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Accessibility statement for Canvas VLE and Online (HEP) Courses

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This statement does not cover the University of Sunderland’s main website www.sunderland.ac.uk. Please refer to the accessibility statement for www.sunderland.ac.uk if your query concerns that site.

The University’s web estate consists of many related sub-sites with the sunderland.ac.uk domain. Accessibility statements for such sub-sites will be found locally on each site.

Canvas is the VLE or virtual learning environment which is used by the University of Sunderland. It is used for both our on-campus and online programmes. You will use Canvas for accessing module content and resources, submitting work, working collaboratively with other students and so on.

The software is supplied and hosted by Instructure. Ensuring accessibility of the platform is a key focus of the provider, according to their accessibility statement. This includes information on:

The majority of the content within Canvas is uploaded and curated by the University of Sunderland staff. There are many different modules containing various types of content and files. As such, the accessibility level may vary between them although we have tried to make all content accessible including documents that are uploaded to the VLE. We want as many people as possible to be able to use this website. For example, that means you should be able to:

You can find useful advice on making your device more easy to use by visiting AbilityNet, which provides step-by-step guides to making individual adjustments to your laptop, tablet or smart phone.

How accessible this website is?

Microsoft Immersive Reader

Microsoft Immersive Reader has been activated within Canvas to allow users to change text sizes, fonts, background colours, language etc. when viewing all content pages created by academics within each space. Further information about the tool is provided by Microsoft.

Feedback and contact information

If you need information on this website in a different format like accessible PDF, large print, easy read, audio recording or braille:

Web: IT Portal
Email: celt@sunderland.ac.uk
Call: +44 191 515 2424

We’ll consider your request and get back to you in 5 days.

Reporting accessibility problems with this website

We’re always looking to improve the accessibility of this website. If you find any problems not listed on this page or think we’re not meeting accessibility requirements, contact: webteam@sunderland.ac.uk or celt@sunderland.ac.uk.

Enforcement procedure

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for enforcing the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (the ‘accessibility regulations’). If you’re not happy with how we respond to your complaint, contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).

Contacting us by phone or visiting us in person

Find out how to contact us.

Technical information about this website’s accessibility

The University of Sunderland is committed to making its website accessible, in accordance with the Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018.

Compliance status

This website is partially compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1¿AA standard, due to the non-compliances and exemptions listed below.

Non-accessible content

The content listed below is non-accessible for the following reasons.

Non-compliance with the accessibility regulations

Navigation and accessing information

Some headings on webpages are not organised to appear in order. We will correct heading order as we review each page

Not all page headings contain content and some headings skip a level

It is not possible to use a keyboard to access all the content. We will ensure content can be navigated by keyboard as we review each page.

Some information is conveyed as an image of text rather than as text itself so that it's not compatible with screen readers and other assistive technology. We will ensure content conveyed as an image is replaced by HTML when we review each page.

Most tooltips disappear as soon as the cursor moves. Also, tooltips are not always present for all icons and images. We will reconsider tooltip usage when we review each page.

Some links are not labelled clearly, for example, they do not make sense when taken out of context. Canvas automatically uses the file name of the image as the alternative text, so there is always some information provided to users; however, this text does not always provide a useful description of the image and the file extensions are also present. Users who access content through screen readers may therefore not be able to understand the image, the content it links to or what purpose it serves. We will correct link text over time as we review each page.

Adjacent links on certain pages go to the same URL

Tables may be used for layout only and their content is not at all tabular in nature


There may not be sufficient colour contrast between font and background colours especially where the text size is very small. We will change colours to ensure sufficient contrast when we review each page.


Not all pre-recorded audio-only or video-only media will have alternative media that presents equivalent information e.g. audio track with description of the action in a video with no sound. We are working through all media to add these and expect this to be complete by October 2020.

Not all video will have subtitles or subtitles that identify all speakers as well as noting other significant sounds e.g. laughter. We are working through all media to add these and expect this to be complete by October 2020.

PDFs and other documents

Not all our PDFs and Word documents meet accessibility standards. From July 2020 onwards we are running a series of workshops and campaigns to highlight this issue and train users in how to audit and then improve the accessibility of these documents.

We aim to improve our websites accessibility on a regular and continuous basis. See the section below ('What we're doing to improve accessibility') on how we are improving our site accessibility.

Disproportionate burden

We are not currently claiming that any accessibility problems would be a disproportionate burden to fix.

Content that’s not within the scope of the accessibility regulations

PDFs and other documents

Many of our older PDFs and Word documents do not meet accessibility standards - for example, they may not be structured so they’re accessible to a screen reader. This does not meet WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.2 (name, role value).

WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.2 (name, role value)

Some of our PDFs and Word documents are essential to providing our services. For example, we have PDFs with information on how users can access our services, and forms published as Word documents. We will also try to ensure any new PDFs or Word documents we publish will meet accessibility standards and where we find any that are not accessible we will rectify this as soon as possible.

The accessibility regulations do not require us to fix PDFs or other documents published before 23 September 2018 if they’re not essential to providing our services.

Regulations for PDFs or other documents published before 23 September 2018

Third-party content

Canvas is a third-party product that also contains other third-party content, which means that the University cannot have control over some of the content provided. Examples of third-party content that may be found within Canvas include, but are not limited to:

For any of the third party products that you may issues with accessing, you may be also be able to find accessibility statements in searchBOX. This is a free, comprehensive directory created by textbox to support accessible content. The University is not affiliated with searchBOX and is not responsible for its content.

If you find any of our resources hard to access, then please contact the CELT tram at celt@sunderland.ac.uk directly for help.

What we’re doing to improve accessibility

Preparation of this accessibility statement

This statement was prepared on 21 September 2020. It was last reviewed on 21 September 2020.

This website was last tested in September 2020. The test was carried out by The University of Sunderland CELT and Web Teams.

This website is tested weekly using a quality assurance tool to identify accessibility issues.

We tested: canvas.sunderland.ac.uk

Our website is tested on a regular basis, with a new scan scheduled every seven days using an automated accessibility tool provided by LittleForest. This tool tests all web pages and provides a report on accessibility issues. Manual checks are also performed on a sample of pages canvas.sunderland.ac.uk.

Issues are prioritised according to the severity of the impact it may cause, the number of people that may be impacted and the time involved in resolving the issue.