Institute for Academic Development
Institute for Academic Development


Aspects to consider when aiming to make e-learning more accessible and inclusive.

The University of Edinburgh has been leading the way in online education. Online technology has the potential to be inclusive and accessible to all students. E-learning technology is potentially a wonderful vehicle for inclusion and accessibility when used correctly, but can also provide some challenges.

Disabled students can find that, despite being given appropriate assistive technology, they cannot easily access or use e-learning resources. However, in the vast majority of cases, even the most problematic accessibility barriers can be avoided without difficulty.

If you are unclear what will work for students, remember that sometimes asking them what they need can help with the way forward.

Possible adjustments

Visual impairment

Remember if important information is conveyed through images, graphs or colour, there must be text alternatives to enable students with sight impairments to understand the information fully.

Physical disability

You must ensure that your online course materials can be accessed without using a mouse.

Visual or hearing impairments

Videos should be subtitled or accompanied by a transcript for those with hearing impairment and feature descriptions for those with visual impairment.

Display features

  • Ensure that text can be resized
  • Ensure that font and colour can be changed: on the Web this can be done through Cascading Style Sheets
  • Avoiding using animations, and if it necessary to use them please provide a warning

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