Minimum digital accessibility guidelines for IU courses

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Indiana University is committed to maintaining an inclusive and accessible environment across all its campuses. To help IU meet that obligation, instructors play a crucial role. When designing courses, instructors should be aware of and practice the minimal accessibility guidelines in the design, development, and selection of course content.


When creating or selecting course content, the following guidelines should be followed to ensure accessibility.

Learning tools

IU provides multiple tools and platforms for creating and selecting course content. Using tools outside of those provided by IU might produce inaccessible content with little to no ability to remediate and consequently place instructors in a difficult position when accommodation is requested.

When using IU-approved learning platforms, make sure to review their accessibility instructions and guidelines. To find information about the accessibility of IU-approved learning tools and platforms, use the Technology Tool Finder.


Use built-in headings based on the organizational hierarchy of your content to structure documents and web pages.


Use alternative text to describe the purpose of content conveyed by an image, imagining what text you'd provide if you were not using the image.

Use link text to describe a link's destination or function. For example, use "Read more about Psychology 1010" instead of "Click here" or "Read more".


Use text colors that strongly contrast with the background. Don't use color as the only way to identify something.


Format numbered or bulleted lists using the built-in list buttons.


Use the built-in table tool to format tabular data (not for page layout), and provide meaningful column and/or row headers to describe the data.

Video and audio

Make sure all videos are accurately captioned, and provide transcripts for audio-only files. Try sourcing video through the library, LinkedIn Learning, or IU eTexts instead of platforms like YouTube and Vimeo.

Library content

Instead of loading journal articles to Canvas, link to library content whenever possible. This keeps IU in license compliance with the database providers, and many databases have alternative formats for newer content available at the catalog link.

For more about linking to library resources, see:

For help linking to database content specifically, contact your campus library.

Math content

Ensure that any instances of math are presented as accessible math using Canvas or a Word document. For help, see:

Foreign language content

For text-to-speech technology to work correctly, mark up instances of foreign language as such using the language tools in Word or the Canvas HTML editor. For language markup in Canvas and Pressbooks, the ATAC recommends using the Language Markup Bookmarklet.

Get help

IU provides multiple resources for getting help creating accessible content. Some of those include:

  • Ally: At IU, Ally is available as a Canvas tool to help instructors address basic accessibility requirements. Ally can walk you through most of the common accessibility blockers your students will encounter. Instructors are encouraged to review the Ally instructor guide.
  • Microsoft 365: Microsoft builds accessibility assistance into many of their products. For quick solutions to common accessibility concerns when creating content, see Microsoft's accessibility video training .
  • Kaltura: Kaltura is IU's video solution. When a video is uploaded to Kaltura, Kaltura's artificial intelligence scans the video and creates captions. The accuracy rate varies depending on the quality of the audio source. Instructors should edit these captions to improve the accuracy for static content that will be used for multiple semesters.
  • Teaching and learning centers: IU's teaching and learning centers are staffed with instructional technology experts who can provide advice and guidance about basic accessibility and universal design for learning.
  • Assistive Technology and Accessibility Centers: The Assistive Technology and Accessibility Centers (ATAC) can provide training and guidance on how to create accessible materials and are familiar with most learning technology platforms. For questions about digital accessibility, contact the ATAC at

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Last modified on 2024-02-29 09:39:43.