Canvas, one of the leading learning management systems in the world, is constantly innovating in the area of accessibility. Colleges and universities want to make sure that all of their learning materials are accessible to those who may have sight and hearing problems. Not only is this good for the student body there are also guidelines that colleges must comply with.
While every effort is made from most of the big publishers to ensure that their material is accessible, it’s hard to make sure that everything that makes it into the learning management system is accessible. Canvas has always strived to make sure that they offer one of the most accessible platforms in the industry.
That’s why at EDUCAUSE in Philadelphia last week they introduced the Canvas Accessibility Checker.
The Accessibility Checker makes it easy for anyone creating content in Canvas, Instructure’s innovative learning management system (LMS), to identify and correct some of the most common accessibility issues, saving time, granting peace of mind and providing a better experience for all students. As accessibility is core to the Canvas user experience, Canvas now facilitates accessible content creation, at no extra cost, by providing an intuitive interface to fix common accessibility issues.
“Our enhancements to Canvas demonstrate our commitment to accessibility in education and support our goal of making teaching and learning easier for everyone, including those with disabilities,” said Mitch Benson, senior vice president of product at Instructure. “The Canvas Accessibility Checker is a huge help in both identifying and correcting the most common accessibility issues to ensure an enriching learning experience for every student.”
When working in the Rich Content Editor within Canvas, any user can activate the Accessibility Checker from the toolbar. This performs an accessibility check on the current content, reports problem areas or concerns and makes it easy to correct accessibility issues.
The Accessibility Checker is useful for everyone involved in education. For instructors, the tool provides an easy way to check and correct common accessibility issues and teaches them how to avoid these problems in the future. Administrators have peace of mind knowing Canvas users are creating accessible content and have the opportunity to engage the campus community in training and dialogue around accessibility. Students are able to ensure that all classmates can understand and engage in class communication and interaction.
Open source is at the heart of Instructure. Not only is the Accessibility Checker available for free to all Canvas users, but the code has been added to the Instructure open source library, where it can be accessed by anyone at https://github.com/instructure/tinymce-a11y-checker.
As part of its commitment to accessibility for all students, Instructure’s video platform Arc has partnered with Speechmatics, a provider of automatic speech recognition technology, to add captions to its video content.
“Arc is designed to empower teachers and students to interact with each other through video, and the addition of automatic captioning enables us to expand this collaborative learning experience,” said Benson. “Speechmatics’ speech-to-text transcription is one of the best in the industry, providing incredibly high levels of accuracy.”
Not only does the introduction of automatic captioning enable accessible content, it also supports captions for video content to ensure users can still learn and view the videos without sound on any device. When a user is not familiar with an accent or dialect used in the video content, the technology encourages self-learning by enabling users to read and listen at the same time.
To learn more about Canvas or Arc, or to see a product demo, visit booth #211 at the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference at The PennsylvaniaConvention Center, or visit www.CanvasLMS.com.