Accessibility Handbook for Teaching and Learning

Accessibility handbook for teaching and learning Langara’s Educational Technology Department is excited to officially launch the Accessibility Handbook for Teaching and Learning. This free book is a comprehensive guide to digital accessibility explaining key concepts such as colour contrast, alternative text, and closed captioning. Foundational knowledge of digital accessibility is complemented with detailed, step-by-step instructions to create accessible content in platforms like Brightspace, PebblePad, PowerPoint, and Word.

With the introduction of the Accessibility British Columbia Act, post-secondary institutions will be required to adhere to accessibility standards for service and education. Langara has formed an accessibility committee and created an accessibility plan to identify, remove, and prevent barriers to accessibility. To meet those goals educational materials must be accessible and inclusive. Creating accessible material will require a consistent effort and refocusing of how digital content is created.

Screenshot of quick guide from the handbook

Accessibility is not a feature, it’s a necessity. The Accessibility Handbook for Teaching and Learning provides faculty, staff, and students with the knowledge and tools to incorporate accessibility into their existing workflows. Inside this deliberately structured and fully accessible web book, readers will find an extensive resource including quick start guides, step-by-step instructions, demonstration videos, and links to further resources. Best of all, this guide is supported and frequently updated by Langara’s Assistive Technologist, Luke McKnight.

The Accessibility Handbook for Teaching and Learning empowers all Langarans with the knowledge and tools to make accessible digital content. Accessible content is essential to learner success, democratic access to information, and minimizes feelings of othering. Creating and choosing more accessible content is essential to ensuring inclusivity is a reality for your team, in your classroom, and for your classmates.

The handbook is available for free under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, allowing you to use, share, and adapt the material as needed.

Contact Luke McKnight or assistivetech@langara.ca for more information including direct support in creating accessible content.

Digital Media Creator: Spark your creativity with us!

EdTech and TCDC are excited to announce the upcoming sessions of our Digital Media Creator (DMC) series, tailored specifically for both instructional and non-instructional staff. This enriching series of workshops is designed to immerse you in the world of digital media, helping you become proficient creators and users of engaging, multimodal content. The best part is that you don’t need to be good at art to join in; creativity is for everyone! By participating, you will not only enhance your teaching toolbox but also be in a better position to provide your students with diverse means of expression in their learning, a cornerstone of Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

What to Expect?
The DMC series begins with the foundational workshop, Create/Engage/Share: Introduction to Digital Media Creator (Module 1), scheduled for May 3, 2024, online via Zoom. This initial module sets the stage for exploring how digital media like images, audio, and video can transform the learning experience.

Following the introductory session, the series offers several modules, each focusing on a unique aspect of digital media creation:

To participate in these transformative workshops, registration for the Introduction to Digital Media Creator (Module 1) is a prerequisite. This requirement ensures that all participants have a solid foundation from which to explore more advanced topics. You can take as many or as few of the modules as you want after taking Module 1.

Earn a Digital Badge!
Completing at least four of the six modules earns you the DMC Digital Badge, evidence of your commitment and skill in digital media creation.

We invite all Langara instructors and staff to join these workshops. Let’s harness the power of digital media to create more engaging and inclusive educational experiences. Register today and spark your creativity with us!

Featured image generated with DALL-E as part of ChatGPT-4

Digital Practice - a collaborative approach

Build Brightspace Better

The Build Brightspace Better workshop series is designed to empower instructors with the knowledge and tools needed to enhance the student experience in Brightspace. This series comprises three engaging workshops. Each workshop is centered on a different aspect of Brightspace and the tools and features available to create a more enriching and accessible learning environment for students.

Session 1 May 6

Optimizing Course Readings

This hands-on workshop explores the Brightspace Reading Lists tool. Leverage library support and technology to seamlessly integrate diverse educational resources, from scholarly books to essential websites, into a singular, user-friendly digital Reading List format. Gain practical experience by curating a Reading List that exemplifies clarity, accessibility, and engagement for your students.

Session 1 registration.

Session 2 May 8

Enhancing Course Design with HTML Templates

In the second workshop learn how to revamp the appearance and structure of your course content. Make content pages that adhere to Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Accessibility standards (WCAG). No coding required!

