Planning your open course - before you build it

Before you attempt to upload anything online, you will need to think about the following:

  1. Audience and purpose
  2. Learning Design
  3. Structure and Metadata
  4. Writing the course
  5. Copyright
  6. Accessibility
  7. Assessment and rewards

6. Accessibility

Accessibility is important and beneficial for everyone. It is always good practice to consider how your resource might be used by people with visual impairment, dyslexia, mental health conditions or other special requirements and it is important to understand that applying good accessibility practices consistently throughout the resource has the potential to help all learners using the resource.  

Accessibility checklist

Providing alternative format options, alternative text, checking colour contrast, content resizing, content structure, form labels, language of page, link text, keyboard navigation, captions, skip links, transcriptions of any video or audio resources and captioning of video resources are all needed to make your resource accessible to as many people as possible. 

Learners who have no disabilities find alternative formats useful, depending on the context in which they are learning. For example, transcripts can help students follow a video/audio and make notes more easily.


All images you use in your resource will need long descriptions so screen reader software being used by learners who have visual impairments can tell them what is included in the image.  For example:

  • A diagram, graph or flowchart which contains any text in the image must have a long description (alt description) which includes all of this text in a logical way. 
  • A picture needs a description to explain what is happening in the picture.

It is best to write long descriptions for images as you are authoring a course and choosing images to use, to avoid a last-minute panic before publishing.  Ideally images need to have captions (with attribution information if the image is not yours). The Asset register template has a column for long descriptions.

Text and tables

All text should be formatted consistently, so pages of content do not look messy and hard to read, which happens if a variety of fonts, text sizes and font colours is inserted into a page from various sources. Use formatting styles or edit the text in html mode as good accessibility practice. Screen reader software will use the html formatting when navigating and reading a page out loud. 

When you copy and paste text from other software such as Word, some hidden formatting code is carried over but might not be compatible with Moodle, so the following practice will help you avoid hidden formatting code issues and provide more consistently formatted text and tables:

  • Copy text into a text editor (for example Notepad) to strip out hidden code then copy from the text editor into a Moodle book, page or label. Reformat the text if necessary, using the Moodle formatting tools or switch to html editing mode if you are comfortable editing in html.
  • Consistently use heading, paragraph and bullet point/numbered list styles in the Moodle formatting tools (for example heading styles <h1></h1>, <h2></h2>, <h3></h3>; paragraph style <p></p>, list style <li></li> if in html editing mode). 
  • If you have written your content in Word and want to import it into Moodle Book, you can do this if you have applied heading and paragraph styles consistently in Word. See OLCreate: Adding Resources: Importing from Microsoft Word | OLCreate ( for guidance.
  • Ensure all tables are html tables which use the html styles and keep the tables simple. It is better to have a series of simple tables which explain how information and ideas are organised, than one large complicated table which could hinder interpretation and not display well, especially on a small screen if the learner is accessing your resource via a mobile device. Avoid inserting tables as images, because this will be unreadable to screen reader software, and difficult to describe in an image long description.

Video and Audio accessibility

Transcripts, captions and subtitles make video and audio files more accessible to people with visual and hearing impairments. See embedding a video, adding an audio file and adding a transcript. Video editing software has the functionality to add subtitles and captions. These should also be included in the transcript.

Video and audio files with music soundtrack playing while a voice is speaking may not be accessible for those with hearing impairments, it is harder to absorb spoken information through a continuous musical soundtrack, especially if the music is loud. Therefore, if you add it, use background music sparingly so it enhances rather than overwhelms the message being conveyed.

Testing accessibility

It is advisable to test your resource is accessible before you attempt to publish it. This platform has a publication authorisation stage, and we will not publish resources which are not accessible.