student taking notes
Man making notes on a desk

Help with  accessibility for students 

With much more time spent online this term, whether it be taking part in online tutorials and lectures, or studying with learning materials provided on Canvas and other platforms, it’s important that you are able to access these materials in a way that meets your needs.

The platforms that the University is using to deliver remote learning have a wide range of accessibility features and provide a good level of choice over how content is consumed. You may want to experiment with different ways of ‘reading’ content as you adapt to remote learning. Whether you need to interact with a package using the keyboard rather than the mouse, or want to experiment with having text read aloud rather than reading directly from the screen, the information below will help you explore your options.

Microsoft Apps

This Microsoft Teams accessibility overview describes how any participant in a meeting can turn on live captions (the better the audio quality, the more accurate captions will be). The immersive reader is available for a range of uses including to hear text read aloud, adjust the formatting of text, or highlight the grammatical structure of text. The immersive reader can also be accessed within a number of other Microsoft apps in Office 365, including Outlook, Word, OneNote and PowerPoint. For those using the Jaws screen-reader with Teams, there is this useful guide provided by FreedomScientific.

To learn more about the accessibility features in Microsoft Office, there is a useful overview of features that are useful for specific needs, for example those with Specific Learning Difficulties, or visual impairments. Features include being able to dictate text rather than type, and being able to navigate apps using only the keyboard.


SensusAccess is a new service that allows you to create your own accessible documents and alternative formats.For example, a text that has been saved as an image-based pdf or .jpg can be converted into an accessible Word document. Texts can also be converted into a range of alternative formats: including audio books, e-books and digital Braille, to meet your needs. The service is fully automated, and documents submitted are automatically deleted once they have been converted. SensusAccess does not store personal information. The service can be accessed via the web-form on the Bodleian website


Recorded lectures in Panopto are accessed via WebLearn or Canvas. Within the embedded video player, users access a range of accessibility features, including toggling captions on and off, adjusting the playback speed, navigating the player with just a keyboard, and using screen-readers.


Canvas has a number of accessibility features: for example, users can set a high contrast view, or set up the Calendar to show items in a list rather than a grid. There are also a number of keyboard shortcuts for Canvas The Canvas app is also a popular way of keeping track of your learning activities while you are away from your desk. Users can access help using Canvas by clicking on the "Help" option in the Global Navigation menu inside Canvas. You can 'live chat' or phone Canvas support, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Assistive Technology software

There is a wide range of software available that provides different ways of supporting study and interacting with content digitally, from speech-to-text, to mind-mapping, to help with organisation and note-taking. Diversity and Ability have published a useful overview of the available apps.

For information about the support available for students with a disability, please visit the Disability Advisory Service page.