Improving Canvas Accessibility for Students with Disabilities

Session Host/Speaker(s)

Learning Objectives

By the end of this session you will be able to:

  • Describe the unique challenges students with disabilities face in online education
  • Summarize the accessibility issues most common in an LMS
  • Use the native accessibly tools in Canvas
  • Define the Ally tool for accessibility and how is works
  • Test a webpage in Canvas




UCLA has over four thousand students registered for academic accommodations based on disability. Most institutes of higher education record on average around 10% of their entire student population have disabilities that would warrant an accommodation. This number is growing year over year by around 2-3%. Many of these students were already feeling marginalized during normal in classroom education, the move to online has further isolated many students with disabilities. This session will address the changing instructional landscape of COVID and post COVID.

The most common accessibility issues in the LMS are videos without captions, inaccessible documents, inaccessible learning tools. This session will outline how to identify each of these.

Canvas has out of the box a native accessibility checker and other free browser plug-ins. We will demonstrate how to run the checker and what it’s good for and what I might miss.

The Ally tool by Blackboard was originally developed at CAL to improve document accessibility in the LMS. Document accessibility is a rather easy metric to use to measure the general accessibility of the courses hosted in the LMS. We will introduce the tool, examples of remediated documents and data reporting.

We will wrap up the session with a lesson on manual tab testing.