Skip to Main Content

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Online Instruction

Accessibility Overview

Including video, images, and other multimedia in online instruction can be very useful, especially for asynchronous classes or for flipped classroom methods. However, it is crucial to ensure that you make all teaching delivery resources and media accessible to the widest range of people possible.

This page is not intended to be comprehensive. Please visit the following websites for more information on including accessibility in online instruction.

U of I Campus Resources for Accessibility

U of I Library Resources for Accessibility

Online Content Delivery Resources

This section will focus on resources to which the U of I has a campus-wide license with links to broader information as well.


For the most part, Zoom has accessible features. However, here are some things about common features to keep in mind:




(from UVA Library):
Some participants may be unable to access or fully utilize chat:

  • Participants who are calling-in to a meeting will not be able to see or contribute to chat.
  • Assistive technology users can usually access, read, and contribute to chat, but may be unable to activate links in the chat window.
  • All users run the risk of losing important links or content from the chat if this information is not saved in some way.
  • Participants relying on an ASL interpreter are not able to follow the chat and the interpreter at the same time.


  • If chat comments are being incorporated into a meeting, read the comments aloud as part of the meeting.
  • Send links and materials which will be referenced during the session via the chat to all participants before the session. If additional resources are added during the session, send a revised list after the session has concluded.
  • The host can save the entire chat to their computer or the cloud, for reference or to share with others.

Screen Sharing

It is important that the presenter understand that a person who is using screen reader software will not be able to understand the content being shared. This is also true if the participant is calling in or has a bad internet connection.


  • For the benefit of anyone who may be unable to see your screen, verbalize what is seen and the actions you are taking.
  • If you are referring to something being shared on screen, please give a pause so a participant who is Deaf/Hard of Hearing (D/HoH) may turn away from their interpreter or captions and look at what you are referring to.
  • Also if you are showing participants how to do something such as a different screen with an app, leave time for the interpreter to interpret what you are saying and for participants who are D/HoH to receive that information before you begin the process of demonstrating the app.
  • Share materials ahead of time. Send any materials you plan to display through screen sharing to your participants ahead of time. This allows everyone to access the materials and follow along even if they cannot see the screen share during the meeting.


Zoom: Accessibility Considerations & Best Practices 
A detailed guide from UVA on ensuring your Zoom sessions are accessible to all.

Video Conferencing Platforms Feature Matrix
From the National Association of the Deaf, a guide covering most common video conferencing accessibility options.

Zoom Accessibility
From Zoom itself.

Working With Online Video Conferencing Tools
From UVA; covers MS Teams, Google Meet, and WebEx.


Many colleges and units use Moodle, an open-source LMS.


The university is transitioning from Blackboard/Compass to Canvas as the other LMS option.


Accessible Video and Audio

[Content borrowed and adapted from UVA Library]

Accessible video/audio includes captions, a transcript, audio description, and delivered in an accessible media player.

Captioning & Transcription Guidelines

Regardless of the captioning method chosen, the results should follow best practices and guidance found in “The Captioning Key”.  Regulatory guidance and standards for accessibility compliance are also provided by the following agencies and organizations:

According to the Described and Captioned Media Program Captioning Key, quality captions and transcripts are:

  • Accurate: Errorless captions are the goal for each production.
  • Consistent: Uniformity in style and presentation of all captioning features is crucial for viewer understanding.
  • Clear: A complete textual representation of the audio, including speaker identification and non-speech information, provides clarity.
  • Readable: Captions are displayed with enough time to be read completely, are in synchronization with the audio, and are not obscured by (nor do they obscure) the visual content.
  • Equal: Equal access requires that the meaning and intention of the material is completely preserved.

Captioning Processes

Post-Production Captioning

Post-production captions are created after the live event has occurred. The recording should not be made available until the captions have been created and checked for accuracy and adherence to best practices.

Live Captioning

Live captioning should be considered when hosting online meetings, webinars, online classes and other training events, and when streaming live events. It should also be strongly considered when hosting live events onsite. Adding live captions to the live event provides greater access and interaction for many members of the audience, not just those who are D/HoH.

Options for Creating Captions & Transcripts

At the U of I, you have a few options for this, depending on what resource you are using for your video/audio. Remember that automatic speech recognition (ASR), which may be provided in YouTube, Kaltura, and other tools, is never acceptable to leave as is; you must edit it for clarity and accuracy.

Audio Description

Audio Description, also called descriptive video or video description, is a secondary audio track (either recorded by a person or created by running text-to-speech software on a timed text file) that describes and gives context for essential visual information. Audio Description makes videos and multimedia accessible to people who have low vision or who are blind, by capturing what is happening on screen into audible descriptions that are played during natural pauses in the audio track.

Creating audio descriptions is an art and a new technology, so please keep that in mind!

Accessible Media Players

An accessible media player supports captions, audio description, keyboard-only controls, and other accessibility features.

For more in-depth, albeit institution-specific information on any of the above, please see the following web pages:


Accessible Images

Accessible Documents