Canvas End of Semester / Term

The following will help instructors understand how the end of semester is handled in Canvas, and how to update related Canvas course settings if necessary. By default, students who complete a class continue to have read-only access to the concluded class’s course materials, discussions, and grades. If you wish to restrict concluded class access, you must change the class settings before the end of the term, or get a Canvas administrator to help you after the end of the term.

Everything below applies to typical term-based Canvas classes. Canvas sandbox classes and Canvas shells used for organizations, departments, groups, etc. are not tied to any particular terms and thus remain available indefinitely.

Closing your Course

There is nothing you have to do to close your Canvas course; at the term end date (see below), your course will be set to Concluded status and moved onto the Past Enrollments course list for you and your students. By default you and your students will continue to have read-only access to the course.

Canvas Term End Dates

SemesterDateTime
Summer 2021August 23 12 am
Fall 2021Dec 3112 am
Spring 2022June 712 am

Concluded Course Access

For both instructors and students, concluded courses can be found by clicking Courses in the main Canvas menu, then the All Courses link. Concluded courses are listed there under Past Enrollments. Concluded courses may not be moved back onto the Dashboard – they must be accessed in this way.

Instructors can perform the following actions with a concluded course

Instructors cannot perform the following actions within a concluded course (do these before the end of the term!)

  • Edit course content
  • Edit Grades
  • View/download Analytics
  • View/download Item Analysis within Quizzes
  • Send a message to the class within Canvas
  • Change class access settings
  • Change class navigation

Students can perform the following actions by default within a concluded course

  • View Grades
  • View course content
  • View Discussions and Assignments
  • Send a message to the instructor

Students cannot perform the following actions within a concluded course

  • View Quiz questions and answers
  • Submit discussions, assignments, quizzes, and other course activities

Restricting Students from Viewing Some or All of a Completed Course

As described above, by default in Canvas, students have ongoing read-only access to course content in Canvas after the term ends. This can be a great feature, allowing students to review key learning resources from previous semesters. If, however, you wish to limit this access, follow one of the methods below before the end of the term. (If you need to make these changes to a course that is already concluded, contact Karen Turpin for assistance at kturpin@miracosta.edu or 760-795-6787.)

Method 1: Hide Course Navigation menu links

If an instructor would like to limit access to major areas of course content, one method is to hide Navigation menu links. Note that if Navigation menu links are hidden, the instructor will also be unable to access them after the course concludes. This may be appropriate if you would like to leave Grades available to students, yet close off certain course content. The instructor may copy the course into another course to regain access to hidden menu items.

How to hide Course Navigation menu links

  1. Click Settings in the Canvas course menu
  2. Click Navigation in the tabs at the top.
  3. Drag and drop the menu items from the top (viewable) area to the bottom (hidden) area or click the gear icon to the right of the menu item and select disable.
  4. Click the Save button.

Method 2: Hide select course content

For more fine-grained control, certain course content such as files, pages, modules, or module items (but not assignments or discussions where students have participated) may be unpublished. As with hidden Navigation menu links, unpublished items are also inaccessible to the instructor after the course concludes.

If you wish to hide course items where students have participated, such as discussions or assignments, you cannot unpublish those. But there is a trick: simply set the availability date to sometime far in the future.

These options may be useful if you want students to be able to access most course content, but have select content that you prefer not to be accessed/shared in the future. The instructor may copy the course into a current course to be able to revisit/reuse hidden content.

Method 3: Restrict students from accessing entire course after term end date

The term end date is the final date in the current semester as listed in the table above. If an instructor would prefer the entire course and its course materials not be visible to students after the term end date:

  1. Click Settings in the Canvas course menu.
  2. For Participation: Select Term (this should be selected by default)

3. Select the checkbox for ‘Restrict students from viewing course after term end date‘.

5. Click the Update Course Details button at the bottom of the settings page.

This option will completely remove the course from the student’s view in Past Enrollments after the end term date passes. Students will not see the course and will have no access to course materials or grades. Instructors will continue to be able to access the course in Past Enrollments.

Resolving Incompletes

If you have assigned a student an incomplete ‘I‘ grade for the semester contact Karen Turpin at kturpin@miracosta.edu or as soon as the paperwork is complete with Admissions and Records. Karen will create a new Canvas course section based on the original course.  This new section will allow the student access to the course with the ability to submit work, and will give you access to grade the student’s work, for the time allowable by the Office of Admissions and Records.

