Accessible Documents: Make it a Combo

Burger and fries work together like accessible documents and UDL
CC0 Creative Commons, by Engin Akyurt,

A Burger is Good, but it’s Way Better with Fries.

I had a little “ah-ha” (Opera) moment the other day while reading Jennifer Pusateri’s blog about alt text. Jennifer talks about developing documents to pro-actively meet Word’s Accessibility Checker (i.e., ADA or AODA regulations) rather than modifying them after the fact.  She also suggests that just because we make a documents accessible, it doesn’t mean that it meets UDL principles. UDL is so much more.

Now, it wasn’t a “you get a car” kind of moment, but important for me nevertheless.  The relationship between accessible documents and UDL clicked for me. It is my understanding that posting accessible documents only takes students so far. It meets a specific need. But, if you pair an accessible document with a tool like Word’s Immersive Reader, then that accessible document becomes customizable and contributes towards UDL.

Immediate Enhancement to My Practice:

I’ve begun to include:

  • Tell students about the Immersive Reader which is available all students
  • Show students where to locate the tool in Office365
  • Demonstrate how to activate and tailor the customization tools using the Immersive Reader
  • Engage students in a discussion why personalization could be beneficial for their learning
comScore Group Assignment
comScore Group Assignment

Added Benefits:

  • Students could become more familiar with Office 365
  • Students could  familiarize themselves with the benefits of personalizing their learning experience – empowerment!

Universal Design for Learning (UDL):

  • This powerful combo provides students with options for Perception
    • Word’s Immersive Reader allows students customize how the content is presented and read aloud.


This is post 6/9, in participation with ecampusontario’s #9x9x25 challenge  Other recent posts include: UDL Win: Word’s Immersive Reader  and

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