Many instructors use Canvas to provide digital copies of their slides, and for students they are a key resource in courses. It is important every student be able to use those digital files including the visually impaired. But presentations are more than just slides, and the live, in-person presentation should also be as accessible to all students as possible. Many instructors are experienced lecturers, mixing in humor and humanity to keep their lectures interesting. Very simple changes in lecturing style can make presentations more accessible, but it takes practice. In this article I explain how to use the accessibility checker in Microsoft Powerpoint, remind you of the basic accessibility practices for all digital work, and give examples of ways to improve accessibility during lectures.
Accessibility is just the work we do. Here at the University of Minnesota, College of Biological Sciences we are working hard to improve the accessibility of our digital content. For the next few months we are focusing on closed captioning. This can be a big lift but with improved automatic captions and simple editing interfaces, anyone can create good captions. Learn how to make captions accurate, complete, and well-placed. Learn these basics and you can improve the accessibility of your content for your students, faculty, staff and guests.