Sunday, February 4, 2018

Moving Towards Full Accessibility: PowerPoints

How to Make Your PowerPoints Accessible because braille doesn't work on the computer More and more of education is moving online. At the college level we're doing a lot of distance learning and blended or hybrid classes where up to 70% of the instruction is online. At all levels instructors are flipping their classrooms. Google classroom and Office 365 for education have also really changed the game.

Because of this, making our courses accessible to students with disabilities is more important than ever.

The Office for Civil Rights has resolutions with multiple institutions including the 
South Carolina Technical College System, University of Cincinnati and Youngstown State, all of whom use the following definition of “accessible”:
"Accessible" means a person with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective and equally integrated manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use. The person with a disability must be able to obtain the information as fully, equally, and independently as a person without a disability. (The University of Washington)
This shows up a lot with our students who are low vision or limited hearing or are blind or deaf. When utilizing online tools and interactivity we must find ways to offer these students the same opportunity as their peers. And, we must remember that while some students may not be "legally blind" or deaf they may still have enough of a reduction in their senses that they may prefer and learn better from sources that can be used with screen readers or are captioned. What about parents who are assisting students? Tutors? Other instructors you want to share resources with?

This can be overwhelming. None of us are going to be perfect from the start. However, the more we prepare as we go the more prepared we will be in the future. Whenever I get frustrated with the process I remind myself that 1. I don't know who this may be helping immediately and 2. I don't know who this will help in the future.

So, let's start with something most of us are comfortable with. PowerPoint. If you post your PowerPoints online for students to view try making your next one accessible.

Here's a video I quickly made where I explore some accessibility features in PowerPoint.

This video is just a start. There are many other things to consider such as fonts, color choice, and more. It can be a lot to keep up with so I did some extra research and assembled a handy guide.

Want a checklist that you can use while you make your accessible PowerPoint? To receive a free, accessible, Word document that details the information provided in the video and some additional tips and tricks click the image below.
Get your free checklist for accessible powerpoints here because braille doesn't work on the computer.

What other accessibility topics would you like covered? I'm considering, fonts, captioning, and colors for future posts. What am I missing? What do you want to learn about next? Leave a comment or email me when you get your freebie and let me know!


  1. Hello! What a great video! I didn't even know that I was able to do that. Thank you for sharing. :-) As for the document, is there a way to download it if I am already a subscriber? When I get to the download page and enter my email, it tells me I am already subscribed, but doesn't give the option to download. Thank for all your help and hard work! You are very much appreciated!

    1. I will send out a copy to my current subscribers. Thanks for pointing that out.