Strategies for Creating Accessible Instructional Videos in Online Courses (the first time) (lecture session)

Scheduled at 11:15am in Standley II Lab on Wednesday, November 14 (2018).



  • Kyle Shachmut, Manager, Digital Accessibility , Harvard University

Session Details

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


There is so much more to creating accessible videos than captions and audio description. This session will discuss the processes HarvardX has implemented to produce quality accessible instructional videos, across a wide range of academic disciplines, in online courses.


Most online courses make use of video as an important means to deliver instructional content. Quality video production takes time expertise and resources to create. If accessibility is not considered from the start, additional work is required in order to make them usable by all learners. In order to sustain online learning at scale—like those in massive open online courses—a distributed universal design process is used in an effort to provide accessible videos to learners from the start. This session will share examples from freely available online courses utilizing a repeatable process to make accessible video content. Examples will include, speaker guidelines, script review, testing, graphic selection, supporting materials, captions, descriptions, and more.


  1. accessibility should be a consideration from the concept phase of video development
  2. working with speakers on setting expectations and coaching (if needed) is key for success
  3. guidelines, checklists and supporting resources are key to making accessible video repeatable in distributed

Disability Areas

Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Vision

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Alternate Format, Teaching about Accessibility in Curriculum, Uncategorized, Web/Media Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Kyle Shachmut

Kyle Shachmut is the Manager of Digital Accessibility at Harvard University with focus on providing strategic direction to digital accessibility efforts across all of Harvard’s schools. His role works collaboratively with Harvard University Information Technology and University Disability Services. One major area of focus includes Kyle’s oversight of the universal design approach that integrates accessibility into online learning experiences through HarvardX—Harvard’s initiative that creates massive open online courses MOOCs available on edX. Kyle speaks frequently on issues related to technology, accessibility, online learning, and higher education. His works have been featured widely including The Boston Globe and The Chronicle of Higher Education.