Best Practice Guidelines on Creating Accessible Digital Content

Course Materials

The following sections address various course related content that might be available digitally, in print, or both. The best practices related to each section is a starting point from which accessible content be created. For further information, please see the listed resources. AEC’s accessible technology and digital content staff are available for consultation via Broader University related information and resources on this topic are also available through the University of Oregon accessibility page as well as the University of Oregon Libraries page.

Course Syllabus

When creating a course syllabus, it’s best practice to use a text editing software program (like Word) to author the document so that you can easily export to both an accessible editable format, available broadly or by request, as well as a not as easily editable format if you choose.

The use of Styles (for navigational access), alt-text (for contextual information regarding an image), hyperlinks, accessibility checker tools, and other accessibility related topics and how-to's using MS Word can be found at this link.


A note on textbooks and other books used in class. Providing students with purchase options opens up many possibilities for individual accommodations as well as potentially accessible options. Best practice around textbooks and other books is to provide/publish the ISBN information about books used in class as early as possible. Having extra time is critical to the accommodations process of creating specialized accessible versions of course materials. Providing book information also allows for the more accessible practice of allowing each student to procure the type (print, digital, specialized, etc…) of format they prefer or require.

Course packets

When providing course packets or any hard copy or digital compilation of articles, excerpts, or other reading materials it’s best practice to provide the source (citation, web address, etc…). Failing that, please provide clean, editable digital copies that follow copyright laws and standards.


Any print handouts, quizzes, and exams used in class should also be available to students with AEC accommodations in an editable, digital format. Similar to textbooks, time and timing are critical factors when creating accessible versions of these materials. Best practice regarding these materials are similar to the materials listed above.


More information about copyright can be found through various University of Oregon resources. UO copyright Clearance Services,  UO Libraries, and UO Innovative Partnership Services are some areas you may find more information and resources about copyright.



For more information regarding web accessibility of Canvas and other course related websites or learning management systems, please see the University of Oregon University Communications website


Any videos shown in class or posted to course websites or learning management systems like Canvas need to contain captions. More information about captioning media can be found on the University of Oregon AEC webpage about captioning.

Visual materials

It’s best practice to provide description, contextually accurate information when using visual materials. Visual materials may include images in documents you author. In this case, use of alt-text is critically important for accessibility of non-design elements. Visual materials may also include things like lecture slides used in class. In this case, having digital copies of slides available for accommodations requests well ahead of time is critically important. Visual materials may further include things like demonstrations or references to physical objects within the room or learning space. In this case, describing these objects while also limiting use of only visual cues (such as only pointing at an object, using pronouns to refer to things, etc…) allows for a more accessible presentation of these visual components.

Audio Materials

It’s best practice to include transcripts for audio media and captions for videos with audio. Please see the AEC website for more information about real-time and media captioning accommodations as well as sign language interpreting accommodations.