Accessible Course Outlines - Guidelines

Updated October 2014

Where a college or department does not have a course outline standard template, instructors should refer to the following minimum guidelines to ensure their course outline is in an accessible format.  Additional resources may be found on the websites for Diversity and Human Rights Office (DHR) and the Open Learning and Educational Support , including:

1.  The material should be presented in a clear, organized manner.  Use headings to organize material.  Keep the formatting of the document as simple as possible.
2. Use a font which is which is, at minimum, 12-point.
3. The font should be sans-serif (such as Arial or Calibri).
4.  Maintain high contrast between the background and the text, for example: black text on a white background.
5.  Text boxes and images create visual clutter for some individuals and may be problematic for screen readers if they are not properly formatted.
6.  Keep in mind that course outlines are often read using different media.  For some readers, how material appears when printed on paper may be different from how the same material appears when read on a screen.  For example, if you are creating your course outline in MS Word, choose formatting from the “style” option on the home tab.  For example, rather than using “bold” and “italics” under the “Font” option use “Strong” and “Emphasis” from the “Style” option on the home tab.
7.  Web addresses, for students with visual impairment, can be confusing.  The recommendation is that the name of the website is written, with an active link.  For example, the link to “Accessible Instruction—Resources” is formatted in MS Word by clicking on the “Insert” tab and select “Hyperlink.”  In “text to display,” write the name of the web site, put the address in appropriate box and press “ok.”
8.  When converting a course outline to PDF, be sure the format is still accessible (refer to Document Accessibility for tips.