arrange for 1-1 mentoring support.
Before class starts: set up Perusall
To get started, you need to set up a site in Perusall. Perusall calls this a “course”. There are two ways to do this.
1: For Canvas courses organized around activity types
If your course materials for students are already set up by type (quizzes, lectures, readings) in Canvas, you may want to add Perusall to the menu.
Click Settings at the bottom of your course menu
Click the Navigation tab
3. Click the gear icon to the right of Perusall
4. Select +Enable
5. Click the Save button
The Perusall link now appears in your course menu. You can click on the Persuall menu link and a new browser window will open. The first time you do this, Perusall will establish Perusall account and sync it with your Canvas account. If you already had a free Perusall account using your MiraCosta email address, Perusall will merge that account with the one being set up under MiraCosta’s institutional Perusall license.
2: For Canvas courses organized in modules or units
If your course materials are organized for students to use Modules or units, you may want to use a test assignment to open the Perusall course.
Add an Assignment, call it Test Perusall
Don’t worry about points, instructions, and other settings
Use External Tool – Find – Perusall
Check the box to open in a new window
In the assignment, click on the box “Load Test Perusall in New Window”
After doing this to connect your Canvas class and Perusall, you’ll follow the same process for setting up each Perusall assignment, and you can change this first Test Perusall assignment later to use it as an actual assignment.
The video below demonstrates both of the above methods for adding Perusall to your Canvas class.
Set up an assignment in the Perusall course
On the Get Started page: fill in boxes, but be sure that if you are not using groups, the number of students is set to your maximum
Library: choose the type of content for the first assignment and upload or put in URL
Assignments: click Add Assignment and select the content from your Library, choose your parameters for that assignment
Copy the name of the assignment exactly — it must be the name of your assignment in Canvas (that’s how Canvas knows which Perusall assignment to use).
Watch the video below for a demonstration of this:
Perusall settings and grading
Here is a video overview of the Perusall settings for a course:
One big settings choice for scoring or grading is this:
Do you want the work graded as it is done, with student scores increasing as they go? or
Do you want the work graded at the end by the instructor?
These are included in Settings, above. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Having grades go up as the student works can provide extrinsic motivation, but can also force the student to work to Perusall’s standards. Grading at the end means working quite a bit with the gradebook in Perusall, and it causes a problem with due dates. If the due date in Perusall matches the due date in Canvas (as it should so students cannot work past the due date), and the instructor grades after that date, Canvas will show the assignment as late. This will need to be explained to students, or manually changed in the Canvas gradebook.
Preventing problems with students going to the wrong assignment
There are two ways this can happen.
The student may go to Perusall.com trying to find the work
If a student gets locked out of the assignment, they may try to get in through Perusall.com, making an account. If they are successful, they will be able to annotate, but their grades will not be pushed back into Canvas, and they won’t get a score (you will see this with a red warning exclamation mark in the Perusall grades).
Solution: Encourage students to only enter Perusall through Canvas, through your assignment.
The student may navigate inside Perusall and click on the wrong assignment using the Library
Once inside Perusall, students, like instructors, can click on the left-hand list of both the Library and the Assignments. That means they can jump ahead to the wrong assignment or even in some cases jump back to an assignment that has already been graded, and work within it when you don’t want them to.
Solution: The best way to prevent this is to set the availability period for assignments, then make a hidden folder in the Library, and put all the Library items in there. Then make sure all Assignments have a due date. That way they can only click on an assignment, and only when it is open.
The video below discusses both of these potential issues:
During the class: Participating in annotating and discussing
Some instructors participate in the annotations as they occur. When participating, it’s good to use the @ symbol to alert particular students that you have a public question or annotation on their annotation. Perusall also allows students to upvote, and for you to upvote, particular annotations. The interactive nature of social annotation allows it to be a replacement for discussion if that’s how the instructor wants to use it.
Set up advance annotations if desired
You can set up questions, add video clips, or annotate your assignment yourself before the class begins as well as during the class. Instructor annotations are saved and can be rolled over to the next semester.
It is usually not advisable to rely on Perusall’s automatic scoring algorithm.
Perusall’s algorithm attempts to analyze the depth and usefulness of a student’s comment, and that may not align with your goals. For example, an instructor who wants students to post five short superficial annotations or one long in-depth annotation will find that Perusall cannot make this distinction, and may give the student posting one long annotation a lower score.
