Quality Matters Monday: Standard 8.3

It’s Quality Matters Monday! Each Monday, we highlight a Quality Matters standard and review its importance in an online course and how we evaluate this standard.

Today, we are reviewing Quality Matters Standards 8.3

General Standard 8 addresses Accessibility & Usability.

Click here to view Quality Matters Standard 8.3 in the Quality Matters Rubric.

Standard 8.3 addresses the importance of providing alternative means of access to course materials in formats that meet the needs of diverse learners.


  • One of the greatest advantages of online teaching is that it permits disabled students to participate alongside their peers in all aspects of a course without many of the limitations imposed by a physical classroom. However, if you don’t approach the course design process with universal accessibility in mind, you may include technologies in your course that are inaccessible, thereby unintentionally excluding disabled students from accessing materials that are crucial for their success. In the past, we discussed QM Standard 8.2, which highlights the need for providing students with accessibility information for all the required technologies utilized in your course. Today we’ll be going through a checklist for actually making these technologies accessible.


  • Giving your students alternative formats for auditory and visual content when appropriate is necessary in order to meet Standard 8.3. Even if you do not receive any direct, disability-related requests, you have an obligation to ensure that you have alternatives ready in your course. The main thing we recommend is following our downloadable Web Accessibility Checklist, which will allow you to see if there’s any holes you might have overlooked during the course design process. We’ve included it here for your convenience.


Can the application be used with only the keyboard?


Do images have appropriate text descriptions?

Do pages have a consistent look-and-feel?


Does text have enough color contrast?


Do pages includes headings and landmarks?


Do form controls and widgets have labels?


When styling and layout is removed, is the document understandable?


AP Guidance:  Can your students access the course materials in a variety of formats?  If you have an image, do you have descriptive “alt” text to correspond with the image?  Follow the checklist we’ve provided here to ensure that all of your students can access your materials in a variety of formats!


Use of the Quality Matters standards are restricted to institutions that subscribe to Quality Matters.  For more information visit the website: www.qualitymatters.org or contact [email protected].

All QM Standards – ©2018 MarylandOnline, Inc.  Used under license.  All rights reserved.

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The Quality Matters Research Library can be found here:  https://www.qmprogram.org/qmresources/research/.

Click here to access Quality Matters eLearning Marketplace. The Quality Matters eLearning Marketplace is a free, searchable database built to serve the broad QM community with an easy-to-use eLearning product/service directory organized within the 8 general standards of the rubric as well as by user and product categories.





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