Canvas Accessibility: Accommodation & Accessibility in Online Courses

This article includes information and links to resources to help you accommodate students with documented disabilities and design online courses with accessibility in mind.


According to Rice Policy 402, instructors should "provide reasonable accommodations upon request for individuals with disabilities." Please refer to the Disability Resource Center (DRC) website for more information about providing reasonable accommodations.

If a student with a disability encounters an unexpected barrier in Canvas and you are unable to resolve it, please send an email to and the Digital Information Accessibility support team will respond within 1 business day.

Extra Time on Quizzes and Exams

Providing extra time on quizzes and exams is one of the most common accommodation requests in Canvas. If you need assistance with this process, submit a Request Tracker (RT) ticket and the Canvas support team will respond within 1 business day.

Transcribing or Interpreting Services

If a student is eligible to receive transcribing or interpreting services, please coordinate with the DRC to obtain a transcriber or interpreter. If the transcriber or interpreter needs to be added to your Canvas course, submit a Request Tracker (RT) ticket and the Canvas support team will respond within 1 business day.

For more details about providing this service in Zoom, please see the Faculty Quick Reference Guide for Real-Time Captioning


Accessibility is the degree to which digital information and resources can be independently accessed and used by as many people as possible, including individuals with disabilities. Accessibility is proactive and minimizes the need to provide reasonable accommodations (described in Accomodation).

Accessibility Standard

Rice University has adopted the Worldwide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1, Level AA (WCAG 2.1 Level AA) as its accessibility conformance standard. For a practical guide on the WCAG 2.1, please see the Accessibility Guidelines Summary.

Accessibility in Canvas

The Canvas learning management system (LMS) is designed with a high level in accessibility in mind. However, you are responsible for ensuring that the content you create and share in Canvas meets the WCAG 2.1. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Content created in the Rich Text Editor
  • Files like Microsoft Word and PDF
  • Videos with accurate, synchronized closed captions
  • Podcasts with accurate transcripts
  • Data tables with headers
  • Graphics like maps and charts with alternative text descriptions

If you need assistance improving accessibility of your content, please send an email to and the Digital Information Accessibility Coordinator will respond within 1 business day. For information, please see the Designing an Accessible Online Course guide.

Canvas Check Accessibility Tool

Use the Canvas Check Accessibility tool in the rich content editor to identify and fix any accessibility issues, including:

  • Headings out of sequence
  • Missing alternative text
  • Low Color Contrast
  • Missing table captions and header rows

Video Transcripts & Closed Captions

Everyone has the tools to provide accurate closed captions in all course videos. People who are unable to hear depend on accurate close captions, but there are numerous ways closed captions benefit everyone. Kaltura and Zoom provide automatic closed captions and transcripts. However, it is important to note that automatic captions and transcripts are only roughly 80% accurate. Use tools to edit and improve the accuracy of automatic closed captions.

Kaltura Videos

All videos uploaded to your Kaltura My Media will receive automatic machine-generated closed captions. Follow the guidelines on Edit Kaltura Closed Captions to improve the accuracy of Kaltura closed captions. 

Zoom Cloud Recordings

Zoom meeting that are recorded to the cloud will receive automatic machine-generated closed captions. Use the Zoom editor to improve accuracy of automatic captions. Note, local recordings do not receive automatic closed captions.

Keywords:accessibility, accommodation, disability, ada, drc, oit, a11y, canvas   Doc ID:93939
Owner:John W.Group:Rice University
Created:2019-08-19 11:51 CDTUpdated:2020-09-15 15:51 CDT
Sites:Rice University
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