Color My World . . . or Not

Effective online instruction must be understandable and engaging. In the announcements portion of my online courses, I employ brevity and succinctness, primarily stating facts, avoiding obscure lingo and innuendo to ensure that students comprehend my intended meaning. To catch their attention so that they are enticed to read the announcement, I use a variety of vivid color  combinations. For example, royal blue text stands out well on both electric yellow and hot pink. Some combinations actually produce a 3D appearance. Who could miss that? I never gave this practice a second thought until I recently heard a couple of colleagues discussing compliance with the American Disabilities Act in online education with regard to color-blindness. While I like looking at my color schemes, my priority is meeting the needs of my students. Thus the next logical step was to gather information regarding strategies for not putting color-blind individuals at a disadvantage in an online learning environment.

I discovered that there are commercially available software applications that can assist in this regard, examining developed content and providing for correction of material that would compromise the instructional effectiveness for students who are colorblind or have other visual limitations. Fortunately, there are some simple guidelines that anyone can use to prevent placing any students at a disadvantages when view digital content. First, don't rely on color alone to convey meaning. For instance, the following could be totally useless to an individual with colorblindness: "For each module, reading assignments are located in the blue folder, quizzes in the red folder, and lab assignments in the green folder." To ensure that all students will be able to find the appropriate information, each folder should have a written label that clearly identifies the content. A second strategy is to use high contrast. Simply put, use either a very dark background with white or very light letters or vice versa.

Care must also be taken in the use of graphics that contains text. So long as the contrast rule is followed, real text is not a problem. However, text that is part of a graphic image has become pixelated. If that graphic is then enlarged significantly, its visual clarity is diminished and, for those with visual difficulties, it may likely become meaningless.

This is a new topic to me and I "see" that I have much to learn. Nonetheless, it is imperative that make every effort to improve the effectiveness of my online instruction for all of my students.

Rita Waller

About Rita Waller

I am a respiratory care educator in a two-year associate degree program. I have over 30 years experience as a respiratory therapist and 17 years as an educator. I love both professions, but my passion is education. I do some on-line teaching, and I enjoy developing interactive tutorials.

Top Posts | E-Learning/Distance Education

MOOCs for Educators

A MOOC is a Massive Online Open Course.  This type of program means that anyone with an internet connection can enroll in college courses designed and facilitated by passionate instructors. MIT and other prominent colleges and university are forming MOOCs.  Their collection ... ...

What are M-O-O-Cs?

MOOC stands for Massive Online Open Course. Institutions offering these types of courses make the course materials available for open access on the Internet. The course materials include audio podcasts, video lectures, and lecture notes.These courses were initially started to give a fair chance to ...

Online Education Can Open Doors for You

Higher education has always been a necessary requirement for opening the doors for that dream job, but time and technology have changed the qualifications in recent years. In today’s workforce, a four-year degree is losing its value; a college degree is becoming the new high school diploma. T ... ...

The Evolution of Distance Education

Since the development, and wide-spread adoption of the internet, distance learning has taken a tremendous step forward. This technological advance has led to a fast-paced evolution in online learning. Along with the adoption of technology has come the increased popularity of this learning medium. T ...

Frog Talks About Educational Technology

The Facilitating Rapid Online Global Trade, also known as Frogtrade, is a supplier of an e-learning platform or virtual learning environment (VLE) simply known as Frog. This company is known to be the biggest distributor of learning software in the United Kingdom. They have also started expanding w ...