Working with Concluded Courses to Build New Courses

As noted above, you may always export a concluded course for import back into Canvas (Text instructions), or use a concluded course as the source for copying into a new course (Text instructions | Video tutorial). If you wish to update the content of a concluded course for use in the future, but you do not have a current term course in which to do that, you may wish to request a Sandbox course to copy into and work with, since you cannot edit a concluded course directly.

Teaching a short course and/or need to close your course prior to the official term end date?

You can manually end your course by updating the course end date.

To change the Course Start and/or End Date

  1. Click Settings in the Canvas course menu.

2. For Participation: Select Course

3. Change the Course Start and End Dates to reflect when you want students to have full access to the course.

4. Select the checkbox for ‘Restrict students from viewing course before course start date’ and/or select the checkbox for ‘Restrict students from viewing course after the course end date’.

In the example below, students will not be able to access the course, even if it is published, until Jan 16 at 12 pm. The students will no longer be able to participate in the course after May 30  at 12 pm and the course will not be visible to students in the ‘Past Enrollments’ list by clicking on Courses, then All Courses.

5. Click the Update Course Details button.

  • Note: If you select a course end date prior to the official end of term date, but do not check the box ‘Restrict students from viewing course after the course end date‘, students will still be able to actively participate in the course until the official Canvas end of term (as shown in the table above).

PlayPosit in Canvas

Playposit logo

PlayPosit is an interactive video learning tool that is fully integrated with Canvas. Playposit allows instructors to create activities using videos from 3C Media, YouTube, or other video sources.  

MiraCosta has piloted PlayPosit for several years. As of 2020-21, PlayPosit is now available to all MiraCosta faculty through a CCC system license.

PlayPosit allows you to:

  • Layer a variety of assessment activities within a video, creating a quiz with results going automatically into the Canvas gradebook. (Canvas Studio has similar functionality, but with fewer and simpler question types than PlayPosit.)
  • Track detailed viewing analytics for videos

PlayPosit Guides

See the Quick Start Guide, or view more detailed guides embedded below.

Building a Bulb in PlayPosit 3.0

CCC TechConnect – 3CMedia Hosted Video

Assigning Bulbs in Canvas

Monitor Analytics

Playposit in MiraCosta College Canvas

Playposit is an external tool. One of the most common places you will find it is within the RCE (Rich Text Editor).

New RCE

Additional Support

Microsoft Word 365 Accessibility

Accessible Documents with Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word includes options for adding accessibility information to documents to support access by individuals with disabilities. This information also ensures that Microsoft Word documents converted into other formats (e.g., tagged PDF, ePub, DAISY, etc.) maintain this level of accessibility. The best practices for Microsoft Word accessibility include attention to:

  • Headings & Structure 
  • Images
  • Links
  • Tables 
  • Color 
  • Accessibility Checker 
  • Exporting to Other Formats 

Structure 

Page structure provides visual references to help readers scan the content. Microsoft Word Accessibility can be improved by adding the following:

  • Headings
  • Lists 

Headings 

Headings can provide an organizational and navigational framework for a document’s content, communicating both the informational hierarchy and relationship between different sections. Headings also provide a simple mechanism for an individual using assistive technologies to “jump” from one heading to the next when navigating the document.

Microsoft Word Styles Pane shows all heading styles.
  1. From the Home tab, choose the Styles Pane. This will open the list of heading and other styles for use in the document. 
  2. Place focus on the appropriate content and choose the relevant heading style.
  3. Headings can be marked with the following 
    • Mac keyboard shortcuts:
      1. +Option+1 applies the Heading 1 style
      2. COMMAND +Option+2 applies the Heading 2 style
      3. COMMAND +Option+3 applies the Heading 3 style
    • Windows keyboard shortcuts:
      1. CTRL + ALT + 1 applies the Heading 1 style
      2. CTRL + ALT + 2 applies the Heading 2 style
      3. CTRL + ALT + 3 applies the Heading 3 style

Important considerations

Technical guidelines:
  • Headings should follow a logical structure that identifies content based on the organizational content and hierarchy of information in the document.
  • Avoid skipping heading levels – modify the style of the heading if you prefer a specific font or appearance.
Formatting guidelines:

For additional guidance on formatting, please review the information on Structure.

