Accessibility in Canvas

The following guidelines will assist you in creating accessible web pages in Canvas.

Canvas User Guidelines

Basic Principles of Accessibility

Follow these best practices to create a more accessible course:

  • Use header styles (paragraph, header 2, header 3, header 4) when creating subsections on a page.
  • Provide alternative text (ALT text) for images and charts.
  • Avoid communicating information with color alone.
  • Use formatted lists (bulleted or numbered).
  • Use descriptive web links—avoid using the entire URL or “click here.”

When Do I Need to Remediate?

When you have a student with a requested accommodation through the Miller Center for Student Disability Services (MCSDS), you need to provide ADA accommodations as directed in the letter from MCSDS and work with the Accommodations Coordinator for assistance. For questions about student accommodations, contact or call (513) 529-1541.

Otherwise, you can continue to use your existing materials without remediation. However, you should develop a plan to remediate over time, building new courses or adding new materials with accessibility in mind.

Accessibility Checker in Canvas: Ally

Miami University’s Canvas website has integrated an accessibility checker tool called Ally into all courses.

Note: Ally in Canvas is meant to be a guide, not a certification. It only checks for common accessibility issues and is not comprehensive; a clean report in Ally does not necessarily mean that your course is fully accessible. Likewise, the tool may indicate a possible accessibility issue where one does not exist.

Learn more about Ally

How to Create Accessible Content in Canvas

Creating Accessible Content in Canvas

Miami University ADA Compliance and Accessibility Best Practices Canvas Course Pages

Maintain a simple, consistent page layout throughout your web pages.

Miami Oxford Canvas Template provides a consistent page layout using the heading graphics.

Make sure there is enough contrast between the text and the page's background.

Online WebAIM color contrast checker.

Use Standard HTML code.

The Rich Content Editor in Canvas will help you format your content. It also allows you to switch to the default HTML code.

Caption video, and transcribe other audio.

See Canvas Learning U—Create Accessible Video Content.

Provide alternative text for every image. Users who cannot see images depend on authors to supplement images with alternative text that clearly describes the image.

While inserting an image in Canvas, you can type the Alt Text in the pop-up window.

Provide alternative text for infographics as well.

Depending on the course context, a surrounding paragraph on the same page may provide a better explanation than brief alt text alone.

Make links descriptive instead of the URL.

Use the link tools in the rich content editor to enter or break a web link.

Avoid PDFs by putting the content directly into the web page.

Copy and paste the PDF content on your web page.

Alternative Text in Canvas

  1. Use the embed image button on the second row of the Rich Content Editor toolbar.
  2. Describe the image in the Alt text field. Note: Alt text should not exceed 100 characters.
  3. If the image does not include instructional content, click the Decorative Image button.
  4. Click Update.

Color Contrast in Canvas

  1. Use the text color and background color buttons in the first row of the Rich Content Editor toolbar.
  2. Text color should be easily viewable and not the only indicator of meaning or function.
  3. The color balance should have at least a 4.5:1 ratio for small text and a 3:1 ratio for large text.
  4. Reference the WebAIM Color Contrast Checker when needed.

Headings in Canvas

  1. Format headings using the Paragraph down arrow button on the second row of the Rich Content Editor (last button).
  2. Avoid using styles (Bold and Italics) for document structure.
  3. Avoid using color alone for emphasis.

Links/Hyperlinks in Canvas

  1. Type the word(s) that describes the link or instructs students to do something with the link.
  2. Select the words you typed.
  3. Click the chain link button on the second row of the Content Editor toolbar and paste the URL.
  4. Click Insert Link to complete the process.

Tables in Canvas

  1. Use the table button on the second row of the Rich Content Editor toolbar.
  2. Build tables by selecting the boxes that represent rows and columns.
  3. Enter the text.
  4. Format the header row using the table properties under the table button-down arrow. The <th> codes below identify the header row. The number of columns is determined by the number of <th></th> lines.
  5. Avoid the use of tables with merged cells.

Create Accessible Files & Documents in Canvas

Best practices:

  • Use Microsoft Word or Google Docs documents that have been formatted with styles.
  • Students cannot change original files in Word, as those files will be downloaded.
  • When sharing Google Docs with students, provide View Only access.
  • Files and documents must be manually reviewed for accessibility even if they pass the UDOIT automated checker.
  • Contact your subject matter librarian in King Library for electronic accessible articles and resources.

Additional Resources

Please visit the following resources to learn more about document accessibility:

Create Accessible Video Content in Canvas

There are multiple ways to create and/or caption video content in Canvas to make it more accessible.

Create Videos with ScreenCast-O-Matic (Free tool)

  1. Go to ScreenCast-O-Matic
  2. Click Start Recording to start the application.
  3. Choose to record the computer screen, the webcam, or both.
  4. Change the size of the video.
  5. Click the REC button to start recording. Click Pause to temporarily stop recording.
  6. Click Done.
  7. Click Save As Video File. Save the video as .MP4 format.

Caption Your Video on YouTube

  1. Go to YouTube and log in to your Miami or Google account.
  2. Click Upload in the top-right corner and change the video privacy setting to Unlisted or Private.
  3. Click Upload to browse for the .MP4 video file.
  4. Wait for the video to be uploaded and processed (10-20 minutes of automatic captioning).
  5. Click My Channel on the left navigation and click Video Manager.
  6. Click the little triangle to the right of the Edit button, and choose Subtitles and CC. Use automatic captioning and edit, or create a new captioning.
  7. Click English (Automatic) and then click Edit to edit automatic captioning. Play the video and edit the captions line by line.
  8. Click Publish edits.
  9. Two versions of captioning will be listed. Click the one without Automatic.
  10. In the Actions tab, choose SRT and Save it.

Add a Caption File to Your Video on Kaltura (MyMedia) in Canvas

  1. In Canvas, go to Settings on the left (if you already have My Media and Media Gallery on the left navigation, skip to step 4).
  2. Click the Navigation tab.
  3. Drag and drop My Media and Media Gallery to the upper section, then Save.
  4. Click on my media in the left navigation My Media.
  5. Click Add New, then click Media Upload.
  6. Click Choose a file to upload.
  7. Wait for the video to be uploaded, type a tag (i.e., Course Number), then Save. The video may take 2-10 minutes to process before you can use it.
  8. To add the caption file, go to My Media and click Edit.
  9. Click the Captions tab below the video and then click Upload caption file.
  10. Select the SRT caption file created through the YouTube captioning process.
  11. Click Save.

Add Videos to Your Canvas Course Using MyMedia

  1. On any content page, click Edit. Click the blue V-shaped icon on the second row of the toolbar in the Rich Text Editor.
  2. Select Embed Kaltura Media.
  3. In My Media, locate the video, then click Embed. Save the page.
  4. Click the CC button at the bottom of the video to turn captions on/off.