Instructional Design Strategies to Make Content Accessible in Canvas – Tera Lisicky

September 11, 2019 posted by


I know this is towards the end
of the last day of InstructureCon, so I didn’t expect a full room. Thank you so much. I am Tera Lisicky, as Kate had mentioned. I have been in instructional design for over
12 years, and I came into online as a student about 16 years ago, and I’ll talk about
that later on. Thank you for joining us in the recording. I know my mic wasn’t on a minute ago. So, today we’re going to be talking about
instructional design strategies to make content accessible in Canvas. I just want to preface this presentation by
saying that I am just one of the puzzle pieces, as Chris mentioned yesterday in his presentation
that I will provide a link to, as well. I might not have all the answers, but I hope
that I can provide you with some passion and motivation to get started, and together we
can work and create an awesome puzzle. I wanted to start with Simon [phonetic][01:06]
Sinic and [phonetic][01:07] Brian Kick, my old supervisors here. I was introduced to Simon Sinic during one
of our Avid summits, so I really like what his message is, and so if you haven’t already
read his book, “Start With Why”, I highly suggest it. We’re going to go over it a little, very
fast, so you can get some motivation and remember what your passion is, as to why you are here. Every organization and individual knows what
they do. For an organization, these are the products
they sell, or the services they offer. For an individual, it is their job, title
or roles. So, mine would be an Instructional Design
Contractor working with faculty. Some organizations and individuals know how
they do what they do. They may call it differentiating value proposition,
proprietary processes or unique selling propositions. The “hows” are an organization or individual’s
strengths, values or guiding principles. These are the things they feel set them apart
from their competition — so, the things they think make them special or different
from everyone else. Very few people know why they do what they
do. They can’t articulate it. So, “why” is a purpose. It’s a cause or a belief, and it provides
a clear answer to your questions of, “Why do you get out of bed every morning? Why does your organization exist, and why
should that matter to anyone else?” Making money is not a “why”. Revenues, profits, salaries and monetary measurements
are simply results of what we do. This is the reason why we can say that people
don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. So, what you do simply serves as tangible
proof of what you actually believe. Let’s revisit your passion. What is your “why” statement? Your “why” statement is a sentence that
simply expresses your unique contribution and impact. The impact reflects the differences of what
you want to make the world. The contribution is the primary action you
take towards making that impact. Together, these two components provide a filter
through which you can make decisions every day, and act with purpose. My “why” to be in online is, I was 14,
I was a sophomore in high school, I was walking on a crosswalk with my girlfriend, and I was
hit by a car. I broke my C2 on both sides. It’s a “hangman’s fracture”. It’s the same break that can kill you, and
it’s what Christopher Reeve had. I’m very fortunate to even be moving my
arms today. So, I feel like I have a purpose to be here. This is my passion, and my unique contribution
is to remind you all why you became teachers, instructional designers and administrators,
to make a difference in students’ lives. You all made a difference in my life. Without each and every one of you, I wouldn’t
have been able to finish high school. Back then, they didn’t have virtual high
schools. They had community college classes online,
and so my wonderful guidance counselor told me to take those classes, and it counted for
both my high school and college credits. So, I was driven. You know, I couldn’t get out of bed for
three months. I was in a hospital bed. I was in a neck brace. I was just pretty much immobilized. I couldn’t even shower, and so online classes
gave me a purpose to wake up every morning and continue my schooling, when everyone told me that I should just take
a year off of high school. Even so, when I did that, I still continued,
for many years, to go to the children’s hospital every day to see a different specialist. I did biofeedback, did chronic pain management,
and saw a neurologist. I suffered, and was a student with Disabled
Student Services for quite some time. That is why I’m here. I knew that technology was going to get better,
and I can continue watching the trends, and I can help implement that and make technology
