Accessible Course Content Checklist

Last modified 6/26/2023

Accessibility refers to designing and developing digital content and platforms that can be accessed and used by all individuals, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. It ensures that everyone has equal access to information, services, and functionalities online. Accessibility benefits everyone, not just those with disabilities. Consider the non-traditional student population, students with temporary impairments, or those accessing course content in challenging environments. By adopting accessibility best practices, we enhance the experience for all, making content more perceivable, operable, and understandable. Use the following checklist to help guide you in checking your course content.

Check Your Content

  • Example of Heading structure with headings 1 through 4.

    Heading Styles

    Use built-in heading styles to designate structure & content organization. Modify them to suit your needs.

    Headings Overview

  • Screenshot of bullet and number list icons.

    List Styles

    Use built-in bulleted or numbered list styles to designate list structure. Format and use built-in simple tables with column and row headers.

    List Overview

  • Screenshot of PDF with readable text highlighted.

    Readable Materials (PDF files)

    Can text within your PDF file be selected with a mouse? If so, a text-to-speech reader should be able to read the file. If not, the file will need conversion using programs such as Adobe Acrobat.

    Accessible PDFs

  • Screenshot of Click here text with a circle and line through it and Illinois State University website text with happy face to the left.

    Use descriptive titles for hyperlinks to provide added context for navigation.


  • Screenshot of the words: GOOD (white text over black background) and BAD (light green text over a yellow background)

    Text and Contrast

    Check that text and page background display a strong contrast. Do not rely solely on reference to color or shape to describe content.

    Choosing Color

  • Screenshot of Alt Text box in Microsoft Word

    Alternative Text

    Provide alternative text for images, graphs and charts.

    Writing Alt Text

  • Closed Captioning Symbol (CC)

    Closed Captioning

    Choose videos that have closed captioning or transcripts.

    Captioning Help

  • PowerPoint Logo

    PowerPoint Slides

    Follow all content accessibility guidelines above. In addition, check the Outline View to make sure all text from slides appears in Outline View.

    PowerPoint Accessibility

  • 3rd Party Online Materials

    How accessible are the digital materials you want to select to use for your course? Ask about accessibility before deciding on use.

Building an Accessible Course in Canvas

Creating accessible course content in Canvas is not only a legal requirement under various laws and regulations, but it is also a moral obligation to ensure that all learners have an equitable learning experience.

Learn about Canvas Accessibility