October 2018 Accessibility Updates


Disability Awareness Month continues at Yale this October with a lot of events continuing to populate the calendar, well into November. In addition to continuing to provide trainings and workshops through the CTL and ITS, we are beginning to see faculty-initiated programming related to digital accessibility, and an increased awareness more generally about making content accessible.

Table of Contents

Tip of the Month

Add alt-text to images in documents and websites. Alt-text is descriptive text added “behind-the-scenes” to images that is read aloud by screen readers. It also displays if an image does not load or if a user disables images from appearing when on the web.

Alt-text makes images accessible to people with vision and other disabilities, and also dramatically increases a website’s visibility through Search Engine Optimization. Keep your text brief and descriptive and you’ll see increased traffic to your website, as Search Engines use alt-text as additional information when crawling for results.

For more information on alt-text, visit the Images page on Yale’s Accessibility website.

Trainings & Workshops

YaleSites – Special Topics: Accessibility Basics

Wednesday November 14, 9:30- 11:00 am in 221 Whitney, Training Room 4

Wednesday December 5, 2:30-4pm in 221 Whitney, Training Room 4

Wednesday January 9, 2:30-4pm in 221 Whitney, Training Room 4

This class will cover the basics of website accessibility, as well as the actions you can take to improve or create an accessible website. Topics include link text, image text, heading structure, imagery and more! This class is recommended to anyone who works on a Yale website in some capacity, or for those with an interest in accessibility. Basic knowledge of YaleSites content editing is highly recommended before taking this session.

Web Accessibility Training for Content Editors

Wednesday, December 5 from 1-4pm in 25 Science Park room 321

Thursday, February 14 from 9am-12pm in 25 Science Park room 321

Wednesday, April 17 from 12-4pm in 25 Science Park room 321

This half-day workshop is designed to train staff who input content into websites how to do so in ways that meet Yale’s Web Accessibility Policy. Note: This workshop is primarily for people who create content through tools such as Wordpress or YaleSites Drupal. Visual designers and developers who program websites using HTML, CSS, or JavaScript can reach out to accessibility@yale.edu for more information on training targeted to their needs.


  • Explain the roles and responsibilities for content editors in improving the accessibility of Yale’s digital campus
  • Teach best practice for creating and editing content to be accessible
  • Share resources available to assist content editors in maintaining accessible web content

Accessible Word Documents, PowerPoint Presentations and PDFs: Basics

Tuesday, November 6 from 1-2:30 pm at the Center for Teaching and Learning, Room 121

Monday, December 3 from 2:30-4 pm at the Center for Teaching and Learning, Room 121

Thursday, December 13 from 2:00-3:30 at Cohen Auditorium, Child Study Center

This beginner’s document accessibility workshop is designed to train staff in the basic methods used for making Word documents, PowerPoint Presentations, and PDFs digitally accessible, for inclusion on university websites or for university-related business, including teaching, student services, and other administrative support. It is appropriate for anyone interested in learning how to make documents used in everyday university business more accessible and will cover the fundamentals of document creation and remediation. This training does not require a computer, but attendees are encouraged to bring laptops if possible.

Accessible PDFs: Advanced

Thursday October 25, 9:00 am – 10:30 am 25 Science Park Room 321

Thursday November 29, 9:00 am- 10:30 am 25 Science Park Room 321

This workshop is designed for those who make PDFs for inclusion on university websites or for other university-related business, and want to try their hand at some of the advanced techniques for making accessible PDFs using Adobe Acrobat Pro. Doing advanced PDF remediation is admittedly tricky, and is not something that we expect many at Yale to master. The techniques that will be reviewed are helpful to know if you desire to make PDFs accessible in situations where you don’t have the original source files (Word files, etc.). If you haven’t first attended our basic document remediation course (or have an understanding of making accessible Office documents and exporting to PDF), you should consider signing up for that course first. The training room at 25 Science Park has computers and access to Acrobat Pro DC. Attendees are encouraged to bring laptops if they prefer working on their own computers. Practice files will be provided. Following along with the instructor has proven beneficial for some who have taken the training.

Canvas Accessibility Drop-In Hours

Tuesday Oct 30, 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Interested in how you can make your Canvas course sites and course materials more inclusive? Wondering what all this talk about accessibility means? Come to the Canvas/Course Accessibility Drop-In hours, where we will introduce you to the accessibility tool Ally in Canvas and share some easy ways you can begin the process of increasing the accessibility of your course content for your students.

All hours held at the Welcome Desk in the Center for Teaching and Learning, 301 York Street

Events & Resources

Have an event you’d like us to feature or a resource to share? Email Michelle Morgan michelle.morgan@yale.edu for inclusion in our next update.


Zoom: Did you know you can use Zoom to record and caption your meetings? For more information, visit the Zoom help pages or email accessibility@yale.edu for assistance.


Library IT Tech Talk

Bass L01 AB

October 31, 2018, 2:30 – 3:30 pm

Technology that librarians can use for accessibility.

  • Accessibility Content Training by Michael Harris
  • Using Zoom Closed Captioning by Jenn Nolte
  • Accessible PDFs for Faculty and Students by Michelle Morgan
  • Accessibility Audit by Tracy MacMath

Disability and Access in the University: A Panel Discussion featuring James Berger, Katherrine Healey, and Michelle Morgan

Monday November 5, 5 pm

This moderated panel discussion will center on excerpts from Margaret Prices’s Mad at School: Rhetorics of Disability and Academic Life and will consider ways faculty can make university classrooms more accessible and inclusive spaces.

Hosted by the English Department

Center for Teaching and Learning 301 York Street, 120A

RSVP for the event with Professor Rasheed Tazudeen

Accessibility Heroes

Want to nominate someone (including yourself) as an Accessibility Hero? Email Michelle Morgan for inclusion in our next update.

Websites and Web Applications

Campbell “Brock” Harmon, Associate Director of Communications for Digital Media, Divinity School

Campbell Brock Harmon is the Associate Director of Communications at Yale Divinity School and a 2004 Divinity School graduate. Since 2004, he has been primarily responsible for the Divinity School’s web presence, which includes several websites. Harmon partnered with ITS to improve the Divinity School websites’ accessibility, and currently he ensures the school’s web editors are familiar with creating and maintaining accessible content.


Emily Coates, Associate Professor Adjunct of Theater Studies, Yale College Associate Professor Adjunct of Directing, Yale School of Drama

Professor Coates has worked over the past semester to not only accommodate a blind student taking her Movement Research course, but to incorporate this student’s particular experiences as a blind person into the fabric of her assignments and exercises. She took the challenges of accommodation and turned them into an opportunity to learn more about her field of expertise from a different angle.


Yale Medical School Accessibility Team

Kathy Castellon, Senior Administrative Assistant, YSM

Lisa Egan, Project Specialist, Faculty Support; Manager, Office of the Deputy Dean for Education, YSM

Susan Larkin, Associate Director YSM Office of Education

Gary Leydon, Associate Director for Tech Services, Teaching and Learning Center; Associate Director for Technology Services, Teaching and Learning Center, YSM

Dr. Michael Schwartz, Assoc Dean for the Curriculum, YSM

Peter Takizawa, Co-director of Integrated Curriculum, YSM

The accessibility team at YMS have been instrumental in driving accessibility efforts on the Medical Campus, thinking strategically about supporting faculty in making course materials more accessible and helping determine the key features of a digitally accessible campus.