Canvas, Creating Accessible Quizzes

This page explains how to create accessible quizzes in Canvas.

Creating Accessible Quizzes in Canvas

Accessible Exams Checklist

Use Classic Quizzes rather than New Quizzes

The default quiz engine in Canvas is the Classic Quizzes interface. If New Quizzes is enabled in your course-level Feature Options, you will have to select which interface to use when you create a new quiz.

Choose a Quiz Engine dialog box

Classic Interface

classic quiz interface

New Interface

new quiz interface

Follow Best Practices for Content Accessibility in the Rich Content Editor

Please consult the following resources:

Use Alt Text for Images

If you have images in your exam questions, add alt text to them that describes the meaningful content of the image that is conveyed to sighted students. For example, if you had this question: "Answer in Spanish: what color is the woman's hair in the image?" You should add alt text that says "woman with red hair".

Add alt text by clicking on the image and then on the Image Options link.

image options link in the rich content editor

Use the Alt text field in the Image Options menu to add your description.

image options menu showing alt text field containing the words 'woman with red hair'

Add Language Attribute Tags for Non-English Text

Language attribute tags allow assistive technology (AT) like screen readers and other text-to-speech AT to voice text in its native language. Using language tags in your HTML content in Canvas ensures that assistive technology (AT) like screen readers and other text-to-speech AT will pronounce the words accurately, which is critical for correct interpretation of foreign language content.

Without language attribute tags, foreign languages are read with the default English pronounciation making them largely incomprehensible. For languages with non-Latin alphabets, screen readers and text-to-speech AT may not read out the text at all without a language attribute. For example, watch this video of a screen reader reading various Asian languages in which the characters are not read correctly without the proper language attribute.

To learn how to apply language attribute tags, follow the language attribute tutorial.

Note: you can even add language attributes to the text of answer options by selecting the Edit button (pencil icon) that appears on the right side of the page across from each answer option.

quiz answer editor with edit button highlighted

Avoid Using Abbreviations or All Caps

Screen readers and other text-to-speech AT are inconsistent in the way they read abbreviations; sometimes they are read out as a word, sometimes as individual letters. Additionally, text in all caps is sometimes read out letter-by-letter rather than as a single word.

Indicate the Type of Question in the Question Text

If Your Content has Equations, Use the Equation Editor or EquatIO

In the Rich Content Editor toolbar, first click the toolbar expansion link. Then select the "Insert Math Equation" button to author math content that will be rendered properly for screen reader users and other users of text-to-speech AT.

Rich Content Editor screenshot highlighting the toolbar expansion link and the Insert Math Equation function

Note: University of Illinois also has a campus-wide license for EquatIO, a math editor for converting equations in multiple formats to accessible formats. To learn more, watch this Quick Demo of EquatIO's Accessible Math Capabilities.

Avoid Using Time Limits

If you must have a time limit, make sure you know how to provide extended time accommodations for individual students.