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This page provides a quick, high-level understanding of how to use different types of campus technologies accessibly. 

MS Word

MS PowerPoint


  • Use software that creates accessible PDFs, like MS Word (Windows only).
  • Run OCR on scanned items.
  • Fully determining the accessibility of a PDF document is challenging. The following procedure will let you get an overview of a document's accessibility.
    • In Adobe Acrobat choose "Full check" under View, then Tools, then Accessibility.
    • Confirm the correct document reading order by selecting "Read Out Loud" in the View menu to have the document read to you.
  • View a more detailed cheatsheet for creating accessible PDFs available through the NCDAE GOALS project.

Blackboard Learn

  • Most of Blackboard Learn’s functionality is accessible.
  • For content that you upload, use the appropriate guides on this webpage.
  • For content that you create in Blackboard (e.g. items, discussion board posts, announcements), follow these guidelines:
    • Ensure Edit Mode is ON, select "Edit" from the menu next to your content and:
    • Right-click on any images, select "Image" and ensure there is an appropriate Image Description.
    • Verify that headings are properly identified in the "Format" dropdown in the Text Editor.
    • Ensure lists are properly bulleted.
    • Check for consistent font type, size and spacing.


  • Include captions.
  • Use an accessible media player, (i.e. Relay, YouTube.)
  • When adding YouTube videos to Blackboard, we recommend using the YouTube mashup to embed the videos and include the YouTube URL. 
  • Check for accessibility by pressing TAB on the keyboard. You should be able to play, pause, fast forward, rewind, and toggle the captions for the video using only your keyboard.

Third-party and Publisher Materials

  • Videos must be captioned.
  • Audio must be transcribed.
  • PowerPoints must include alternative text for images.
  • All of the text that is displayed on the screen must be able to be read aloud by text-to-speech software. (Images containing text or text embedded in flash cannot be read by screen readers.)
  • All interactivity (media players, quizzes, flashcards, etc.) must be able to be completed by keyboard alone (no mouse required).
  • Ask for a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT).


  • i>clickers can be used in accessible ways.
  • Some students may benefit from using the web version of i>clicker, REEF Polling.

Web Pages

  • Use freely available tools to test for web page accessibility.
  • Use properly formatted headings to structure the page.
  • Use true bulleted and numbered lists.
  • Provide alternative text for images and shapes.
  • Write meaningful link text that indicates the link’s destination.
  • If using tables, create data tables with column headers and ensure proper reading order.
  • Do not use color alone to convey meaning.
  • Use sufficient color contrast.
  • Provide a descriptive document or page title.
  • Use freely available tools to test for web page accessibility.
  • WAVE Toolbar (

Questions and Help

Disability Support Services
(616) 234-4140
Contact this office if you need assistance providing an accommodation for a student.

Distance Learning & Instructional Technologies
(616) 234-3205 
Contact this office if you need training on how to build accessible content for your class.

Media Technologies
(616) 234-3830 
Contact this office if you need to borrow equipment ( e.g. i>clickers, microphones, webcams, headsets, camcorders).
Equipment Check-out Form

Captioning Services
Contact this office if you need to have video content captioned for a GRCC course. There is more information and an online caption request form available at

*NCDAE is the National Center on Disability and Access to Education.