  • Headings should be short and succinct
  • To change the appearance of a heading, read Modify a Style for more information or follow the directions below:
    1. Highlight the heading.
    2. Use the font and formatting tools to change the appearance.
    3. Right-click the heading style.
    4. Select Update Heading to Match Selection. This option will automatically update all of the heading styles in the document to the desired format. 
In Microsoft Word, highlight the heading and format it as desired, then right-click the heading style and select Update Heading #  to Match Selection.
  • The default Heading 1 and Heading 3 styles lack sufficient color contrast.
In Microsoft Word, the default Heading 1 and Heading 3 font is light blue.  User darker text color for better contrast.

Lists

Lists provide a structured order to a group of connected or sequential content. A numbered or bulleted list may present the same information more effectively than simple data tables with fewer steps.

In Microsoft Word, use the built-in lists buttons to create an accessible list; these include Bullets, Numbering, and Multilevel List.

Lists in Microsoft Word

In Microsoft Word, select the grouped items, then select the appropriate list style.
  1. Highlight the grouped list of items.
  2. In the Home tab, select the appropriate list style (i.e, numbered list or bulleted list).

Important considerations

For additional guidance on formatting lists, please review the information on Structure.

List guidelines:
  • Remove any lists manually created, such as those using dashes or asterisk characters. Manual lists are not “true” lists.
  • Avoid using indentation to provide a visual list in lieu of the list style button.
  • Ordered or numbered lists are used to present a group of items (words, phrases, sentences) that follow a sequence
  • Unordered or bulleted lists are used for a group of items without a sequence
  • Lists should contain at least two or more list items, unless being used to create an outline.
  • Nested lists are acceptable, such as a numbered list that contains a nested bulleted list.

Images

Images that support the content require a text description (also called “alt text”) that communicates the purpose and/or content of the image. This information is presented to the individual using assistive technologies, allowing them to hear the description of the image. Image descriptions should be short and communicate the main purpose of the image. Images that are considered decorative can be marked as such and are ignored by assistive technologies.

If a longer description of the image is necessary to fully explain its content, consider inserting a more detailed description of the image within the document text that precedes and/or follows the image.

Adding Alt Text

In Microsoft Word, right-click the image and select Edit Alt Text.
In the Microsoft Word Alt Text window, write description in the alt text field.  In this case, the alt text is, “Two construction workers shaking hands.”
  1. Select and right-click the image.
  2. Select Edit Alt Text…
  3. Provide a brief and concise description and “X” or close the window. 

Marking a Decorative Image

In Microsoft Word, right-click the image and select Edit Alt Text.
In the Microsoft Word Alt Text window, select Mark as decorative for decorative images.
  1. Select the image. Right-click the image.
  2. Select Edit Alt Text…
  3. Select Mark as decorative and “X” or close the window. 

Important considerations

For additional guidance on writing effective text descriptions (i.e., alt text), please review the information on Images.

Technical guidelines
  • “Behind Text” or “In Front of Text” is not recommended due to how this format setting can obscure text and make the content difficult or impossible to read.
  • For older versions of Microsoft Word, leave the Title field bank, and only use the Description field for alt text.
Formatting guidelines
  • A text description should convey the purpose or content of the image in approximately 120 characters or less. Avoid repeating the same information as contained in the surrounding text.
  • If the image is complex, consider providing additional information in the surrounding text of the document while providing a shortened text description. 
  • Do not include the file format in the alt text (Example: .JPEG, .PNG)
  • Do not include “picture of” or “image of” in the alt text. 
  • For older versions of Microsoft Word, leave the Title field bank, and only use the Description field for alt text.

Hyperlinks

Documents containing hyperlinks to websites or other online resources can be improved by including hyperlink text that is understood by the reader. Using the full URL as the hyperlink text may not make sense to the reader, particularly if it is long. 

In Microsoft Word, right-click the hyperlink, then select Hyperlink, then Edit Hyperlink.
In the Microsoft Word Edit Hyperlink window, write text for the link in the Text to Display box, before selecting OK.
  1. Place the cursor anywhere on the desired hyperlink. Right-click the hyperlink.
  2. Select Hyperlink, then Edit Hyperlink.
  3. Under Text to Display, write the descriptive text for the hyperlink, keeping the text name short and descriptive. 
  4. Select OK.

