Canvas Accessibility Tips

The following tips for Canvas will aid instructors in their role to accommodate students when Canvas is primarily used in a course and assistive technology (AT) is needed to access course content.  AT is hardware and software designed to provide individuals with disabilities access to information and products.  AT at USF includes ZoomText, JAWS, Dragon Naturally Speaking, Natural Reader, and Screen Magnifier.  For more information about AT visit the Assistive Technology webpage.

Extended Time


  • Organization is one of the most challenging and critical aspects of Canvas. A poorly organized course is extremely difficult to navigate and cohesiveness is critical. This validates the importance of course structure. Course organization should be given as much attention as content, assessment, tools, etc.

Submitting Assignments

  • JAWS (screen reading software) may experience issues when submitting papers.  Student may need to submit papers using an alternative method (i.e. email) or may need sighted assistance.

Images and Alternative Text

  • When using images within a test/module, provide appropriate labels and a description of the image content. This description should provide enough information for the student to understand the content as a sighted person would.

Posting on Discussion Boards

  • Navigating the discussion boards with JAWS is difficult as JAWS does not differentiate between parent and child (replies) posts.
  • Be cognizant of the posting requirements if a student is required to respond to specific postings. They may have a difficult time navigating lengthy discussion forums. If a student has problems finding something within a forum, promote the use of the "search" field and using the "read" or "unread" radio buttons.
  • One simple way of reducing the potential postings within one forum is to make sure you create separate discussion forums when possible


  • Let students know how they can access their groups, (through the Courses & Groups menu or the People menu).
  • If student-to-student interaction is required within Canvas (emails, discussion boards, and groups) ensure the communication mode is one that is accessible all students. This includes accessible text documents, such as WORD, PDF, emails, etc.

Content Pages

  • Use the best practice guidelines when loading content into a content page (i.e. use of header styles, consistent page layout, etc.).

For additional information on accessibility and creating accessible content, review the Accessibility Guide on the Web Accessibility webpage.