Friday, February 16, 2024

Building ICON courses with accessibility in mind from the ground up means accessibility options can be available to everyone, and students will have an easier time accessing content and completing assignments. The University of Iowa already provides many tools that can help with this.

  1. ICON Modules: organizing course content chronologically using the Modules feature in ICON helps students easily find what work they need for their courses any given week. Overwhelmingly, students prefer ICON sites to be organized chronologically or by unit using Modules.
  2. ICON Assignments: create ICON Assignments for everything your students do in your course. Even if you have assignments that students do not turn in online, having all assignments listed in ICON allows students to easily view their grades and better understand what work they have to do.
  3. ICON Due Dates: even if you accept late work without penalty, using Due Dates in ICON helps students understand where they need to be to stay on track and what assignments to prioritize. It also displays what assignments students have coming up.
  4. UDOIT: this program, built into every ICON page, lets you scan your courses for potential accessibility issues and helps you quickly fix them while learning tips for web accessibility.
  5. Accessible Readings: make sure PDFs you use have been scanned for optical character recognition. Avoid using PDFs that are only images (you can’t copy and paste text from them). Using programs such as ICON Direct to deliver etext can increase accessibility in your course. 
  6. Captions on Videos: while autocaptions do not replace professional captioning for students who need that accommodation, in many cases the autocaptions in Zoom and UICapture are good enough to provide support to many other students and make the content easier to engage with.
  7. Read&Write: this program, available for free to all University of Iowa students provides supports such as reading texts aloud and converting text to speech.
  8. Resources for instructors: students aren’t the only people who can use accessibility help. Instructors can learn more about accessibility resources available to them at the Accessibility@IOWA website and the Faculty and Staff Disability Services website.

Have questions about these tools? Contact the Office of Teaching, Learning, and Technology at