Important considerations

Use link text that is descriptive and or informs the person as to the link’s destination. For additional guidance on formatting and why descriptive text is important for hyperlinks, please review the information on Links.

Tables 

Tables in Microsoft Word should be used for data and not layout purposes. An accessible table includes the following:

  • At least one header (row and/or column).
  • Alt Text description summarizing the table

Apply At Least One Header

To mark a header row for a data table:

  1. Select the table to reveal Table Design. (Note: this tab will only appear if the table is selected.) 
  2. In the far left-hand section, determine the required header type:
    • Header row: check the box Header Row.
    • Column header: check the box First Column.
In the Microsoft Word Table Design ribbon, to create a header row, ensure the Header Row box is checked.
  1. Highlight the header row of your table. Right-click the table. Select Table Properties.
    • In the Row tab, check the box Repeat as header row at the top of each page.
    • In the Alt Text tab, write a short, one sentence description of what the table information presents.
  2. Select OK
In Microsoft Word, after highlighting the header row, right-click and select Table Properties.
In the Microsoft Word Table Properties window, select the Row tab, then select Repeat as header row at the top of each page.

Alt Text description summarizing the table

In Microsoft Word, after highlighting the header row, right-click and select Table Properties.
In the Microsoft Word Table Properties window, select the Alt Text tab, then write the alt text the Description field.
  1. Right-click the table. Select Table Properties.
    • In the Row tab, check the box Repeat as header row at the top of each page.
    • In the Alt Text tab, write a short, one sentence description of what the table information presents.
  2. Select OK

Color 

Color can be an effective method to communicate ideas and draw attention to information. Ensuring there is sufficient contrast as well as using color in combination with other formatting can support a diverse campus community, including individuals with visual disabilities.

The Microsoft Word Text Highlight Color and Font Color buttons, found in the Home ribbon.

Contrast

When choosing colors to present text information in documents, choose color options that provide a contrast ratio of:

  • 4.5:1 for regular text
  • 3:1 for 18 point font and larger, or 14 point font and bold

In general, pastel colors or the “light” version of a particular color do not provide sufficient contrast against a white background.

Contrast ratios may be evaluated using tools such as:

Color and Formatting

When using color to indicate a specific condition or state, include some formatting attribute to also provide a distinguishing characteristic. For example, if a list of vocabulary words were identified only in red text, this could present difficulties for an individual who had some type of color-blindness.

Options to support accessibility can include a combination of color AND formatting, such as:

  • Red text with Bold formatting
  • Using an asterisk, brackets, or other annotation symbols in addition to color
Acronyms in Microsoft Word text, formatted for emphasis and accessibility, using parentheses, asterisks, bolded, and red font.

For more information on using color or these tools, please review the information on Color.

Accessibility Checker 

Microsoft Word features an accessibility checker that can assist in identifying accessibility issues. 

In Microsoft Word, select Review from the top ribbon, then the Check Accessibility button.
  1. On the ribbon, select Review.
  2. Select Check Accessibility.
  3. The Accessibility checker will appear on the right-hand side.
The Microsoft Word Accessibility report, showing accessibility errors.

Errors, Warnings, and Tips

The Accessibility Checker presents the results in a pane on the right-hand side of the interface. It organizes the results into three categories: Errors, Warnings, and Tips.

  • Errors – Must Fix
    Errors are issues which indicate content that contains an accessibility issue and is extremely challenging, if not impossible, to read or understand.

Note the following cannot be completely resolved – these results will continuously appear:

  • Warnings – Most Likely Will Need to Address
    Warnings indicate that the content may be challenging for individuals with disabilities to read or understand. Resolving some Warning may require the author to consider a different visual or organizational layout.
  • Tips – Very Helpful
    Tips are pointers intended to help you improve the user experience of your audience by streamlining and organizing your content in certain ways. Tips provide additional guidance and will appear depending on the content.

The Accessibility Checker is a good starting point towards identifying potential accessibility issues in a document. Microsoft continually updates the Accessibility Checker rules and so newer versions of Microsoft products may result in a different list of accessibility results. Using the Accessibility Checker can help identify some of the more significant accessibility issues present in a document.

Exporting to Other Formats 

Including accessible authoring practices into Microsoft Word documents allows for versions exported as other formats to retain most, if not all, accessibility features.

Important

Never choose a “Print” to PDF option in Office, or in any other program. A screen reader user may still be able to access the text of a PDF created in this way, but heading structure, alternative text, and any other tag structure will be lost.

