Cobra Learning - Accessible course design

Accessible course design

As a course designer you hold a pivotal role in ensuring that Cobra Learning is accessible to all users, regardless of their learning needs. It is your content that students must access, assess, and respond to. We strongly encourage you to follow accessibility best practices to ensure you meet the learning needs of all your students.

Adding an accessible template package to your course files

D2L has designed a template package that course instructors can use to create accessible, HTML content files. The templates use cascading style sheets (CSS) to format the content in the HTML files.

To the extent possible under law, D2L has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to the available accessibility templates. You can use these files in a single course, or for the whole organization through Shared Files, depending on your permissions.

If you upload the template package and unzip it within Brightspace platform, it is structured properly and the sample files correctly reference the CSS file. If you choose only some of the available templates within the package to upload, you might need to recreate the folder structure for the files to correctly reference the CSS file.

All the template packages use the same folder structure and name, which makes it easy to swap out your CSS file for different CSS files if you want to change the appearance of your course content.

Download the template package from the Brightspace Community.

To add a template package to your files.

  1. Save the template package to your PC.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • To share the templates across the organization, navigate to Shared Files.
    • To use the templates in a specific course, navigate to Manage Files.
  3. At the root level of the file tree, select Upload.
  4. Select the template package zip file and click Upload.
  5. Unzip the file.

Accessibility considerations when organizing your course

All people learn differently. It can be difficult to organize your course in a way that supports the learning needs and styles of all users. Your learning materials need to effectively engage, educate, evaluate, and accommodate diverse learners. It can help to meet these benchmarks if you follow a few design decisions:

  1. Set clear course expectations
  2. Set flexible time limits and deadlines
  3. Provide alternative learning materials

1. Setting clear course expectations

For many students, an online course marks a big change from a traditional classroom. This change can be even more challenging for students with physical or learning disabilities, as they can feel disconnected from their instructor and other support systems. The Brightspace Learning Environment provides course designers with flexibility in how they set up and organize content, however it can still be daunting for students who rely on assistive technologies to navigate the Brightspace Learning Environment, find course materials, and find and complete assignments.

To help your students effectively use your online course, consider the following design guidelines:

2. Making flexible time limits and deadlines

In some cases, course designers may put users with learning and physical disabilities at a disadvantage without intending to. Usually, disadvantages result from users not having enough time to complete tasks or not having appropriately designed resources. Consider using the following best practices to organize course materials:

3. Providing alternative learning materials

To improve student engagement, one of the most effective course design decisions you can make is to offer course materials and assignments that appeal to more than one sense. For example, the same material can have an audio, video, and text component. This type of redundancy helps engage students with different learning types, reinforces important concepts, and ensures that users with physical disabilities can access content in a suitable format. Consider adopting the following best practices:

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