easy for all of you to understand. Canvas has made a simple software for us to
each utilize in our own classrooms, and for those of you watching who don’t have it
in your schools, you can get a free-for-teachers account today, and you can utilize it and
see how awesome it is, and share it with your colleagues. So, today, my purpose and my contribution
is to teach accessible instructional design, so that all students have access to meaningful
and memorable learning. I wanted to share a few quotes before we get
into the “how”. Steven Baumer says, “Accessible design is
good design. It benefits people who don’t have disabilities,
as well as people who do. Accessibility is all about removing barriers
and providing the benefits of technology for everyone.” Deborah [phonetic][06:24] Ruh says, “Accessibility
allows us to tap into everyone’s potential,” and Steve Krug says, “The one argument for
accessibility that doesn’t get made nearly often enough is how extraordinarily better
it makes some people’s lives. How many opportunities do we have to dramatically
improve people’s lives, just by doing our jobs a little bit better?” I wanted to give a shout-out to Chris from
Utah State University, who did an amazing presentation on accessibility yesterday. I attended it, and made sure that there was
no overlap, so you guys can get the most of these 40 minutes. If you guys want access to his materials,
you’ll be able to watch the recording in a few weeks — or now, if you’re watching
this recording — and you can go to his Bit.ly, that has links to his slides and great information
on Blackboard Ally, University of Central Florida’s You Do It, and City Labs’ Design
Tools. These are tools that you can use, and they
will measure how accessible your course is, and teach you how to fix them — if not,
fix them. So, I am going to teach you how you can design
it correctly the first time, so we’ll go over that as well. Since I’m from the California Community
Colleges, I wanted to give a shout-out to [phonetic][07:44] Jaime Johnson. He is our Director of Accessibility and User
Experience with the California Community College Online Education Initiative. We are 114 colleges in California, and so
he has put together some amazing resources. They are Creative Commons, so you all can
have access to that. It’s a Canvas course, and it has wonderful
screenshots and descriptions of how, why and who. So, it’s great. It’s in there. Then, [phonetic][08:12] Shawn Keegan — he
is responsible for our CCC Accessibility Center. This is another website you can check out,
and again, all of our work is grant-based, so it’s open for you all to utilize, and
a huge shout-out — these guys have taught me so much. When I send them an email, they get back to
me, and I’ve learned a lot, so I’m very grateful to have them as resources. Within our California Community Colleges Online
Education Initiative, as [phonetic][08:42] Lene mentioned in her 10-10-10 presentation
yesterday, we have an OEI course-design rubric. So, we’re going to be focusing on what the
rubric says is good accessibility. This again is open. Here’s a Bit.ly to go to the rubric. We’re just going to be focusing on Section
D. As an instructional design contractor with
OEI and [phonetic][09:06] App One, I’ve been able to work with many faculty throughout
the state, and help them get to where they need to be to pass their course through our
online course exchange. So, they need to meet specific criteria, which
would be heading styles, lists, links, tables, color contrast, color and meaning, and images. We’re going to learn how to do each and
every one of those today, within Canvas, and it will be very quick, I promise. The first one is content pages with our heading
styles. So, you’ll notice that the table with our
online course design guide has three columns. It has “incomplete”, “aligned” and
“not applicable.” As the course reviewers go through our courses,
or as we self-audit our courses that we have designed, as faculty within our state design
their own courses, or as an instructional designer at your own institution, if you are
the curriculum developer making all of it happen, this can be a guide you can follow
as you audit your own course content, or content you receive from publishers or other parties
— or maybe you found something amazing within the Canvas Commons, but you don’t know if
it’s accessible. You can go through the checklist and just
make sure you’re not missing a beat. The content pages that we’re looking at
with heading styles — we want to make sure that they consistently use headers with Heading
2, 3 and so-on. Here is a quick screencast. These are all less than a minute, and these
will be available. I will provide them within the Canvas community,