Create PDF with MS Word 

Mac


For Mac users, read Microsoft Word’s Support for converting to PDF on your Mac for additional guidance. 

  1. In File, select Save As…
    In the Mac version of Microsoft Word, select file from the top ribbon, then Save As...
  1. Select PDF
  2. Select the radio button, Best for electronic distribution and accessibility (uses Microsoft online service).
    In the Save As window on the Mac Word, select PDF, ensure button, “Best for…” is checked, then select the Export button.
  3. Select Export.

Create PDF with Acrobat

It is easier to create an accessible MS Word document rather than trying to fix accessibility issues in a PDF document. 

In Word, use the Acrobat plug-in to create a PDF.  Select "Best for electronic distribution...", then Export.
  1. Use the Acrobat plug-in in the ribbon. Select the Acrobat tab.
  2. Select Create PDF.  
  3.  If using a Mac with Acrobat Adobe installed, select Best for electronic distribution and accessibility (uses Microsoft online service).
  4. Select Export.

PowerPoint Accessibility

Microsoft PowerPoint includes options for adding accessibility information to slides to support access by individuals with disabilities. This information also ensures that Microsoft PowerPoint files maintain a level of accessibility when converted into other formats (e.g., tagged PDF). The best practices for Microsoft PowerPoint accessibility include:

  • Structure
  • Images
  • Links
  • Tables
  • Accessibility Checker 
  • Exporting to Other Formats

Structure

In Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, the structure of the content can provide an organizational and navigational framework for individuals to understand the informational hierarchy and relationship between different sections of content. These structural elements can help determine the organization and logical reading order of the presentation for an individual using assistive technologies.

Slide Title 

The Slide Title is used to provide a heading for the slide’s content. Slide titles should be unique and descriptive to help users navigate to specific content on the slides. 

View and edit all titles quickly:

  1. Select View.
  2. Select Outline View.
  3. Edit the titles according.
The PowerPoint Outline View, slides should have unique titles.

If slide titles that are the same, provide a numerical reference to differentiate the first slide from subsequent slides. For example, if there are two consecutive slides that cover the same topic, “Muscle Atrophy”, consider using  “Muscle Atrophy 1” and  “Muscle Atrophy 2”.

Slide Layout 

Using preset slide layouts will automatically control the reading order and structure of content placed on the slide.

To choose a slide layout:

  1. To locate Slide Layout, select Home > select New Slide.
  2. Choose the slide layout that meets your needs.
PowerPoint built-in slide layouts, such as Title Slide, Section header, Title and body, etc.

For more information, read Microsoft’s support page Apply a slide layout.  

Managing Reading Order

If text boxes are separately created from the preset slide layouts, this information may not be in the correct reading order. If content is manually placed onto a blank slide, you will need to assess and manage the reading order using the Arrange button. 

PowerPoint Arrange button.

To review and fix reading order:

  1. Select Home > Arrange > Selection Pane 
  2. Reading order begins at the bottom of the list. First highlight the “Title” and use the Up Arrow to view the reading order on the slide. 
PowerPoint Selection Pane, showing the reading order of the slides, from bottom to top.

List

Use the built-in list styles to provide users additional guidance. 

Do the grouped items convey a process or have a logical sequence? Use the number list style.

Is this grouped list of items in no particular order? Use the bullet list style. 

Two PowerPoint built-in list styles buttons, Bullets and Numbering
  1. Select Home.
  2. Select either the bullet or number list style. 
In PowerPoint, highlight the text, then select button for the appropriate list style.

Images

Images that support the content require a text description (also called “alternate text”) to communicate the purpose and/or content of the image. Image descriptions should be short and communicate the main purpose of the image. If a longer description of the image is necessary to fully explain its content, consider alternate strategies outlined on the Images page.

To add the alternate text:

  1. Right-click the image.
  2. Select Edit Alt Text…
  3. In the Alt Text window, write a descriptive text. 
In the PowerPoint Alt Text window, write the alt text in the box.  In this case, the alt text is, “Man listening.”

For images that are not supplementary to the content, consider using the check box Mark as decorative.

In the PowerPoint Alt Text window, select Mark as decorative.

Important considerations

For additional guidance on writing effective text descriptions (i.e., alt text), please review the information on Images.

