Student Success-ability Means Accessibility, Too!

Concurrent Session 3

Brief Abstract

“Accessibility” isn’t just about providing accommodations to students with disabilities; it includes proactively creating a course environment in which students of varying abilities are set up for success. Join us for a session where we will discuss the growing importance of accessibility and the universal standards by which it is assessed. 


Madisen Gunkel is an instructional designer at Ivy Tech Community College. Her diverse background in instructional technology systems spans learning management systems, to coaching and assisting in the development of virtual curriculum & content, to developing alternative learning options for students. Her areas of interest include active learning, communities of learning, accessibility, and adaptive learning.

Additional Authors

Extended Abstract

Members of the Center for Instructional Technology with Ivy Tech Community College recently evaluated the accessibility of five statewide courses for a pilot of the Indiana Course Access Program (iCAP). Through this process, and other departmental initiatives such as Quality Matters, we’ve learned a number of ways to facilitate the improvement of accessibility in our courses and in instructor-created content, therein.

In addition to its importance for our local initiatives, issues of accessibility are taking center stage in the higher ed landscape. Colleges across the country are racking up accessibility lawsuits at a speed never-before seen. From Harvard to Berkeley to M.I.T.  the suits claiming violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act just keep coming. While we certainly have always wanted to be inclusive of all students, the added pressure of potential litigation is an extra motivator for us to act now.

One way we are beginning to act on accessibility is to utilize the variety of tools we have readily available to us. One tool, the Canvas Accessibility Checker, is a newly added feature in Canvas and is built right in to the Rich Content Editor on every page, making it easy to find and use. The presentation will largely focus on this particular tool. Information will also be provided for the other tools we utilized including: UDOIT (Universal Design Online Inspection Tool), a grant-developed third-party add-on for IvyLearn/Canvas, as well as the Microsoft Office Accessibility Checker and the Adobe Acrobat Pro DC Accessibility Checker.