Accessibility and Usability for Educators

Considerations for Teachers

This resource is available to support local teachers in implementing Iowa e-Learning Central (ILC) courses locally. This support is focused on considerations that will allow greater accessibility and usability.

The considerations below provide basic considerations about accessing and teaching Iowa eLearning Central (ILC) courses. This information will not replace individual accommodations or modifications students may be entitled to as part of a student’s individual education plan.  


“Accessible Text” is printed material (e.g., textbooks, articles, exams/quizzes) that is converted to an electronic format, so it is accessible via computer or other device. Formats produced include: Microsoft Word, pdf, RTF, Braille, and Tactile Graphics. 

  • Refer to the Content Developer Accessibility and Usability Guide where you will find more detailed accessibility and usability suggestions when developing additional course content locally.
  • Keep content native to the platform in which it is used (e.g., if documents come from Word, use Word instead of converting to pdf or opening it with google docs).
  • Use the Equation Editors found in Microsoft and Google Word and/or MathType when working with mathematics or science materials involving equations.
  • Avoid pdf when possible; even “accessible” pdfs are not always readable. If pdf use is necessary included below are tools to assist with accessibility. 
  • Use the Michigan State University Web Access resource for more information about best practices on pdf document use, font choice, color contrast, alternative text use, and the best use of headings, lists, and tables.
  • Use video content with Closed Captioning/Audio Transcripts (CC/AT) built in.
  • Check the interaction of any individual student devices or accommodation with the received materials before online classes start.
  • Perform an accessibility check on received materials and correct any errors (see the following Available Tools and Resources section).


Usability is related to learners’ ease in achieving learning goals, specifically as technological supports interact with online instruction. It may be necessary to understand different aspects of technological support, such as the fact that “text readers'' and “screen readers'' differ in how they provide document/graphic content to the learner. For further support, consult Designing for Accessibility with POUR - National Center on AEM or contact your local AEA Media Specialist. 

  • Make learning materials available through multi-sensory means, e.g., visual content is available auditorily and vice versa.
  • Avoid the use of drag and drop technology when possible since this is difficult for some students.
  • Use discipline specific language and vocabulary when necessary for learning goals.
  • Use plain, clear language for instruction, directions, and other communications.
  • Identify additional glossary items based on local learner needs.
  • Allow students to use their own tools during assessment (i.e., word prediction, dictation).
  • Make materials shared electronically (via screen) available electronically to students.
  • Provide transcripts of simulations/animations and give a hands on alternative to online student-interaction simulations and animations.

Additional Resources

Online Tools

General Purpose Tools, Resources, and Support

  • Google Workspace - Docs
  • Google Workspace - Slides
  • Google Workspace - Sheets 
  • Free for schools using Google apps for education; monthly fee for advanced video-conferencing. Google workspace (formerly G Suite) available at extra cost.
  • PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Teams

Video: Creating and Recording Tools, Resources, and Support

Audio: Recording and Publishing Tools, Resources, and Support

  • Synth: Allows the recording of audio and for students (or others to listen to). Used to provide directions, share learning targets, and provide feedback. 
    • Free for educators and students
  • Anchor: An all-in-one platform where one can create and distribute a podcast from any device.

Quiz Creation, Games, and Informal Assessment Tools, Resources, and Support

Creating Interactive Presentations Tools, Resources, and Support

Computer Science

  • Scratch: Allows students to program (i.e., code) games, interactive stories, and animations.


Learning Management Systems (LMS)  

Learning management systems are typically online places that teachers, families, and students log into in order to view coursework, turn in coursework, and participate in classes. Information contained below is current as of March 9, 2021.

Google Classroom

  • No specific statement for Google Classroom; indicates which Google products and extensions support accessibility.
  • Accessibility Statement
  • Classroom Support
  • Parent Engagement
  • Accessible for students who are blind, visually impaired only if materials uploaded are, in themselves, accessible.





Chalk and Wire 

  • Statement only available for parent company.  Accessibility Statement
  • Minimal website information: eportfolio focused and possibly post high school oriented.