Accessibility & Moodle

In-built features

Moodle has a number of in-built features that contribute to its accessibility.

  • The breadcrumbs menu at the top of the screen helps users to find their way around the site more easily.
  • It is possible to navigate through Moodle using just keyboard shortcuts in most cases.

When creating content in Moodle you will notice:

  • You are prompted to add alt text when you add an image to a page.
  • You are prompted to add captions and define header rows when you add a table.
  • There is an accessibility checker and screen reader helper available in the text editor.

An Accessibility block has also recently been added to Moodle and you can choose to add this to your Moodle site.

This block allows users to modify Moodle to make it more accessible.

There are options to change the colour scheme, to make text smaller or bigger and to save these settings for the next time you log in to Moodle.

Watch this video to see how to add the Accessibility block:

Through the Accessibility block, users can also launch an AT bar which offers further customisation of Moodle including filters, a text to speech function and a dictionary.

 

Organisation and content

Even if the platform itself has a number of accessibility features, the way a Moodle module is organised and the content that is uploaded to the site have a major impact on accessibility.

One important consideration is to always provide a short introduction to the module as well as contact details for any module tutors.

You can learn about how to make the documents that you upload to Moodle accessible by watching this video about creating accessible documents in Microsoft Office on Lynda.com. We will be providing a review on this video in tomorrow’s post.

The University of Minnesota has provided this useful checklist which you could use to check that you are doing as much as possible to make the content on your Moodle site accessible.

Manual audit checklist

Make sure that:

1. Individual documents linked to the site are accessible
2. Hyperlinks are discrete and descriptive
3. Colour is not used alone to identify important information
4. All text manually entered into Moodle (in quiz questions, Pages, Book, Lesson, Label, and etc.) are structured using HTML headings
5. Heading rows in tables are identified, and tables are only used to display data rather than as means of page layout
6. Images have descriptive text, preferably as part of a caption that all users can view, or as alternative text
7. Videos are captioned and transcripts are available
8. Quizzes don’t use the drag-and-drop question types (because this question type is not accessible if you are working with keyboard shortcuts only)

 

Universal Design for Learning

Glenna Shaw states that ‘accessibility is all about making something easily available for as many people as possible. It’s about ability, not disability’.

As content creators and curators within Moodle, it is of course always desirable to make content available and easily accessible to as many people as possible.

As well as taking into consideration the practical steps laid out above to make your Moodle site accessible, it is also useful to consider how the content of your Moodle site fits in with Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

UDL states that you should provide all students with multiple means of representation, expression and engagement.

  • Provide course content and resources in several formats
  • Give learners different ways to demonstrate what they’ve learned
  • Use multiple strategies to engage learners and motivate participation

In his course on Teaching with Technology, Kevin Kelly suggests that you should ask yourself three questions in order to ensure that you are providing content that will be accessible to the greatest number of students:

Do you present content and information in different ways?
Do you engage and motivate students in different ways throughout the term?
Do you allow students to show what they know in different ways?

You might want to use this Checklist_for_inclusive_teaching to consider to what extent your teaching fits in with the recommendations of UDL to provide an inclusive learning experience. While not all the points are focused on online learning, most of them are relevant.

If you have any questions about making your Moodle site more accessible please get in touch with the TEL team and we would be happy to look through your Moodle site with you or organise further training.

 

References

Kelly, K. (2018) Teaching with Technology. Online course. Available at: https://www.lynda.com/Educational-Technology-tutorials/Foundations-Teaching-Technology/360035-2.html
Shaw, G. (2018) Creating Accessible Documents in Microsoft Office. Online course. Available at: https://www.lynda.com/Office-tutorials/Welcome/614288/672174-4.html
University of Minnesota (2018) Accessible U. Available at: https://accessibility.umn.edu/instructors/moodle

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