This session will explore:

  • The benefits of using templates
  • Using the Brightspace HTML editor
  • How to apply templates to new and existing Brightspace content
  • Incorporating different template elements to create engaging pages

Bring your content and a laptop to create or update Brightspace content live with expert support.

Session 2 registration.

Session 3 May 13

Streamlining Course Navigation for Student Success

The final workshop in our series focuses on ensuring that your students can dedicate more time to learning rather than navigating. This interactive session will empower you to seamlessly integrate strategies that reduce excessive scrolling, clicking, and searching for your students. Together, we’ll work to highlight essential course elements, making content, assignment requirements, and due dates prominent and accessible.

Session 3 registration.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to transform your online course material into dynamic and engaging learning environments that prioritize student success.

Accessibility at Langara College

Improve Digital Accessibility: May Accessibility Workshops

EdTech is excited to announce a series of upcoming workshops dedicated to improving the accessibility of Microsoft Word documents and PowerPoint presentations.

Why Accessibility Matters

In today’s digital age, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their abilities, can access and understand information is crucial. This is where accessibility comes in. It’s about making sure that everyone has equal access to information and functionality.

What Our Workshops Offer

Our workshops are designed to provide you with the tools and knowledge to create accessible Word documents and PowerPoint presentations. We believe that with a little effort and the right guidance, we can make a significant difference in making information more accessible to all.

Who Should Attend

These workshops are for everyone! Whether you’re a content creator, an educator, or just someone looking to learn, these workshops are for you. No prior experience is required.

Let’s Make a Difference Together

By participating in these workshops, not only will you enhance your skills, but you’ll also contribute to a more inclusive and accessible digital world. So why wait? Join us to learn how to make information accessible to all.

Learning Lab: Enhance Accessibility with AI

Date: May 15

Time: 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Location: Hybrid (C202 or Zoom)

How to Create Accessible PowerPoint Slide Presentations

Date: May 22

Time: 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Location: Hybrid (C202 or Zoom)

Learning Lab: Improve the Accessibility of Existing PowerPoint Slides

Date: May 27

Time: 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Location: C202

Learning Lab: Improve the Accessibility of Existing PowerPoint Slides Drop-In

Date: May 29

Time: 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Location: C202

Inclusive Content Delivery

Creating accessible content is important to ensure an inclusive and welcoming experience. What you do with that material is equally important. Enhance your delivery—whether in-person, online, or during conversation—with new Langara resources.

The Accessibility Handbook for Teaching and Learning now has a chapter on Inclusive Content Delivery.

Accessibility Handbook for Teaching and Learning

In this resource find information, tips, and tools to guide you with:

  • Setting up for an in-person, hybrid, or remote session
  • Tips when speaking, presenting, or otherwise delivering content
  • How to consider your audience
  • How to account for disability and diversity
  • Bimodal delivery
  • Creating content that can be reused, remixed, and repurposed

Inclusive content delivery is not only a matter of respect and empathy, but a powerful way to increase the impact and reach of your material. Read Inclusive Content Delivery to learn more about creating inclusive and engaging experiences for everyone.

Generative Artificial Intelligence (Gen AI) Resources

AI generated image of a humanoid robot teacher with a pointer in a classroom, standing in front of a blackboard with equations
Image generated by DALL-E.

Whether you are a superuser or a novice, the number of resources on generative artificial intelligence can be overwhelming. EdTech and TCDC have curated some that we’d like to recommend.

  • How to access Copilot (Microsoft)
    • Interested in trying a generative AI tool or using it in your course? ChatGPT and Copilot (formerly Bing Chat) are currently available in Canada. Langara College students and employees have access to a premium version of Copilot through Microsoft Enterprise and the Edge browser. Microsoft’s FAQs provide information on how to access Copilot through Microsoft Edge. 
  • Practical AI for Instructors and Students (Ethan Mollick/Wharton School, August 2023)
    • If you’re looking for a great primer on AI, this series of five videos is worth the watch. Each video is approximately 10 minutes so the whole series can be viewed in under an hour. Topics include: 1) an introduction to AI; 2) what large language model (LLM) platforms like ChatGPT are and how to start using them; 3) how to prompt AI; 4) how instructors can leverage AI; and 5) how students can use AI.
    • Note: this series references four LLMs: ChatGPT, BingCopilot, Bard, and Claude. Bard and Claude are not yet available in Canada. 
  • AI Primer by Educause
    • This article is a reading (and viewing) list that links to resources that do a deeper dive into generative AI. A good resource for those who know the basics and would like to learn more.  