Until you know the system is scoring like you want it to, it’s a good idea to check each student’s contributions. This can be done using the Students tab from the Course home page in Perusall:
Perusall is a complex program and can do many things. Scoring can be refined with multiple parameters. Student scores can be averaged and turned into a single Perusall grade rather than individual assignments. The recommendations above are designed for those who are new to Perusall.
Canvas Student View Warning
Canvas’ Student View button will not work with Perusall, since Canvas doesn’t send an email address to Perusall as part of that launch. To see what students will see once they launch into Perusall, utilize the Student View link on the left navigation bar within your Perusall course.
Canvas Studio Training (Zoom recording, 87 minutes) – 8/13/2019 Online workshop by Canvas trainer Heidi Redmond.
Studio is a video tool integrated inside of Canvas, which MiraCosta began piloting in spring 2019 when it was known as ARC. It is now available to all faculty and students indefinitely through state funding.
Faculty and students can easily record webcam and screencast video within Canvas
Faculty and students can create and manage a library of videos for use in Canvas (and to share outside of Canvas)
Faculty can create discussion activities that are based on video (discussion comments are tied to specific points in the video)
Faculty get data on student viewing of video
Faculty can add quiz questions into videos; students respond while watching the video; results go directly into the gradebook
Students can submit video assignments; faculty can provide feedback directly on specific moments in the video
Videos can be automatically captioned and the captions can be easily edited
Studio is available to faculty and students from the blue global navigation bar in MiraCosta Canvas.
Studio is also available to faculty only on the navigation menu within a MiraCosta Canvas course to RECORD or ADD video content.
Within the Canvas Rich Content Editor, faculty and students can select Studio from the second row of icons to add a Studio video they’ve previously recorded, or to create and use a webcam or screencast video right there.
Adding Videos Captioned in YouTube or 3CMediaSolutions to Studio
Unfortunately, videos you’ve already created in YouTube or 3CMediaSolutions will not have their captions preserved when you add them to Studio. Rather than starting captioning over again in Studio, here are some tips from Greg Beyrer of Cosumnes River College:
YouTube: Download the captions file from YouTube. The video must be set to allow community members to contribute captions. If the video already has English captions provided by the creator those cannot be downloaded, but you can tell YouTube you are contributing captions in a friendly language, say Canadian English, and then one-click copy the published captions to the new language. That could then be downloaded. YouTube does not download captions in a file that is recognized by Studio, so you have to convert those captions (.sbv file) into a Studio-friendly format (.srt file). This site does this: https://captionsconverter.com. (from YouTube Captions to Arc – Workaround Guide, where you can also find a video demonstrating the process.)
3CMediaSolutions: Simply download the (.vtt) caption file from a 3CMediaSolutions video, and then upload that file into Studio for the same video. If your video is lengthy, it may even be quicker to first upload it to 3CMediaSolutions and request the free professional captioning rather than going through the auto-caption and edit process in Studio. (from Making Arc Work with 3C Media Solutions, which includes a video demonstrating the process)
Pronto is an app that works within and outside of Canvas to enable seamless, fun, and effective communication between faculty and students, and among students. Many California Community Colleges are now using Pronto. An initial pilot in 2021-22 went extremely well, and Pronto has been institutionalized going forward!
Some stats as of the end of spring 2022, after a year and a half of piloting Pronto at MiraCosta:
over 6100 MiraCostans signed in to Pronto
nearly 80,000 messages sent
nearly 21,000 groups created
over 5600 videos shared
What Pronto Offers
Without having to share phone numbers or other contact information, now you have real-time messaging across each class and to individuals. Send text messages, files, images, emojis, and GIFs!
Pronto gives everyone a voice by allowing them to send messages in their preferred language, and Pronto then automatically translates messages into the recipient’s preferred language.
Live-stream & Group Video Chat
Broadcast live video to your classes, and record your video sessions for replay. This may be a nice alternative to Zoom for things like office hours, group meetings, and more. Viewers interact using the chat button. It keeps the process smooth. Here is a video from Fabiola Torres of Glendale CC on how she uses the live-stream feature for class.
Chat via live video with up to 10 people simultaneously. Perfect for group projects!
Live 1:1 video chat any time for face-to-face interaction with a student. Or live-stream with a student and they can chat (they don’t have to be on camera).
Keep your entire course in the loop by sending a message to the whole class. It’s like sending a real-time announcement to your entire class. Keep everyone updated on assignments, tech glitches, emergency alerts, and any other important information you need to get out instantly.
File Sharing & Storage
Share any file type—documents, spreadsheets, slideshows, photos, videos, and more. All files stored in Pronto remain available through Pronto for easy retrieval with no storage limits. Pronto integrates with all reputable cloud storage repositories, including Dropbox, OneDrive, iCloud, and Google Drive.
