Tips for Accessible Course Design

By October 9, 2017 No Comments

Ensuring your course content is accessible to all types of learners is no easy task. However, many institutions are unaware of the accessibility tools available within the Atto text editor for Moodle. In this post we wanted to share some formatting tricks that make it easier than ever to make your courses accessible…

Tip #1: Use existing header formatting tools within the Atto HTML text editor.

Start with h3/s; h4/m; h5/l within your weeks or topics, as h1 and h2 are already in use automatically throughout the course site.

Tip #2: Provide alternative text for images.

The alt text doesn’t need to include “image of…”, this becomes redundant based on the way the screen reader technology recognizes images and graphics.

Tip #3: Use descriptive links.

  • Give links a display name, instead of pasting an actual URL, as the screen reader software will attempt to read off the entire thing.
  • If using images as links, the alt text should describe where the link navigates to, not what the image is.
  • Also avoid creating “click here” hyperlinks…the user should be able to tell based on the text alone where it is going to take them.

Tip #4: Use Atto tools to create ordered/unordered lists.

Create ordered/unordered lists so that they are properly formatted and can be appropriately recognized by screen readers.

Also, opt for lists instead of tables whenever possible. But if you do create tables, use captions and define table headers for columns and rows so that they are properly formatted and can be seen at quick glance and appropriately recognized by screen readers.

Tip #5: Use the Atto equation editor to construct equations.

Use the Atto equation editor to construct equations with WYSIWYG editor buttons or copy/paste TeX notation. The MathJax filter is another great tool that can be enabled to enhance equation editing within Atto.

editor filter

As you can see from the tips above, the Atto text editor that is default within Moodle provides many of the tools you need to design your course content with accessibility in mind.

Another great resource for students who may need accommodation is the Accessibility Block plugin available for Moodle. This block allows users to customize Moodle to their visual needs, supporting changes of text sizes and color schemes.


To chat more about accessibility and best practices for universal course design, speak with one of our experts.

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