and we can also continue that discussion within the community. I’m going to go ahead and play it for you. Screencast 1: As you go through your course,
let’s take a look at text styles. “Edit”…I’ve done some example text
for the purpose of this video. Let’s pretend that we are a screen reader. We want to hop from section to section within
the course. It is important to use headers, so that they
don’t have to read everything that’s on your page over and over again. Think of these as bookmarks. So, when we look at our heading 2, we’ll
be able to select it, find the drop-down where it says “paragraph”, and select “Header
2”. Now we’ll select heading 3, find the drop-down,
and select “Header 3”. We will highlight heading 4, select the drop-down
to find “Header 4”. Say we want to change up the style a little
bit, in terms of how we can see it visually. You can still change the font size. So, if I select the text, I can still go over
here and make it as small or large as I would like. You can do these for all of the headers below. Please make sure that when you use headers,
that you go in order, not skipping a level. So, our content page will always be a Header
1, for the title, and then make sure that you go from a Header 2, to a 3, to a 4. Thank you so much, and let’s make it a great
course. Tera: Okay. That is the longest screencast, I promise
you. You can tell I just made that today. I’m wearing that. I almost forgot headers, so thanks for letting
me update the PowerPoint. Alright. Now we have — our next [phonetic][13:12]
D2, when we go through our checklist, is “lists.” When I go through faculty’s course, and
even some of my own stuff, I’m known to just do dashes, because I think they’re
pretty, but we want to make sure that we use the bullets and the numbers within Canvas. I’m going to show you, quickly, how to do
that. Here we go. Oops…I went out of order. Okay. Here we go. It’s right here. Screencast 2: As you go through your course,
you might notice that you’ve created lists. Be sure that you use the rich-text media editor
to create those lists. This is essential for screen readers to know
you’re about to list off some essential items. Here, I’m going to select my list, select
either “bulleted list” or “numbered list.” These are step-by-step directions, so I’m
going to select “numbered list.” I’m going to remove the dashes, and voila
— it’s done. Tera: Okay. Now I’m going to back up. Sorry. So, now we have links, When we have links
within our course, I mean, I — up until I received the opportunity to be a part of
this project, I was known to say, “Click here,” and you’re not supposed to do that,
because not everyone can actually click. They’re going to be using their keyboards,
or they’re going to be telling their computer to select things, so I like to use “select.” I still have to proof my videos that I make,
and make sure I’m not saying “Click here.” I probably have said it since I’ve learned
it, so it’s just a continual battle that I’m trying to fix, myself. So, you might notice it within your courses,
or within other people’s courses that you’re adopting. Links need to be descriptive, so avoid redundancy. Links need to have context. What are they about to click on? We’re not going to have the screen reader
read a really long URL, which you’re about to see. Screencast 3: As you go through your course,
look for links that you may have shared with your students. Let’s provide context to these links. “Edit”…within the rich-text media editor,
highlight the link. On a Mac, “Command K” or on a PC, “Control
K” will bring up this pop-up. Let’s edit the text to display, to add context. “Target”…”new window”…”OK”…”save”. Tera: You may have noticed I did a shortcut. It’s “Command K” on a Mac, or “Control
K” on a PC. Otherwise, if you just use the link that’s
within the rich-text media editor, you’re not going to be able to do a target of the
new window, so I like that option. Otherwise, you have to go into the HTML editor,
do some code, and do “target” and “link”, or “_link”…I don’t even remember,
because I’m doing this all the time. It’s a great resource, and I’ve noticed
you can use it in a lot of other websites, not just Canvas, and so I really like that
tip. Now we have tables. Whew. Tables — many of us have used tables for
layout, because it’s pretty. It’s nice, but when you go and look on your
tablet or your other mobile device — your phone — you’ll notice that if you’re
using them to display pictures in a pretty arrangement, it’s not going to look pretty. We want to make sure that when we’re using
“add tables” that we are using it for data, and putting the headers in there. I’ll teach you how to do that. Then, when you get into the layout, that just
gets a little fuzzy. I’ll leave that to the accessibility super-duper
