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

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



  • Kyle Shachmut, Asst Director, 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 Assistant Director of Digital Accessibility at Harvard University, providing strategic direction to digital accessibility efforts across Harvard’s schools. He frequently works at the intersections of information technology, disability inclusion and academic administration. He led creation of Harvard's Digital Accessibility Services team and collaborates with institutional leaders to guide governance of the University's Digital Accessibility Policy. Previously, his focus area included a universal design approach integrating accessibility into at-scale learning experiences through HarvardX—Harvard’s initiative that creates online courses through the Office of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning. Beyond Harvard, Kyle is co-chair of the EDUCAUSE IT Accessibility Community Group, the largest affinity group for accessibility professionals in higher education. He has advocated for greater accessibility in community and professional associations for over a decade, advising local state and federal policymakers. In 2021, he received the 'Rising Star Award' among higher ed technology professionals from Educause. Kyle frequently consults speaks and writes about matters related to digital accessibility, public policy, technology in education, universal design and more.