Brightspace Accessibility

The following page will help you create Brightspace content that is accessible to all students. The page will help guide you in supporting students with accomodations as well as apply Universal Design for Learning principles, which align very strongly with the Jesuit and Marymount traditions.

The following 3 options can make your courses accessible and easier to learn from for all students, not just those with accommodations:

  • Use Brightspace Accessibility Templates.
  • Create accessible Word documents.
  • Create accessible PDFs using Acrobat.

Using Brightspace to Create an Accessible Course

Brightspace Is Accessible*

  • If you watch carefully, you may see confirmation messages appear briefly when you take actions in the system. These messages are for screen readers, which read them out loud for visually impaired users.
  • If you click on your name on the top right while logged in to Brightspace, and choose Account Settings, there are several settings that may make your user experience more comfortable.
*Add-ons and extra tools from other companies that have been added to Brightspace may not be accessible automatically. Please consult with your Instructional Technologist or DSS to find out more.

Brightspace Textboxes

At the bottom of every Brightspace text box is an Accessibility Checker button.


And while you're at it, every time you upload an image like the one above, make sure to "alt tag" it. Having "alternative text" allows screen readers to explain to the person what the image is representing. If you hover your cursor over an image, the alt-tagged text should show up. If you choose the ‘This is decorative.’ button, a screen reader will know to ignore this image.

Using Brightspace Accessibility Templates

Brightspace's templates will walk you through what you need to do to make your pages accessible.
To find these templates:
  1. Select "Content".
  2. Select "Upload/Create", then "Create File".
  3. Click "Select a Document Template" and then "Browse for a Template" (There may be other areas of Content where you can select Templates).



  1. Select "Shared Files".
  2. Select "Accessible_HTML_Templates v2".
  3. Select "pages".
  4. From here you can click each link to see a preview of the template, or check the box to the left and add it.

Video Note Automatic Captioning

Video Notes have a 30-minute recording limit, and are great for anyone in the course to record short introductions, updates, feedback, and more. Video Notes can also auto-caption spoken language.
  1. Select "Content".
  2. Select "Create File" (there may be other areas of Content where you can select this).
  3. Give this file a title name, then click on the "Insert Stuff" button.
  4. Select "Add Video Note".
  5. Click "New Recording".
  6. Click "Stop Recording" when complete.
  7. Click "Next".
  8. Fill out a title, description, audio language, and check the "Automatically generate captions from audio" box.
  9. Click "Next" then "Insert".
  10. Click "Save and Close".
*Note - the video will take a few minutes to process, and the auto captions will take an additional minute after the video processing is complete.

Edit Video Note Caption

To edit video captions, click on the Admin Tools cog icon at the top right of your Brightspace screen and choose "Video Note Captions". On this screen you can:
  1. Edit for corrections.
  2. Delete your captions.
  3. Download this information. The download option is Captions in VTT format, or Transcription in JSON format.
  4. If you need to caption after the fact, you can do so.


Building Accessible Documents

Building accessible documents is easiest when you use a template with accessibility built in, or design on the web. If you would like to create a more traditional downloadable text document from scratch, the following section provides resources to do so. The most common traditional text document formats are Microsoft Word's .docx, and Adobe Acrobat's .pdf.

General Tips

  • Digitally scanning a handwritten document does not make it accessible. A screen reader needs typed text.
  • Any scans should be done vertically, right side up.
  • Each heading needs to be tagged as such, and in descending order/size. For example, the :Using Brightspace to Create an Accessible Course" headline at the top of this page is an H3 headline (headline size 3), while the "Build Accessible Documents" headline is H4. Any smaller headline within the "Building Accessible Documents" section would be H5. 
  • Lists, columns, tables, also need to be tagged.
  • Links and images should have alternative text "alt text" added.
  • Colors should be web safe, and have the correct contrast ratio.
Using Microsoft Word for Accessibility
Using Adobe Acrobat for Accessibility