Formatting guidelines
  • A text description should convey the purpose or content of the image in approximately 120 characters or less. Avoid repeating the same information as contained in the surrounding text.
  • If the image is complex, consider providing additional information in the surrounding text of the document while providing a shortened text description. 
  • Do not include the file format in the alt text (Example: .JPEG, .PNG)
  • Do not include “picture of” or “image of” in the alt text. 
  • For older versions of PowerPoint, leave the Title field bank, and only use the Description field for alt text.

Hyperlinks

Documents containing hyperlinks to websites or other online resources can be improved by including hyperlink text that is understood by the reader. For instance, using the full hyperlink URL may not make sense to the reader without some context. 

In PowerPoint, highlight the desired hyperlink text, then select the Link button from the upper ribbon.
In the PowerPoint Insert Hyperlink window, type or paste the URL in the Address field, then select OK.
  1. Highlight the short descriptive phase or words that will become the descriptive hyperlink.
  2. Select the Link button in the menu.
  3. In the Address field, add the desired URL.
  4. Select OK.

For additional guidance, please refer to Links.

If the PowerPoint presentation is intended to also serve as a handout with resource hyperlinks, content authors may want to create a reference slide at the end that lists the full URL of the hyperlink. 

PowerPoint slide showing resource hyperlinks, with the full URLs visible.

Tables

When possible, use a simple table structure for tabular data. Using tables with split cells, merged cells, or nested tables can lead to issues with assistive technologies recognizing the appropriate column and row header information in a data table. 

Avoid using a table to manage layout. Instead, use a Slide Layout that orients content into the appropriate visual layout as desired. 

Tables should include the following:

  • At least one header (the row and/or column).
  • Alt Text description summarizing the table

Specify the Header

To mark a header row for a data table:

  1. Select the table to reveal Table Design. (Note: this tab will only appear if the table is selected.) 
  2. In the far left-hand section, determine the required header type:
    • Header row: check the box Header Row.
    • Column header: check the box First Column.
In PowerPoint, select the table to reveal the Table Design tab, then check the boxes for Header Row.

Add Alt Text

In the PowerPoint Alt Text window, write the alt text in the box.  In this case, the alt text is, “Sunflower growth (cm) based on fertilizer type.”

  1. Right-click on any of the white perimeter squares.
  2. Select Edit Alt text…
  3. Write descriptive Alt Text in the Alt Text field. 

For additional guidance, please read Complex Graphs and Layouts. 

Color

Color can be an effective method to communicate ideas and draw attention to information. Insufficient color and contrast can limit the ability of others to perceive and understand the presentation.

PowerPoint offers a variety of slide themes, but not all of these will provide sufficient contrast. To edit Slide Theme colors:

  1. Select Design > expand the Color Palette Menu to reveal available color combinations.
  2. Select Colors to review the pre-built color palettes or select Customize Colors…to create a slides that have appropriate color contrast.
In PowerPoint,expand the Color Palette menu to reveal built-in color combinations.

Select one with accessible contrast, or select Customize Colors… to manually select the colors. Alternatively, you can use other methods in Microsoft PowerPoint to remove or change the current theme in your presentation.

Accessibility Checker

Evaluate your PowerPoint accessibility using the Accessibility Checker. Please read Microsoft’s support to learn how to improve accessibility with the Accessibility Checker.

PowerPoint Check Accessibility button.

Errors, Warnings, and Tips

The Accessibility Checker presents the results in a pane on the right-hand side of the interface. It organizes the results into three categories: Errors, Warnings, and Tips.

  • Errors – Must Fix
    Errors are issues which indicate content that contains an accessibility issue and is extremely challenging, if not impossible, to read or understand.

Note the following cannot be completely resolved – these results will continuously appear:

  • Warnings – Most Likely Will Need to Address
    Warnings indicate that the content may be challenging for individuals with disabilities to read or understand. Resolving some Warning may require the author to consider a different visual or organizational layout.
  • Tips – Very Helpful
    Tips are pointers intended to help you improve the user experience of your audience by streamlining and organizing your content in certain ways. Tips provide additional guidance and will appear depending on the content.

The Accessibility Checker is a good starting point towards identifying potential accessibility issues in a document. Microsoft continually updates the Accessibility Checker rules and so newer versions of Microsoft products may result in a different list of accessibility results. Using the Accessibility Checker can help identify some of the more significant accessibility issues present in a document.

