Faculty Guide to Accessibility

All schools at Johns Hopkins University must take reasonable and meaningful action to ensure that newly authored content as of January 1, 2021 consistently meets industry accessibility standards, specifically Web Content Accessiblity Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. WCAG 2.1 covers a wide range of recommendations for making content more accessible to a wider range of people. These standards ensure that students with disabilities gain equal access to all content at JHU and will also improve teaching and learning for everyone by providing alternate and complementary versions of content. For a useful, easily digestible starting point, please visit this WCAG checklist.

Existing Systems and Resources

At Peabody, we believe that accessibility is critical for all learners, and we have been continuously implementing solutions and content to address these needs. We have fully implemented the AEFIS syllabus platform utilized by JHU, which is natively WCAG compliant; we have adopted Panopto, which offers built-in machine captioning for all videos; we have adopted Zoom, which offers built-in captioning of recordings, and will soon integrate automated captioning of live events; we have encouraged the use of eReserves in your courses through the Arthur Friedheim Library; and we utilize Ally, a tool for assessing content accessibility and providing alternate versions of content automatically within the Canvas learning management system. 

Minimum Requirements

At a minimum, faculty need to:

  • Ensure that you are using the provided document templates (Word, PPT), which promote use of recommended contrast ratios, alt text for images, accessible fonts, headings, and logical reading order and are compatible with screen reader software.
  • Provide students with alternative accessible formats for accessing the content of video and audio presentations. Post slide presentations, transcripts, and descriptions alongside video and audio content. For any content in Canvas, Ally provides some of these alternatives automatically.
  • Incorporate captioning into all synchronous (Zoom) and asynchronous (Zoom recordings, Panopto) video production processes. These tools are already provided or soon will be in our supported video platforms.
  • Request course readings through eReserves rather than posting scanned PDFs, as AFL can protect against copyright violations and use accessible version when available.
  • Incorporate addition of “alt text” into all document production processes at the platform or document level.
  • Avoid the use of images of text and avoid the presentation of data that relies solely on color.

Additional Resources and Training

Training will be provided throughout the academic year to ensure faculty and other content creators are up to date on these expectations. Visit the Faculty Workshops page to see more.