EdTech and TCDC also regularly offer professional learning opportunities on AI topics. Check the PD Events Calendar for current offerings.

As always, if you’re planning to integrate AI into your course, please be aware that: 

  • There are privacy concerns with AI platforms. We recommend using caution when inputting – or having your students input – private, personal, or sensitive information (e.g. resumes or other identifying data).  
  • For those using assistive technology such as screen readers, some AI platforms are more accessible than others. For more information, please see Accessibility of AI Interfaces by Langara Assistive Technologist, Luke McKnight. 

If you would like more recommendations for AI resources, or any other AI-related support, please contact EdTech or TCDC

EdTech Monthly Tip

The New Quiz Experience

Brightspace has released a New Quiz Creation Experience, a similar appearance to what you find in the Assignment tool. Over the coming weeks, we’ll highlight a couple changes that you should be aware of.

Changes to Timing & Display View

By default, no time limit is set on new quizzes. Use Time Limit to set the amount of time students are given to complete the quiz once they have started it.

To set a time limit:

  • Click Set Time Limit to add a countdown clock to the quiz. If this box is left unchecked, no time limit will be set. Be aware that setting a time limit does not, on its own, enforce the time limit — it only shows a countdown clock for the student.

Timer Settings

Timer settings are made once “Set Time Limit” is checked. Click on Timer Settings to control how a quiz behave once students exceed the time limit.

Timer setting options include:

  • Automatically submit the quiz attempt
    • This is the default on all new quizzes if the “Set Time Limit” box is checked. Quiz auto-submission automatically hands in quizzes on enforced time limit quizzes at the end of the set time.
  • Flag as “exceeded time limit” and allow the learner to continue working
    • This option allows the student to continue working but adds an “exceeded time limit” notation to the quiz when submitted.
  • Do nothing: the time limit is not enforced
    • The countdown clock is made available to students, but no time limit is enforced.

Old and New Experience Comparison

Previously Available OptionNew Behaviour
Prevent the student from making further changesAutomatically submit the quiz attempt
Allow students to continue working but automatically score zeroAutomatically submit the quiz attempt  
Allow the student to continue workingFlag the attempt as exceeded time limit and allow the learner to continue working
A quiz that has a grace periodGrace period no longer available. Quiz now uses only the time limit set

Adding Time to a Quiz in Progress

Changes to the timer may result in the need to add time to a Brightspace quiz in progress. Adding time is done through the Special Access feature and requires students refresh their browsers for the new time setting to take effect.

To add time to a Quiz in progress:

  • Navigate to the Brightspace Manage Quizzes tab and click on the quiz name to edit.
  • Select Availability Dates & Conditions.
  • Click on the Manage Special Access link.
  • Ensure “Allow selected users special access to this quiz” is selected.
  • Click on Add Users to Special Access.
  • Scroll down to the Timing sections and check the box for “Override time limit.”
  • Enter the new time limit in the minutes field.
  • Scroll down to the Users section and check all the students’ names.
  • Click Save.
  • Click Save and Close.
  • Tell your students to refresh their browsers.

Watch Changes to the Brightspace Quiz Experience (video, 8:56) to learn more about the recent tool updates.

EdTech Tools and Privacy

Generative AI Tools & Privacy

Generative AI applications generate new content, such as text, images, videos, music, and other forms of media, based on user inputs. These systems learn from vast datasets containing millions of examples to recognize patterns and structures, without needing explicit programming for each task. This learning enables them to produce new content that mirrors the style and characteristics of the data they trained on.

