Going beyond checklists for digital content to build a great course learning experience

Handouts Media

Presented at 9:15am in Penrose 1 on Friday, November 10, 2023.



  • Sandi Gauder, CMS Web Solutions

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference


Digital learning content published in a Learning Management System (LMS) may not need to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) but the basic WCAG rules can still apply when making content accessible.

However, following WCAG is not enough. We want to make sure that students and teachers have a great experience. To build a great learning experience, we need to do more than follow the rules.

In this session, we'll talk about ways to go beyond checklists, explore user experience (UX) design (or) Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and accessibility best practices to create digital learning content that is accessible and easy to use for learners and teachers.


Using accessible best practices is essential for creating digital learning content that works for students and teachers, including people with disabilities. Most content creators will use the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) as their goal. In some jurisdictions, meeting WCAG is a requirement for legislative compliance.

But, passing WCAG check points doesn't mean learning content is accessible or usable. In fact, it's possible to create content that passes WCAG but still isn't accessible.

Accessibility and usability are not interchangeable terms. Accessible digital content isn't always usable. It's essential to consider accessibility and usability in our course materials. This session will delve into how to achieve both goals.


  • discuss the value of automated testing tools in your process;
  • consider other tools and techniques for checking the accessibility and usability of our content;
  • talk about who to include in the process;
  • explore user experience (UX) design (or) Universal Design for Learning (UDL);
  • discuss the steps we can take to keep our website and learning materials accessible and usable in the long term.

Accessibility is an ongoing process. It doesn't end when course content is set. Instead, it requires continuous effort to maintain accessibility and usability. WCAG is a great starting point but with a few extra steps, we can take our digital learning content from accessible to usable. And that effort will help make the experience better for all.


  1. There is more to creating an accessible digital course than meeting WCAG.
  2. Accessibility doesn’t necessarily mean usability.
  3. Automated testing tools are only the beginning.

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Accessible Educational Materials, Uncategorized, Universal Design for Learning, Web/Media/App Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Sandi Gauder

As a web accessibility specialist, Sandi has been developing modern, accessible websites for over 15 years. She also coaches designers, developers, and content producers on best practices for meeting web accessibility guidelines.

She has led workshops for businesses, municipalities and web development firms on web accessibility and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). She has spoken at conferences and has appeared as a web accessibility expert in webinars. Management and technical audiences welcome her clear, common-sense approach.

Sandi developed the curriculum and taught Web Content and Social Media Accessibility at Mohawk College as part of the former Accessible Media Production Graduate Certificate program. She is also the Web Development Educator with AccessibilityConsulting.ca.