Keeps students organized and accountable by assigning tasks. Tasks allows you to create reminders for yourself or others in groups—attach files, photos, or videos and assign due dates with auto-reminders for each task. Here is a video from Professor Gomez of Glendale CC demonstrating how to assign a task.
Accessibility and Privacy
Pronto is both WCAG 2.0 AA and FERPA compliant. Pronto keeps you connected to everyone without sharing personal contact information.
Check out this brief introduction to Pronto from MiraCosta faculty member Tanessa Sanchez:
Where Can I Access Pronto?
Pronto is available in 3 ways:
Directly within Canvas. If you are enrolled in any published course where Pronto is active, you will see the Pronto icon at the bottom left of Canvas, in the Global Navigation menu (you may need to scroll the menu down). Selecting the Pronto icon will open up Pronto to the latest chat you have had open or the course/group with which you are currently engaged.
Via the mobile app, which is available for free in the Apple and Google app stores (search Pronto: Team Communication).
How Do I Get Started?
Pronto only becomes active for a course after it is published. NOTE: this doesn’t happen automatically – Pronto becomes active for a newly-published course once the next synchronization between Pronto and Canvas occurs – this happens daily at 7 pm PST. But if you want to make Pronto active immediately after publishing a course, you can manually enable Pronto in the Pronto course management tool.
The first time you use Pronto, you’ll need to provide your MiraCosta email address and then enter a code that Pronto will send to your email. If you are not yet enrolled in any course that is published and uses Pronto, you may need to wait until that occurs for this step to work.
No, Pronto is available but you can ignore it. Doing so will still allow your students to use it. If you wish to turn off Pronto temporarily or permanently for a class, you can do that too. (Even if you like having Pronto on most of the time, you may wish to shut it off during an exam, for example.)
Students added to your Canvas class will not be able to use Pronto for the class until the next Pronto synchronization occurs. You can use the Pronto Course Management tool to manually force Pronto to synchronize with a course if necessary.
Faculty can’t see Pronto in Canvas’s Student View. If you wish to experience Pronto within your course as your students would, you need to use your “fake student” account. But rest assured that the student experience with Pronto is just about identical to what you see on the faculty side.
On mobile devices, Pronto will not show up within the Canvas app or inside of Canvas in a mobile browser. Use the free Pronto app!
Here are some excellent additional Pronto resources:
Pronto vs. Discord – Discord is a popular tool for free-flowing online class discussions – it has its downsides though as a tool that has not been vetted by the college and is outside of the college’s control
Support for Your Students – Please help your students to be aware of and make use of these important services and resources!
Student Online Academic Readiness workshops – With the library, I offer nearly 20 of these across the first 9 weeks of the semester – see all dates and times on the TASC site and in Canvas announcements. These workshops (formerly known as Student Orientation to Online Learning) help to familiarize students with the resources MiraCosta provides online to support them, as well as to adopt habits and attitudes of successful online students. Encourage your students to attend and, if you like, find out which of your students participated in order to incentivize their attendance.
Online Student Support Access Points – the Student Support Hub in Canvas, accessed via the Student Support button on the bottom left in Canvas, gives quick access to online support from the library, STEM & MLC, online tutoring, writing center, counseling, career center, open computer lab staff, student help desk, health services, CARE team, and more! The Help Hut and Online Education webpages are also great starting points for students to connect with all kinds of support services when they’re not in Canvas.
Tech Support – Also at lower left in Canvas is a button for students to quickly access Tech Support options, including 24×7 phone and chat support from Canvas, and our local MiraCosta student help desk.
Zero- and Low-Textbook Cost Course Sections – If you are teaching one of these, please be sure to mark your class in SURF as LTC or ZTC if you haven’t already, so students know that your class has lowered that access barrier!
MiraCosta’s Online Education Tools
Click the link immediately after each bullet for a detailed MiraCosta-specific overview of each item below. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions about these or other resources.
Ally automatically converts content you share through Canvas into multiple formats for students, allowing for listening rather than reading and better access to content on mobile devices.
PlayPosit – This video interaction tool offers more complexity and options than Studio. Studio is a great place to start, but if you’re looking for more question types to add to your videos, PlayPosit is a great option.
Turnitin – help students learn to properly cite sources and avoid plagiarism. Also provides grading and peer review tools for written work.
Jim Julius, Ed.D. Faculty Director, Online Education