ANGEL Course Management System

Because the ANGEL Course Management System is a Web tool, you may not have all the ability to manipulate accessibility features that you would in a stand-alone Web site. However, there are some steps you can take to make your ANGEL content more accessible.

See the ANGEL Help Page "Ensure ANGEL Course Content is Accessible" for the most up-to-date information.

Display Options

  1. Screen reader users, or those with severe low vision, may want to switch their display option to Accessible View, PDA Mode or 508 Mode. Any of these modes puts ANGEL into a frames-free, text-only mode and enlarges the text. See the ANGEL Help Page "Ensure ANGEL Course Content is Accessible" for more details.

  2. Depending on their needs, users with low vision or color deficient vision may wish to change their viewing profile, use a more accessible theme or link to a custom CSS.

  3. If students find the text too small in ANGEL even with zooming, you can suggest switching to a newer browser, such as Firefox or Internet Explorer 7+. These browsers tend to better support text zooming.

  4. If you use complex image maps, multimedia or scripts, you may want to develop them on an external Web site and link to them from within ANGEL.


The ANGEL HTML editor can be used to add formatting to HTML pages. Some tools that will assist users with different accessibility issues are:

  1. Page titles should be formatted with the Heading 1 (H1) option in the Select Format menu. This formatting helps users with screen readers quickly identify the page title.

  2. Main section headings should be formatted with the Heading 2 (H2) option in the Select Format menu. This formatting helps users with screen readers quickly scan and identify major sections of the page. Use the Heading 3 (H3) option for subsection headings.

  3. When inserting images, remember to fill in the Alternate Text field in the upload screen. This is the text that will be read aloud by a screen reader. See the HTML Editor: Insert an Image help topic for more details.

  4. Avoid using serif fonts like Times New Roman. The default sans-serif fonts are generally more legible.

  5. Make sure color schemes have enough contrasts between light and dark. See the Color and Colorblindness page for more details on color schemes.

  6. When inserting a table,
    1. Add a Caption as a title for the table
    2. Avoid merging cells, as it can make it difficult for screen readers to process
    3. Use the first row to indicate the type of data in each column
    4. Add a Summary to provide additional information to visually impaired audiences

  7. Avoid ambiguous link text such as "Here" or "Read More." Links should describe the destination. For instance, "Visit the NASA Home Page" is better than "For the NASA Home Page, go here."
    NOTE: Not only does this provision assist in screen reader navigation, but it also makes links and destinations ("information scent") more visible for all students.

  8. If you copy formatted text from Microsoft Word, use the Clean HTML Content tool (eraser icon) to clean the Word HTML code, then reformat the page.

  9. You can switch to View Source if you wish to hand-edit HTML code for accessibility.

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Uploaded Files

All files uploaded into ANGEL should be made accessible. Accessibility accommodations include:

  1. Extended text descriptions for images critical to course content. Remember that you cannot edit an ALT tag in ANGEL; so the description must be available in the text.

  2. Text transcripts for any audio used. Videos should be captioned or include a text transcript.

  3. Uploaded Word files, PowerPoint files (especially with images) or PDF files should have accessibility-related measures incorporated.


  1. When writing multiple choice questions in ANGEL, select the format of "Multiple Choice" (choices listed with radio buttons) instead of the "Matching Option" (drop-down menu). Drop-down menus present more accessibility issues for users with mobility impairment, screen readers or certain cognitive disabilities.

    Multiple-Choice Versus Matching in ANGEL

    Matching Format - Answers in Drop-Down Menu

    screen capture-dropdown

    Multiple Choice Format - Answers Listed with Radio Buttons

    screen capture-radio buttons

    Both examples ask how Spanish /ñ/ differs from English /n/ in articulation, and provide a list of anatomical terms. The answer is that the tongue body makes contact with the alveolar ridge for English /n/, but with the palate for Spanish /ñ/.


  2. Add text descriptions for all uploaded images. For instance, if you upload an image for a quiz, include a brief description within the text for the quiz question. For example:

    Sample ANGEL Quiz Question
    With Description of Image

    Q: Identify the saturated fat below. The fat chain has 18 carbon atoms in it.

    saturated fat molecule


    NOTE: This description is also useful for students who cannot see an image attachment or image file online for technical reasons.

  3. Students with learning or physical disabilities may not be able to complete timed quizzes within the given time frame. If these students are registered with the Penn State Office of Disability Services, they are permitted to request accommodation for timed quizzes and assignments.

Alternative Quizzes and Assignments

In some cases, instructors may be asked to provide alternative assessments (quizzes) or assignments (e.g. an online test with a longer duration). This can be implemented in ANGEL by creating a hidden assignment available to only the student who needs it.

See the ANGEL Knowledge Base: Override Assessment Settings for Specific Students for detailed instructions.

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