To check accessibility:

In PowerPoint, select the Review tab from the upper ribbon, then select the Check Accessibility button.

  1. Select Review.
  2. Select Check Accessibility
PowerPoint accessibility report, showing Errors, Warnings, and Tips.

Exporting to Other Formats 

Important

Never choose a “Print” to PDF option in Office, or in any other program. A screen reader user may still be able to access the text of a PDF created in this way, but heading structure, alternative text, and any other tag structure will be lost.

Creating a PDF 

Mac

Create PDF with PowerPoint using “Save As”

Users of PowerPoint for Mac should be cautioned that exporting to PDF will not yield an accessible, tagged PDF document, it must be remediated using Acrobat Pro.

Create PDF with Acrobat

  1. Use the Acrobat plug-in in the ribbon. Select the Acrobat tab.
  2. Select Create PDF.  
Create PDF button.
Acrobat Create PDF dialog box; select Yes.
  1. Adobe Acrobat will automatically open and present your content in PDF format. 

Windows

Create PDF with PowerPoint using “Save As”

  1. Select File > Save As 
  2. Select PDF > More options…
    In the Windows version of PowerPoint, select file, then Save As.  Choose PDF from the file format menu, then More Options.
    Alt Text: In the Windows version of PowerPoint, select file, then Save As.  Choose PDF from the file format menu, then More Options.
  3. In the Save As dialog, select Options.
    In the PowerPoint Save As window, select the Options button.
  1. Verify in Options dialog that Document structure tags for accessibility is selected. Select OK.
In the PowerPoint Options window, check the box for “Document structure tags for accessibility”.

Create PDF with Acrobat

PowerPoint Create PDF button.
  1. Use the Acrobat plug-in in the ribbon. Select the Acrobat tab.
  2. Select Create PDF.  

Windows

  1. Specify your flyer dimensions via the Design tab, select Slide Size > Custom Slide Size
  2. Determine the Width and Height in inches & select OK.
    Standard paper size:
    • Width: 8 in
    • Height 11 in
In the Windows version of PowerPoint, the Slide Size window will appear.  Adjust the Width and Length, and Orientation.

The Microsoft Powerpoint dialog will appear. Select Ensure Fit to avoid cropping out content from the slide size frame. 

A Microsoft PowerPoint dialog will appear, select “Ensure Fit”.

  1. Select Arrange to manage reading order. Apply accessibility principles such as alt text, descriptive hyperlinks,

Creating a Lecture Video of Your PPT presentation

Here are some guidelines for creating and posting PowerPoint lecture presentations. 

  1. Create a transcript to read from or prepare an outline of points to help you create concise videos.

    An audio recording needs a transcript to allow individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to access your content.

    The transcript is a text equivalent of the audio recording and should include not only the spoken information, but also identify any speakers or other sound effects as part of the recording. A transcript may be useful in its own right as a learning tool for students, who can read the text and search for keywords.
  1. When screencasting, provide a brief description of on-screen content and actions. This provides concept reinforcement and allows students to easily follow along whether they rely on listening or prefer to listen to just the audio to study. Read more about audio description.
  2. Provide your students an accessible version of your presentation and transcript (if available). 
Provide accessible PPT above the accompanying video lecture.

Google Docs Accessibility

Google Docs includes options for adding accessibility information to documents to support access by individuals with disabilities. The best practices for Google Docs accessibility includes attention to:

  • Headings & Structure 
  • Images
  • HyperlinksLinks
  • Tables 
  • Color 
  • Accessibility Checker 
  • Exporting to Other Formats 

Headings & Structure

Page structure provides visual references to help readers scan and organize the content.

Headings 

Google Docs Headings option

Headings can provide an organizational and navigational framework for a document’s content, communicating both the informational hierarchy and relationship between different sections. Headings also provide a simple mechanism for an individual using assistive technologies to “jump” from one heading to the next when navigating the document.

In the toolbar select the drop-down menu Styles button to reveal all headings. 

Google Docs heading styles menu includes Title, Subtitle, Headings 1-4, and Options.

To make an item a heading in Google Docs, select the Styles drop-down menu, located to the left of the font drop-down menu. 