AI-powered chatbots like ChatGPT can replicate human conversation. Specifically, ChatGPT is a sophisticated language model that understands and generates language by identifying patterns of word usage. It predicts the next words in a sequence, which proves useful for tasks ranging from writing emails and blogs to creating essays and programming code. Its adaptability to different writing and coding styles makes it a powerful and versatile tool. Major tech companies, such as Microsoft, are integrating ChatGPT into applications like MS Teams, Word, and PowerPoint, indicating a trend that other companies are likely to follow.

Despite their utility, these generative AI tools come with privacy risks for students. As these tools learn from the data they process, any personal information included in student assignments could be retained and used indefinitely. This poses several privacy issues: students may lose control over their personal data, face exposure to data breaches, and have their information used in ways they did not anticipate, especially when data is transferred across countries with varying privacy protections. To maintain privacy, it is crucial to handle student data transparently and with clear consent.

Detection tools like Turnitin now include features to identify content generated by AI, but these tools also collect and potentially store personal data for extended periods. While Turnitin has undergone privacy and risk evaluations, other emerging tools have not been similarly vetted, leaving their privacy implications unclear.

The ethical landscape of generative AI is complex, encompassing data bias concerns that can result in discriminatory outputs, and intellectual property issues, as these models often train on content without the original creators’ consent. Labour practices also present concerns: for example, OpenAI has faced criticism for the conditions of the workers it employs to filter out harmful content from its training data. Furthermore, the significant environmental impact of running large AI models, due to the energy required for training and data storage, raises sustainability questions. Users must stay well-informed and critical of AI platform outputs to ensure responsible and ethical use.


This article is part of a collaborative Data Privacy series by Langara’s Privacy Office and EdTech. If you have data privacy questions or would like to suggest a topic for the series, contact Joanne Rajotte (jrajotte@langara.ca), Manager of Records Management and Privacy, or Briana Fraser, Learning Technologist & Department Chair of EdTech

Brightspace Quiz Accommodation

When you have a student that has an “extended time on exams and quizzes” accommodation, there is a single process to set up modified time for every Brightspace quiz.

To set modified time, use the Classlist in Brightspace and the Edit Accommodations feature beside an individual student’s name. Activate Modify Time Limit and then apply a multiplier of original time or add extra time in minutes. These modifications will apply to that student for the duration of the course.

For more detailed instructions, consult Setting up Quiz Accommodations on the Brightspace Instructor Help site or view the self-directed mini-course on Brightspace Accommodations.

To allow a student or group to write an exam or submit an assignment on a different day, use Special Access.

The Accommodation tool is one of many Brightspace features designed to manage your workload and assist your students. Visit Langara’s Brightspace Instructor Help site for more!

PebblePad: Unlocking Learning Potential

PebblePad, Langara’s ePortfolio platform, is out of pilot phase and now one of our core tools. It’s well suited to support both open-ended creative assignments and guided authentic learning. If you are looking for a way for students to document, share, and reflect on learning experiences, or if you need them to evidence their skills, capabilities, and achievements, PebblePad can be a great fit. In this age of AI, instructors are also looking to PebblePad for process assignments. 

Use at Langara

At Langara, PebblePad is currently used to support teaching and learning in Nursing, Recreation Studies, Library Technology, English, Geography, Publishing, Co-op, and Supply Chain Management, with more instructors and programs coming on board every semester.

The Affordances of PebblePad

  • Empowers students by providing a private and secure space to actively engage in their learning journey, promoting a sense of ownership and agency.
  • Promotes meaningful engagement in learning through critical thinking and reflection, contributing to a deeper understanding and retention of knowledge.
  • Helps students make connections in learning across multiple contexts: between individual courses, over an entire program, and with knowledge gained outside of formal learning contexts.
  • Supports students’ transition to future employment or academic pursuits by enabling them to identify knowledge, competencies, and creativity and then to showcase their projects and achievements.

How to Learn More

If you’re interested in PebblePad, the next introductory workshop is on January 11th from 10:00-11:00. Participants will activate their accounts, learn the basics of PebblePad, discover how it’s being used in various departments, and get ideas about how it could be used in their own courses.

In addition to scheduled workshops, you’re welcome to reach out to EdTech anytime to learn more about PebblePad.