[UPDATE: See this updated and expanded accessibility checklist: https://bit.ly/canvasaccessibility ]
Sometimes I'll forget about one or more of these tools when building a course, so I thought I'd list them here as a reminder for others, too. Use all of these tools both while you are building your Canvas course and after you build your course. I've also included some tips at the bottom to reduce the number of errors and technical issues with your Canvas course.
1. Course Link Validator
Especially when you are working on more than one course at a time, you may copy and paste or share things between different courses. This may cause links or images to break for students if they link back to a different course that you have access to but not the students. You may re-use an older course which has links that no longer work. You may accidentally link to a page that you forgot to publish. The Course Link Validator in Canvas will check for issues like these. You can access it by going to your course Settings and then 'Validate Links in Content.' See How do I validate links in a course?
2. Student View
By default when you create and add things such as pages, quizzes, assignments, and discussions, they are not published. That means students will not be able to see them, even though you can. Modules with unpublished items are considered to be in a "Draft State." See How do I use Draft State in Assignments?
You may also set requirements and prerequisites or unlock dates for modules or availability dates for assignments that inadvertently block access for students at the wrong time. Again, you will be able to see and access the modules and assignments just fine, but your students will not.
By going to Settings and then 'Student View,' you can test for these issues by viewing your course as a student. See How do I view a course using a test student?
You might see if it is also possible to add fake student accounts to your course to test out your course from a student account more fully. See How do I add numerous Test Students to my course?
3. Canvas Mobile App
You've spent hours making your course look beautiful. Lots of images, tables, videos, and other interactive features. Hopefully early on in the process, however, you regularly check what your course looks like in the Canvas app for Android or iPhone/iPad. You may be shocked to see that that table or image you used has made the rest of the page shrink down to microscopic levels. Those image buttons that lined up so perfectly on your computer are all out of whack or barely visible in the app. That Flash widget you added to a page may not even be visible in the app, and that video may be so tiny as to be unwatchable.
Why should you care about how your course looks in the Canvas app? At UCF, they found that around 80% of students use the Canvas app every week to access their courses.
See the tips below for some techniques to prevent these types of issues before they happen.
4. Accessibility Checker
The new accessibility checker in Canvas lets you check a page for common accessibility issues such as image alt tags, table headers, and color contrast. See How do I use the Accessibility Checker in the Rich Content Editor? and see this page for tips on addressing other accessibility issues, such as video captions, in Canvas: General Accessibility Design Guidelines.
As an alternative or supplement to these tools, test out your course with a Screen Reader such as NVDA or Claro Read for Chrome or PC. Officially supported screen readers for Canvas are listed on this page: Accessibility within Canvas
Reducing the Number of Errors before They Happen
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