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Principle Four: Effective online PowerPoint will provide multiple ways of accessing the material.

Practical Application: Close-caption your presentation, and make your narration available as an HTML page and/or an MP3 file.

Online courses are required by law to meet Federal accessibility requirements. That is, individuals with limiting conditions such as hearing impairment or loss of vision must be able to access course content. A typical PowerPoint presentation does not meet these accessibility requirements. If you have prepared a well-written script for the audio portion of your presentation, there are at least three ways to make your presentation accessible:

First, place your script into the notes section of the slides. When the PowerPoint is converted to Flash using Camtasia (discussed below), the notes can automatically be converted to closed caption text that can be displayed when the student plays back the presentation. This will ensure that your presentation is accessible to the hearing impaired.

Second, convert your script to an HTML page. You can also place any graphics on this page. This will make it possible for visually impaired students to access the content of your presentation using a screen reader. In addition, it gives other students the chance to decide if PowerPoint with narrative or simple text works best for them. It may also be the case that students will want to refer to the script for review rather than launch the PowerPoint presentation again.

Third, consider making a separate audio file of your presentation available to your students. When a PowerPoint is converted to Flash using Camtasia, you can easily produce an MP3 audio file that the student can play or download to an iPod or MP3 player.

It should be obvious, that providing multiple means of accessing the PowerPoint content is helpful to all students. Adult learners typically want and need some control over their learning experience. Therefore, it is good practice to provide the student a choice of the way media he/she wants to use in accessing some of the content in your course.