experts, such as Chris. So, here we go. This is super simple. You don’t even have to know how to code. No [phonetic][17:38] “TH” in your code. Oops. Screencast 4: As you go through your course,
you might notice tables. Let’s make sure that each of your tables
are properly formatted. Let’s give this column context. Highlight the top row…”table”…”row”…”row
properties”…”row type”…”header”…”OK”…”save”. Tera: That was something super simple, and
Lene, who’s in this audience, actually taught me how to do that, so thank you. Now we have color contrast. Canvas has built-in features that we can turn
off and on ourselves, and we can teach our students how to do that, but we need to make
sure that if we are putting images within out own Canvas course, the wave tools and
all the accessibility checkers might not be able to read if you actually have the correct
contrast. So, let’s go ahead and see how we can turn
that on and off for our own personal profile settings. Screencast 5: Canvas has truly thought of
it all. If you have a student that needs high contrast,
you can tell them to go to their personal settings. They can get there by going to “account”…“settings”. Once in their settings, they’ll go down
to “feature options”. “High-contrast UI” is an option that can
be toggled on and off. Once they’ve toggled it on, it will [sic]
auto-magically select “high contrast” for everything that’s in the course. Keep in mind, if you’ve uploaded images,
those images cannot convert to high-contrast. This just involves any colors that you’ve
used with the rich-text media editor and HTML. Enjoy. Tera: Alright. I don’t actually have a video for color
and meaning. We just need to make sure that we have visual
elements — the color and the bolding, all the caps — they’re not used for the sole
purpose of conveying purpose or meaning, because our screen readers aren’t going to be able
to translate that. If they have purpose and meaning, make sure
that’s a header, and draw attention to that, so we can skip and review that again. If it needs to be, “Hey, if you’re going
to bold it, should this be a header?” If you’re really trying to target your students
to pay attention to something like due dates or late policy, you’ll want to — instead
of making it super pink and bold and big, we want to make sure that we use the proper
formatting so that it’s acceptable to everybody, so it stands out for everyone. Images — we want to make sure that we have
our [phonetic][20:51] alt-text going. So, I’m going to show you how to do that. Screencast 6: As you go through your course,
you might have images. Let’s make sure that we have alt-text on
all these images to provide context to our screen readers. “Edit”…select the image…”embed image
icon”…under “attributes”, “alt text”. Let’s provide some context for this photo. We can move this box around so we can remind
it of what we’re actually looking at. After we’ve written it out, “update”…and
“save”. When we use the wave tool, we’ll quickly
be able to preview our alt text. So, if you’re auditing your whole course,
you can use the wave tool for each page, instead of having to click “edit”. Tera: This is what I do if I’m reviewing
a course. I just use the wave tool, because sometimes
I don’t have editing privileges, so if I want to make sure that the instructor has
used the proper accessibility formatting, I can just look really quickly to see if they’ve
used headers, and if they’ve described their images, and they’ve actually conveyed what
the meaning is, and if it’s just decorative, it would be hopefully not in the course, or
in double quotes, but Canvas does that automatically if you erase it, so…whew. Now we have those of you who upload media
in your course using the rich-text media editor tool. This is not instructions if you’re using
outside media and embedding it from YouTube and Vimeo. If you need resources on that, contact me. I have videos already made for this. Since this presentation is within Canvas only,
I recorded something within Canvas, and I’ll show you how I’m going to add captions to
it. In Arc — if you guys caught one of the keynotes
— I love that one provider they’ve chosen has the auto-captioning that’s over 90-percent
accurate. I would love to get my hands on that. Screencast 7: As you go through your Canvas
course, you might notice that you have included videos. So, particularly speaking about the videos
that you have uploaded directly into Canvas, or those that you have recorded directly into
Canvas using their rich-text media editor tool. The way that you can add captions to it is
by clicking previewing the video…[crosstalk][23:43] select “CC”…select “upload subtitles”…and
now Canvas provides us three steps to create a subtitle file for our video. Video: Energy — we would all — Screencast 7: Then, we can upload it here. So, if we already have an SRT file, we can
