How to Fix and Prevent Accessibility Issues in Your Canvas Course

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Here is a handout with tips for addressing accessibility issues in a Canvas course after the fact or before the fact.  Feel free to adapt it to your school, and please comment if you have suggestions/edits for improving this document.  Here is a Google Doc version of this accessibility checklist (short link: and here is a video demonstrating how to fix common accessibility issues, such as fixing video captions or using the accessibility checker in Word or Canvas.

How to Fix Accessibility Issues in Your Canvas Course

Learn more about accessibility & universal design at &

  1. Student Support - The course should include information about the office for student disability services and how students with disabilities may receive accommodations
  2. Software - Check the accessibility of all tools and software used in the course
  3. Web Pages - Check Canvas content with the Canvas accessibility checker (and/or UDOIT or Ally if available)
  4. Web Links and Text - Check that all your links are up to date and have descriptive text
  5. Images - In addition to checking that all images have alt text and proper color contrast:
  6. Videos - all videos and audio should have correct captions or transcripts
  7. Files - All files and documents should be checked for accessibility
  8. Math - All math equations and formulas should have alt text or MathML representations
  9. Alternative Formats - A separate accessible version of content should be made available when there is no other way to make it accessible
  10. Assignments & Quizzes - All assignments and online activities should have clear expectations to help students understand how to do them and why they are doing them
  11. Student View - Check the course in student view for broken or inaccessible functionality
  12. Mobile Compatibility - Check the course for usability in the Canvas Student app

How to Prevent Accessibility Issues in Your Canvas Course

  1. Modules - Use the modules page as the primary place where you build and organize your course.  Think of it as the table of contents or outline or to-do list for your course. If you have a reading or assignment or discussion for a particular week or unit, add it to the module for that week or unit.  This way, everything associated with that week or unit will be more visible to you and your students. You can see in a glance if something is not available or unpublished that shouldn’t be, or if a requirement was not set, and so forth.  See How do I add a module?  and How do I add assignment types, pages, and files as module items?
  2. Don’t Copy & Paste – Don’t copy from other courses or websites or documents into Canvas.  If you do, the text will copy over just fine (although it may mess up the text styles and fonts), but images will not copy over like they would when copying and pasting into a Word document.  Images have to be downloaded from the other site (right click on the image and choose ‘save image as’), and then you can upload and insert the image into Canvas, entering alt text when doing so.  When copying content from another Canvas course, use the course import tool to ensure all images and links are fixed.  Use the link validator to check for any broken images or links.
  3. Images – When inserting an image, always remember to set the alt text with a description of what is in the image for screen readers.  If you want to embed a very large image, reduce its file size with a photo editor first. See: How do I embed images from Canvas into the Rich Content Editor?
  4. Tables – Minimize your use of tables, but when you do use them, set a caption and header row or column in the table properties. Do not set the width of a table or table cell to a fixed value, use percentages instead.  Reduce the number of columns for readability on mobile devices. See How do I insert a table using the Rich Content Editor?
  5. Text Color - You should not use color or font size alone to distinguish text or convey importance. See How do I add and modify text in the Rich Content Editor?   Check that color contrast is sufficient using this Color Contrast Checker from WebAIM.
  6. VideosSpeak clearly when recording videos and audio so that automatic captions will be more accurate and save you time with making any corrections.  Also check that in the Canvas Student app the video can play full-screen.  On Youtube, click the share button to copy the embed code for a video and then insert the embed code in your page.
  7. Documents - Use the built-in Accessibility Checker when creating Word documents.
  8. Math - Use the Canvas Math Editor or WIRIS app to generate equations and formulas.
  9. Assignments - Use rubrics and transparent assignment templates and techniques.
Surveyor, wow! What a great resource! Thank you for sharing!

Community Member

+1‌. Really nice to have so many resources in one place.  Usually I just send links to specific resources but I like your Google Doc and think that could be more useful to faculty members who are just starting to take steps towards making their course fully accessible (which I think us rolling out ALLY is going to spur faculty to do).

And thanks to you too‌, I hadn't seen this blog post until your post showed up in my email Smiley Happy.


Hi‌! So fun to see a familiar face here! Brings back lots of USU memories. Smiley Happy Thanks for sharing this resource. I'm working on a course right now that includes a module on accessibility so the timing of this post is PERFECT. THANK YOU!  Deactivated user‌,‌ and I created the Course Evaluation Checklist based on UDL principles (download the pdf at the bottom of the page). I think you'll find this a valuable and helpful resource. I'd love to get your feedback! shared a set of posters with me titled, "A set of posters on how to design for accessibility" and it's one of the most helpful resources I've encountered in a long time. Thanks, Claudia! You can read the "Dos and don'ts on designing for accessibility" blog post and download the posters from UKHomeOffice GitHub.

Community Member

Glad you're doing well, Deonne.  Yeah I've seen several names of folks formerly at USU, like Seth Gurell, now at UVU.

I saw the Course Evaluation Checklist earlier, it's very well done and very useful.  I added it to our school's Canvas Essentials training course (which is based on Kona Jones' Canvas training course Smiley Happy)

About the Author
Faculty developer, instructor. My background is in psychology and education. I have mostly focused on STEM education and educational technology.