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How do I adhere to ADA guidelines and laws?

How do I adhere to ADA guidelines and laws?

With the move to the online environment, it is even more important that you ensure that the teaching content you create and share adheres to all ADA laws and guidelines (US Access Board).  Accommodative services might already be working with you to support student learning.  However, even if you don’t have a student that has self-identified as needing accommodative services, all campus courses are required by federal law to meet ADA laws and guidelines.  That said, we must also adhere to Copyright laws and guidelines.  Although practically speaking, these two laws can sometimes present challenges, we must adhere to both. Please contact the Office of Accommodative Services via email (or Teams Chat) if you have questions. They’ll work with you to find a solution and will collaborate with campus offices like the College Libraries and CCI when necessary.

How Do I...

Until February 2021, SUNY Potsdam has access to accessibility training courses through Deque University.  For more info, go to the Accessibility Training section of the Training & Development webpage on the HR website.  Also, please find excellent full course tutorials resources at Accessibility at Loyola University and WebAim web accessibility.  For a quick overview, please watch the First Steps Toward Meeting EIT Accessibility video below which includes an accompanying “workbook” document.


Sample-Transcript for First Steps Toward Meeting EIT Accessibility (Presentation) DOC

Knowmia/Stream- Once a video is uploaded, you can use the Generate Captions feature to auto-create captions. When they are ready, you will have to review/approve them before they will be published.

Although you can generate captioning for videos uploaded to Knowmia, Zoom, and Stream (Teams), if you need to do live captioning during a meeting, you have limited options.  The Teams Live Caption feature is the best tool we currently have available to us; however, users must use the full desktop version of this app to turn on the feature.

You can generate live captioning when presenting using PowerPoint.  Use the O365 version of PowerPoint as the campus installed version doesn’t have this feature.  Also, instead of sharing the PowerPoint, you might need to share the screen instead to ensure you capture the captions when recording.

Most of us are used to using bold and larger font sizes as headings, but did you know that online Readers can’t identify them as titles, sections, etc.  In order to be ADA compliant, you need to use real headings.  That said, you want to use them anyway because they are awesome.  Headings make working in a document so much easier.  Please use the following resources to learn about headings:

A screen reader can’t analyze an image and determine what the image presents.  Alternative text ensures the content and meaning of the image is accessible to those with visual or certain cognitive disabilities.  Adding alt text is not always easy (review Alternative Text website), but in O365 products like Word, you can double-click on the image to open the Format tab and select Alt Text.

It’s best to use the prebuilt Theme templates when creating a new slide presentation.  Be sure to fill in the slides according to the layout, using titles, entering text into textboxes, and adding alt text to images.  Using a Theme ensures that the text can be read by a screen reader and that exported files transfer properly.

Tables pose an extra challenge for Reader programs.  Please review the Tables in Documents website for information on how to create accessible tables.

Note: Remember, when dealing with content, including PDFs, we must always adhere to Copyright laws and guidelines.

A quick way to check if a PDF is readable is to try and select a sentence. If you can select individual letters, the file is likely readable. If you can only select a page at a time, the file is not readable.  If the document is not readable, you can use Adobe Acrobat Pro DC to convert text. Please use the following resources (you many need to select the More Tools link in Acrobat Pro to access conversion tools):

OneNote:  Among its many features, OneNote has OCR capabilities which can convert image-text to editable text.

Remember, when dealing with content, including PDFs, we must always adhere to Copyright laws and guidelines.
A quick way to check if a PDF is readable is to try and select a sentence.

Word/Excel: Use the Save As Adobe PDF or Save As option to convert your file to PDF (Print PDF may not work well).
PowerPoint: To share PowerPoint slides containing notes, first use the Export option to create a Word file (File > Export > Create Handouts > Select Notes below slides > Ok).  Then, turn the Word doc into a PDF.
Tip: You can apply formatting within Notes in PowerPoint (bold, font size, highlighter, bullets, etc.).  Whether or not they display properly in the PowerPoint, they will display in the Word document notes.

Although you can create forms using Acrobat Pro DC, our licensing has recently changed and faculty have limited access to Pro.  Consider using other easier to use tools like Microsoft Forms or Moodle Questionnaire/Feedback.