Teaching Online

Creating Accessible Course Content

As 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 with this, please read the most recent provost letter (PDF) sent to UCF faculty regarding ADA-compliant course materials (August, 2013). A similar such notice has been distributed annually to UCF faculty since August, 2011.

You might find it informative to review the Accessibility and Content in the Online Course Environment seminar archive page for recordings and handouts related to this topic.

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, click on the appropriate link below.

If you would like to create…

Accessible Pages in Webcourses@UCF (Canvas)

Go to Document Formatting Guidelines

About Pages:  Webcourses@UCF (Canvas) Pages are the preferred format to present content in your online course since they have HTML code behind the scenes. As a result, the Pages can be opened quickly using any internet browser, do not require additional software in order to view them, and can be easily navigated by screen readers when formatted properly.

Accessible PDF documents when starting with a Word document or an existing PDF document

Go to PDF Formatting Guidelines

About PDF documents: PDF documents may be appropriate to use if the document is a form, historical document, or if the document has has a complex layout. PDF documents can be created to be accessible, however, they are not as navigable with a screen reader as HTML and require Adobe Reader in order to view them.

Assessments (Quizzes or Surveys)

Go to Quiz Formatting Guidelines

About Quizzes or Surveys: You may create quizzes, anonymous surveys, and self-tests for your online course. Although you may create these assessments directly in Webcourses@UCF, we recommend that you use a software program called Respondus to help you create these assessments quickly and efficiently. UCF has a site license for Respondus and is available for UCF faculty to use free of charge.

Accessible Multimedia Elements

Go to Accessibility Tips


Burgstahler, S. (2010). Equal Access: Universal design of instruction. In DO-IT: Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology. Retrieved from http://www.washington.edu/doit/Brochures/Academics/equal_access_udi.html#f3