[Athen] Help with accessibility of LMS

Ron Stewart ron at altformatsolutions.com
Thu Dec 20 15:06:38 PST 2012

Evening, I have received several inquiries on this in the last month or so and I just took a broad based look at the Canvas LMS and it only took a look at their website to see that they have no idea what accessibility means. I would also appreciate any in-depth look at their system but it seems that you can only get that if you are a serious buyer. At this point I just have to say don’t go there, but anyone who can provide in-depth info would be much appreciated.

At this point as a potential buyer I would like them to show it working with screen readers and magnification products.

This is the kind of information we want to get into our new product evaluation database.

Ron Stewart

-----Original Message-----
From: athen-list-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Mitchell Stoddard
Sent: Thursday, December 20, 2012 4:12 PM
To: athen-list at u.washington.edu
Subject: [Athen] Help with accessibility of LMS

I am wondering if any of you more learned colleagues might be able to assist me.

Our institution has just made the decision to switch to the Canvas Learning Management System. They are presently working on the transition program to assist faculty members in moving their courses from WebCT to the new platform.

I have been able to raise their awareness about access challenges, and they are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity to ensure that course offerings are more accessible.
What they are really hoping for are guidelines with checklists broken into 1) requirements and 2) recommendations.

“Required Standards” would reflect the minimum standards which all courses must follow. For instance, “If CHAT or DISCUSSION modules are used, you must have the following features enabled: XX , XX” ; “If timed exams/quizzes are used, timing is readily modifiable by instructor”). Courses migrating into the new LMS would have to meet these standards, or provide a rationale why the individual standard hasn’t been met.

“Recommended Standards” would reflect best practice for access, and any new courses would be designed to this standard.

I am wondering:
1) Are any of you aware of existing guidelines or documents that could serve as a ready framework for determining standards in this situation?
2) Are any of you using Canvas as your LMS, and might you be willing to speak about your experiences and how we might set up our courses to be as accessible as possible within this platform? Are there specific issues we need to be aware of?

Thanks in advance for any assistance you might be able to provide,


Mitchell Stoddard, Ph.D., R. Psych.
Director, Centre for Students with Disabilities Simon Fraser University
8888 University Drive (1250 MBC)
Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6

Phone: 778-782-3313
Email: mitchell_stoddard at sfu.ca

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