OSCQR – Standard #35

OSCQR – Standard #35

A text equivalent for every non-text element is provided (“alt” tags, captions, transcripts, etc.), and audio description is provided for video-only content.

Review These Explanations

Screen readers do not read images, which makes them inaccessible to learners with visual impairments who rely on those readers. If images are used, ALT (alternative) text, descriptive text needs to be provided.

For some images, alternative text is enough. If a complex photograph, chart, or diagram is displayed, visually impaired learners need more descriptive text, including a narrative that explains clearly what the image is and what it represents. In addition, audio descriptions should be provided for any video-only content.

As colleges and university need to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, those that use the Internet for course delivery must be prepared to delivery those courses through accessible means (Patrick, as quoted in Morris et all, 2016).

In compliance with accessibility guidelines, videos included in online courses need include closed captioning for learners that are hearing impaired. Captions are essential for hearing impaired learners, but are also useful for non-native English language learners who may have trouble understanding complex words.


Morris, K. k., Frechette, C. f., Dukes III, L. l., Stowell, N. n., Topping, N. n., & Brodosi, D. B. (2016). Closed Captioning Matters: Examining the Value of Closed Captions for All Students. Journal of Postsecondary Education & Disability, 29(3), 231-238.
SUNY Electronic & Information Technology (EIT) Accessibility Committee Final Report and Recommendations MAY 2019
SUNY Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) Accessibility Policy
From Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0

Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

General Suggestions

  • Ask your publisher about accessibility of course materials before selecting your next textbook.
  • Check your course content accessibility with the WAVE checker online.
  • For a video of cell mitosis, where there is no narration, just a visual illustration of the process, an audio description is provided.

Explore Related Resources

This site from Portland Community College is an excellent resource that shows instructors how to make content in your classes accessible to all learners.
Hixon, E., Barczyk, C., Ralston-Berg, P., & Buckenmeyer, J. J. (2016). Online Course Quality: What do Nontraditional Students Value?. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 19(4), 1-12.
Massengale, L. L., & Vasquez III, E. E. (2016). Assessing Accessibility: How Accessible are Online Courses for Students with Disabilities?. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, 16(1), 69-79.
Raths, d. (2016). Your Course Accessibility Checklist. Campus Technology Magazine, 29(5), 24-26.

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