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Technical Accessibility During COVID-19

As remote instruction continues during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to ensure that technology is accessible to everyone. Here are a few accessibility tips to will help remove technology barriers during COVID-19.

Creating Accessible Instructional Materials during COVID-19

With the campus continuing the virtual delivery of courses, it is essential that CSULB faculty ensure the accessibility of course instruction to all students.  This includes the captioning of multimedia and the accessibility of instructional materials. This respects the inclusive concept of Universal Design for Learning that supports all learners, regardless of their ability.

Who to contact with questions regarding accessibility during this time of virtual Instruction:

The AIM Center is available at aimc@csulb.edu to support faculty with accessibility training and remediation support of instructional materials. Additionally BMAC’s Faculty Resource webpage provides recommendations regarding course structure, student engagement, instruction, accessible instructional materials, and assessment recommendations.

When using BeachBoard consider the following accessibility best practices:

  • Create modules in BeachBoard to organize your content and to promote easy navigation. Provide clear titles for each module
  • Follow consistent design within modules.
  • When uploading documents and course content, naming the file or link within BeachBoard with an easy to understand title that is specific so that it is clear for the student.
  • If using the dropbox feature within BeachBoard, utilize the special access permission setting that allows for students who qualify for accommodations to submit their assignments outside of the available times.
  • If using the quiz feature within BeachBoard, utilize the special access permission in Quizzes to allow for users to submit their quizzes outside of the available times. You can add special access to a quiz when you want to provide alternative times limits to individual users or group of users.

Accessible Electronic Communication Tips during COVID-19

We are relying on electronic communications more than ever as teaching, learning, and working from home continue. Therefore, it is important to ensure that our communications are accessible to all students, faculty and staff.  

Hyperlinks in Email, Newsletters, and General Electronic Communication

When using hyperlinks in email, newsletters, or other electronic communications, avoid “uninformative” links.  Phrases such as "click here," "more," "click for details," are ambiguous when read out of context.  Avoid other non-informative link phrases such as:

  • here
  • read more
  • link to [some link destination]
  • info

Screen reader users may navigate email, newsletters or other electronic communications by tabbing from link to link without hearing the content associated with a link. This allows users to skim content to find a particular section in an electronic communication. When a screen reader encounters a link in text or graphics, it will inform users of the link so it is unnecessary and redundant to include "link" in the link text.

In addition, a site’s URL link should use the name of the linked site. This will prevent screen readers from reading the entire URL, which might be long or confusing to the user.  For example, it is better to use CSULB instead of https://www.csulb.edu/

Using Color for Emphasis

When drawing attention or emphasis in your communication, using color to do so can make it difficult for people with color blindness.  Because there are many different types of color blindness, the best approach is to make sure that color is not your only method of conveying important information.  Making sure that there is sufficient contrast between the font color and the background color will help people read the content who might be color blind or have low vision.

Using Graphics as Hyperlinks in Communications 

Be sure to use “alt text” (alternative text) to describe any graphics used in electronic communications.  Alt text should be short and descriptive. Do not use “link to” or “picture of” as part of the alt-text because screen readers will translate it as "link graphic link to Products," which is redundant and confusing.  Linked graphics with text should include that text in the alt text.

Accessible Procurement Tips during COVID-19

Remote Training Materials

The Procurement Office is working hard to develop online training material in place of our in-person training, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) at the Beach. This course is designed to help you submit your Technology purchase request as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Please look for the new online video training to be posted to our Procurement website under How to Purchase and Pay in the next several weeks.

Who to contact with questions regarding your Information and Technology (E&IT) approvals:

The entire office Procurement and Contracts is telecommuting at this time. The best contact for any of your questions regarding purchases or contracts for your IT and Communication needs would be to email Purchasing@csulb.edu.