Making Accessible Office Documents

One part of creating an inclusive classroom is making sure that the materials we use are accessible to those with disabilities. As the University of Washington Accessible Technology blog points out, there are some common steps that one can take regardless of the type of document. These include:1

  • Using headings
  • Using lists
  • Using meaningful hyperlinks
  • Adding alternate text to images
  • Using tables wisely

I will include links below to helpful resources for each of the three Office tools. This link to the University of Washington page on creating accessible documents contain very helpful information. There is also a link to Microsoft’s accessibility video training hub that has helpful information and examples.





1. “Overview of Accessible Documents.” n.d. Accessible Technology (blog). Accessed February 20, 2020.

ID2ID: Professional Development Event Synopsis 2

As a means of supporting our growth and knowledge in the area of universal design for learning and inclusive course design, over the last my ID2ID colleague and I read and discussed the book, Supporting College and University Students with Invisible Disabilities by Christy Oslund as our second part of the professional development requirement.

We both enjoyed the book and found it helpful in our practice. The book opens by dispelling myths and then sharing about the legalities around meeting the needs of those with a disability. The next five chapters were most useful, helpful, and illuminating for us as each shared a different invisible disability. These chapters included background information, co morbid disorders and support recommendations for each disability. These chapters helped to illuminate the challenges that those with each disability face and tangible recommendations for supporting those with a particular disability. The last few chapters launched into a discussion around universal design, universal design for learning, and consideration for administration. While informative my colleague and I did not find this section to be as helpful as the last. The recommendations here were a bit too general to be helpful.

In my work at Lawrence University this work will be a great resource for instructors helping them to better understand the students they teach. As we embark on a journey toward inclusive excellence the information in this book will help instructors exercise compassion toward students with a particular disability as well as have a better understanding of the legalities around disability. we plan to use this book in a faculty reading/discussion group in a near future term.

“UDL: Unplugged” Workshop


Calendar planner.The workshop has been rescheduled for Thursday March 14th, 9:30-11:00 AM

Please RSVP via this form if you would like to attend the workshop.


One possible criticism of the universal design for learning (UDL) framework is that it requires the use of technology. In the spirit of LU Unplugged, we will be working together to identify strategies based on the UDL framework that do not require the use of technology.


If you are interested in learning more about UDL please visit the following resources:

On the Web



An image of a text chat bubble.One common question that I receive is, “How can I transcribe this audio or video file?” Providing transcriptions for media make them more accessible and searchable. The list below offers some options that I have gathered over the years.

Automated Services

These use machine learning to produce the transcript.

  • – $15/hr. (they offer a 30 min free trial)
  • – $6/hr. (free trial available)
  • Spext – $21/hr. (they offer a 30 min free trial)

    Manual services

These transcriptions are done by a human.

  • Fiverr – This service allows you to post a job and someone will freelance. Quality and cost will vary.
  • Upwork – This service allows you to post a job and someone will freelance. Quality and cost will vary.
  • – $60/hour. Most expensive of the lot, but offers good quality, and file format options.

    One last option…

    This is a free option but ymmv (your mileage may vary). Make sure you are connected to wired internet if you try this.
    Google Voice Typing/iOS/Android Speech-to-text