upload it and skip to step three. Once you’ve created your SRT file, you can
select your language, select the file, and upload. Tera: Okay. I know we’re just talking about Canvas,
and what we can do within Canvas, but many of you also have files you may have uploaded,
or been given by your publishers, if you have a cartridge. So, I’m going to talk about that quickly,
in the next two slides, under two minutes. Screencast 8: As you go through your course,
pay close attention and look out for any files that you may have uploaded and shared with
your students. These files, if they were uploaded, and they
were not accessible, they still won’t be accessible within your Canvas course. Here is a PDF that I uploaded to my course. When I checked it for accessibility within
Adobe Acrobat, it was not 100-percent accessible. As you look through the information, you might
ask yourself, “Could this information be best represented in a webpage, instead of
within a PDF embedded within our page?” My answer for this one is “yes”. We can absolutely take the image and content,
and plop it into a Canvas page, and make it look awesome. This way, both your visual and non-visual
students will receive the content in the best way possible. It will be clean, easy to navigate through,
and to access. Tera: Okay. If you wanted to fix those files, here’s
how to quickly check that. Screencast 9: Files within your course — now,
I’d love to see these files be converted to content pages, but if you don’t have
time, here’s what you can do. If you’ve received files from your publisher,
or if you have files that you’ve used for many years, and you don’t have time to convert
them to content pages just yet, let’s open them up within Word, PowerPoint and Adobe
Acrobat, and check the accessibility, and fix as much as possible. Here I have Word open. It’s a blank document. If you had your document open, you would go
to the “review” tab, and then you’d select “check accessibility.” The accessibility checker would provide you
with information on what needs to be updated in order to be accessible. Awesome. Now, let’s look at our PowerPoint. If we go to the “review” tab also, we’ll
be able to click on “check accessibility”. We have some errors, so here, we can start
to edit and make changes. It’ll tell you why to fix it, and the steps
of how to fix it. It’s pretty awesome. Now, let’s take a look at Adobe Acrobat. Here’s a PDF. We’ll go to “tools”…”accessibility”…”full
check”…”start checking”. Now we have items that we need to update. We can right-click on it, we can fix them,
or we can have the “explain why it needs fixing”, so we know how to fix it. Great. Now you know how to update those files, and
then re-upload them into your Canvas course, if they’re already in there. Great job. Enjoy. Tera: I want to leave you with two of my favorite
accessible design quotes. [phonetic][27:54] Leana Watson says, “What
a difference we could make if we designed like we give a damn.” I love that. I’ve heard, “Code like you give a damn,”
“Program like you give a damn,” but let’s design like we give a damn, and remember why. The Maharashtra Dyslexia Association says,
“If I can’t learn the way you teach, will you teach me the way I can learn?” When I was going through this, I was like,
“I think I may have been dyslexic as a child.” I always struggled. I didn’t like reading, so online education
really helped me get over that. So, “If I can’t learn the way you teach,
will you teach me the way I can learn?” I just need to always remember that. So, let’s continue the conversation. Let’s keep the momentum going. We have our hashtags for the conference, and
then accessibility. You can tweet me @nerdtera if you want to
connect with me, if you want any of the resources. I need to caption them, and then the conference
will also be uploading this, and captioning the whole presentation, if you wanted to review
it, or if you just loved it so much. These will be available as mini-videos, as
well, once I caption them, and I’ll put them on my website. Also, for those of you that were in here,
my superpower, which hopefully I accomplished a little bit of, was to provide you some fizzy
powder — fizzy sticks. If you want to try it, it will make you super
happy and give you energy, and a bump. Before we party tonight, I am so excited that
this is done. I had so much anxiety. [applause][29:48] Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. I have more up here as well, and cards — so,
fizz sticks, cards, and I have a promise to you all. If you go to my website and get a pack of
fizz sticks, I will audit your course for accessibility, or whatever you need. I’ll give you some time with me, so…yeah. Thank you.

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