Project Overview

The Canvas Digital Accessibility Tool will be another addition to the accessible digital materials at Iowa State. The tool will give students access to review course content and dashboards in different, more accessible formats.

Back to top

Project Update

The Digital Accessibility Policy was adopted on January 3, 2022, setting the goal to make accessible digital materials widely available by July of 2026. The Digital Accessibility Tool is an extension of the university’s policy to provide more students with accessible materials through Canvas.  

In addition to the Canvas Digital Accessibility Tool, the Accessibility Toolkit was released on August 22, 2022. This contained guidelines for compliance with accessibility standards as well as contracts for closed captioning and American Sign Language interpreting integration. The Digital Accessibility Lab was opened to provide students with assistive technology and accessible gaming devices to better suit their needs.

Back to top

Project Details

The Canvas Digital Accessibility Tool will provide guidance to faculty on course content and accessibility. Six new file formats will be available for students to be able to view uploaded media. When a professor uploads a document for student viewing in Canvas, it will now be viewable in tagged PDF, ePUB, audio (mp3), HTML, electronic braille and translated version formats.  Students will also be able to access an Immersive Reader and Beeline Reader, for more focused reading and accessible documents. Training on how to utilize the tool will be provided throughout the 2022 fall semester as it is implemented in the 2023 spring semester.

Back to top

Schedule & Timeline

Spring 2023 (anticipated) 

  • All Canvas courses have the Canvas Digital Accessibility Tool fully integrated. 
  • Training and onboarding for all instructors, instructional designers and other staff will be conducted. 
  • CELT and the IT Solution Center will provide support and resolve issues; transferring issues to the appropriate team as needed. Faculty can email with questions.

Fall 2022 

  • 20 test courses provided feedback on the tool through formative and summative assessments. 
  • Training and onboarding for Iowa State faculty conducted. 
  • Feedback is provided. 
  • Promote Canvas Digital Accessibility Tool to build awareness to students and staff. 

Summer 2022 

  • The tool was installed into Canvas and test courses were selected. 
  • Training and onboarding for Iowa State was held. 

Spring 2022  

  • Anthology Ally was selected as the vendor for the Canvas Digital Accessibility Tool.

Back to top

Frequently Asked Questions

The Canvas Digital Accessibility tool automatically checks for accessibility issues and generates alternative accessible formats using advanced machine learning algorithms.

Guides instructors on how to improve the accessibility of their course content and alter student’s future behavior. The tool provides institution-wide reporting on course content accessibility and will drive further improvements at Iowa State.

Advanced machine learning algorithms automatically provides all students access to alternate formats for documents posted to Canvas.

The digital accessibility tool will create alternative formats for course files in Canvas. These include Immersive Reader, OCRed PDF, Audio, Electronic Braille, Beeline Reader, Tagged PDF, ePub and HTML.

Students can access digitally accessible files by clicking on an icon by a digital document in Canvas. This will create the requested file format.

By providing accessibility tools, Iowa State is able to raise awareness and visibility of accessibility by integrating directly into Canvas and existing workflows. 

In spring 2023 all Iowa State courses in Canvas will be able to access the digital accessibility tool.

To learn more about Iowa State’s digital accessibility policy, visit the University Policy Library or see the ITS Digital Accessibility Policy web page