What Is Online Accessibility?

While making your online courses more accessible may seem foreboding, in many respects you may already be on your way thanks to technology. Webcourses@UCF is quite accessible on its own. However, external material such as PDFs, Powerpoints, presentations with audio, videos, and publisher content you choose to place in your online courses will benefit from additional review for accessibility. When you create materials for your online course, please keep Section 508 standards and universal design principles in mind. “Universal design means that, rather than designing your instruction for the average student, you design for potential students with a broad range in ability, disability, . . . learning style, native language, and other characteristics” (Burgstahler, 2010). Adhering to these standards will not only benefit students with disabilities but will help assure that all of your students will be able to access and use the online content you wish to share with them. To learn more about UCF’s commitment to providing accessible course materials to all students and the support services available to assist you with this, please read the Provost Letter (PDF) sent to UCF faculty regarding ADA-compliant course materials (November 2014).

You might find it informative to review the Faculty Multimedia Workshop Series session on Creating Accessible Online Course Content in Webcourses@UCF. Use the resources below to assist you in creating course materials that are accessible and usable by all students. Depending on the type of document you would like to create, you may click on the appropriate link below, or select from the menu options on the left.

Creating Accessible Pages in Webcourses@UCF

Webcourses@UCF Pages are the preferred format to present content in your online course since they have HTML code behind the scenes. As a result, Pages can be opened quickly using any internet browser, do not require additional software in order to view them, and can be easily navigated by screen readers when formatted properly. For more information, please view Document Formatting Guidelines.

Creating Accessible PDF Documents Within Word

PDF documents may be appropriate to use if the document is a form, historical document, or if the document has has a complex layout. PDF documents can be created to be accessible, however, they are not as navigable with a screen reader as HTML and require Adobe Reader in order to view them. For more information, please view PDF Formatting Guidelines.

Quizzes or Surveys

You may create quizzes, anonymous surveys, and self-tests for your online course. Although you may create these assessments directly in Webcourses@UCF, we recommend that you use a software program called Respondus to help you create these assessments quickly and efficiently. UCF has a site license for Respondus and is available for UCF faculty to use free of charge.

For more information, please view Quiz Formatting Guidelines.

Accessible Multimedia Elements

For more information, please view Creating Accessible Course Content


Burgstahler, S. (2010). Equal Access: Universal design of instruction. In DO-IT: Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology. Retrieved from