Headings can be marked with the following 

  1. Mac keyboard shortcuts:
    • +Option+1 applies the Heading 1 style
    • COMMAND +Option+2 applies the Heading 2 style
    • COMMAND +Option+3 applies the Heading 3 style
  2. Windows keyboard shortcuts:
    • CTRL + ALT + 1 applies the Heading 1 style
    • CTRL + ALT + 2 applies the Heading 2 style
    • CTRL + ALT + 3 applies the Heading 3 style

Important considerations

  • Headings should follow a logical structure that identifies content based on the organizational content and hierarchy of information in the document.
  • Avoid skipping heading levels – modify the style of the heading if you prefer a specific font or appearance. 

Lists

Lists provide a structured order to a group of connected or sequential content. A numbered or bulleted list may present the same information more effectively than simple data tables with fewer steps.

Google Docs List style options for Bullet Lists and Numbered Lists.
In Google Docs, highlight the text to be made into a list, then select the desired list style.
  1. Highlight the grouped list of items.
  2. In the toolbar, select the appropriate list style (i.e, numbered list or bulleted list)

Images

Images that support the content require a text description (also called “alt text”) that communicates the purpose and/or content of the image. This information is presented to the individual using assistive technologies, allowing them to hear the description of the image. Image descriptions should be short and communicate the main purpose of the image. Images that are considered decorative can be marked as such and are ignored by assistive technologies.

If a longer description of the image is necessary to fully explain its content, consider inserting a more detailed description of the image within the document text that precedes and/or follows the image.

Adding Alt Text

Select “Alt text” in Google Docs to edit Alt text.
  1. Select and right-click the image.
  2. Select Alt Text.
  3. In the Description field, provide a brief and concise description and select OK.
    In the Google Docs Alt Text window, write the alt text in the Description box.  In this case the alt text is, “Two construction workers shaking hands.”

Important considerations

For additional guidance on writing effective text descriptions (i.e., alt text), please review the information on Images.

Technical guidelines
  • Refrain from placing information in the “Title” field. 
  • Text wrapping guidance
Formatting guidelines
  • A text description should convey the purpose or content of the image in approximately 120 characters or less. Avoid repeating the same information as contained in the surrounding text.
  • If the image is complex, consider providing additional information in the surrounding text of the document while providing a shortened text description. 
  • Do not include the file format in the alt text (Example: .JPEG, .PNG)
  • Do not include “picture of” or “image of” in the alt text. 

Hyperlinks

Documents containing hyperlinks to websites or other online resources can be improved by including hyperlink text that is understood by the reader. Using the full URL as the hyperlink text may not make sense to the reader, particularly if it is long. 

Google Docs Insert Link button.
  1. Place the cursor anywhere on the desired hyperlink. Right-click the hyperlink.
  2. Select Link
  3. Under Text to Display, write the descriptive text for the hyperlink, keeping the text name short and descriptive. 
  4. Select Apply.

Color 

Color can be an effective method to communicate ideas and draw attention to information. Ensuring there is sufficient contrast as well as using color in combination with other formatting can support a diverse campus community, including individuals with visual disabilities.

Google Docs Text color and Highlight color buttons.

Contrast

When choosing colors to present text information in documents, choose color options that provide a contrast ratio of:

  • 4.5:1 for regular text
  • 3:1 for 18 point font and larger, or 14 point font and bold

In general, pastel colors or the “light” version of a particular color do not provide sufficient contrast against a white background.

Contrast ratios may be evaluated using tools such as:

Color and Formatting

When using color to indicate a specific condition or state, include some formatting attribute to also provide a distinguishing characteristic. For example, if a list of vocabulary words were identified only in red text, this could present difficulties for an individual who had some type of color-blindness.

Options to support accessibility can include a combination of color AND formatting, such as:

  • Red text with Bold formatting
  • Using an asterisk, brackets, or other annotation symbols in addition to color
Add asterisk on colored text to enhance readability.

For more information on using color or these tools, please review the information on Color.

Exporting to Other Formats 

Google Docs to PDF

At this time Google Docs are not able to produce accessible PDF versions. If you export your Google Docs file as a PDF document, the accessibility information will not be included in the resulting PDF version. 

Alternatively, your Google Docs can be downloaded and uploaded into Microsoft Word. 

Google Docs File drop-down menu, showing the option to download as a Microsoft Word document.

In the toolbar menu, select File > Download > Microsoft Word (.docx).  

In Microsoft Word, run the Accessibility Checker, and address any accessibility issues before exporting to a PDF.  

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