Accessibility tool now available in Canvas!

Created by the University of Central Florida, the Universal Design Online content Inspection Tool, or UDOIT (pronounced, “You Do It”) enables faculty to identify accessibility issues in Canvas by Instructure. It will scan a course, generate a report, and provide resources on how to address common accessibility issues. Some accessibility issues identified by UDOIT are easily fixed with the click of a button while others might take an edit or two to amend.

Why should you consider using UDOIT?

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is described as “a research-based set of principles that together form a practical framework for using technology to maximize learning opportunities for every student” (Rose & Meyer, 2002, Preface). When UDL is applied, curriculum designers create products to meet the needs of students with a wide range of abilities, learning styles, and preferences. The UDL curriculum “reflects an awareness of the unique nature of each learner and the need to address differences” by offering:

  • Multiple means of representation, to give learners various ways of acquiring information and knowledge;
  • Multiple means of action and expression, to provide learners alternatives for demonstrating what they know;
    Multiple means of action and engagement, to tap into learners’ interests, offer appropriate challenges, and increase motivation (CAST).
(retrived January 2017. Universal Design in Education: Principles and Applications
web link –

What does UDOIT look for?

Errors that UDOIT flags

Suggestions that UDOIT makes

  • Links should contain text
  • No Alternative Text found
  • Alternative Text should not be the image filename
  • Alternative Text is more than 100 characters
  • Alt text for all img elements used as source anchors should not be empty
  • No table headers found
  • No row or column scopes declarations found in headers of the table
  • Insufficient text color contrast with the background
  • Multimedia objects should have text equivalents (e.g., transcripts).
  • Avoid the use of animated GIF’s
  • Synchronized captions should be provided for prerecorded web-based video
  • Link text should be descriptive
  • The text equivalents (e.g., transcripts and/or captions) for embedded content should update when content changes.
  • Headings should contain text
  • Consider adding headings to your document to create more structure
  • Avoid using styles for document structure
  • Avoid using color alone for emphasis

Where does UDOIT look?

What errors will UDOIT NOT find?

  • Announcements
  • Assignments
  • Discussions
  • Files
  • Pages
  • Syllabus
  • Module URLs
  • UDOIT cannot check within Word Documents, PDF Documents, or other proprietary-formatted documents.
  • Please visit the following resources to read about accessibility for these file types.

3 minute introduction to UDOIT from the Center for Distributed Learning from the University of Central Florida


How do I get UDOIT in my Canvas course?

Contact the KSC Help Desk and make the request. It will appear in your courses within 24 hours. or 603-358-2532.

Video Conferencing Gets a Face Lift

We will be updating the Canvas *video conferencing tool to the sleek, easy to use interface (please see the note at the bottom of this post). One of the biggest advantages to faculty and students is the new interface no longer requires the Java “launcher” download and installation. Instead, it will work directly in any web browser, though Google Chrome is recommended.

To see the full list of changes, click on the image below.

Image. Blackboard Collaborate Classic v Blackboard Collaborate Ultra
Image from the University of Northern Idaho. More information can be found here

Video conferencing is directly integrated into every Canvas course making access to a set of synchronous tools simple to setup. Faculty at Keene State have used video conferencing in a variety of ways including inviting guest experts to class, using it to support students in a blended or online course, office hours, and even using it during unexpected interruptions such as illness or poor weather.

Here is a 2-minute 40-second overview but if you’d like to work with us to learn more about video conference best practices or would like some assistance getting set up, let us know!

Getting started guide

Using the tools

*Note – the name of the tool is Blackboard Collaborate, not to be confused with the Blackboard learning management system. In Canvas it is labeled as “video conferencing”. Do not be surprised to see help documentation referred to as Blackboard Collaborate (old interface) or Blackboard Collaborate Ultra (new interface).

A New Look to Canvas!

Canvas is putting on a new look and feel starting in January 2016.  The changes are mainly to the navigation and log-in screen.  When you first log in to Canvas, you’ll be at the “Dashboard” screen which shows you your courses in the form of blocks.

See the example below – Click on the image to see it full-screen…New_Canvas_UI_with

There is now a permanent left navigation column that stays visible as you move through Canvas.  Items that used to be on the top of the Canvas screen like; Courses, Calendar, Inbox, Library link, etc., can now be found on the left navigation column.  That means that the menu for courses that used to drop down from the top of the screen will now come in from the left.

One other important change is that the button to view your Grades is now located at the bottom right of the Dashboard screen.



The Center for Engagement, Learning & Teaching will be running professional development events to show the new Canvas along with some new features that Canvas has incorporated including Canvas Commons, a great way to share Canvas materials and import materials into your Canvas courses.  Visit the Professional Development Events Calendar and sign up for these or other events.