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MQAS Green

MQAS Green was developed by Jennifer Bainbridge and Sharon Kerr based on the Six Practical Principles for Inclusive Curriculum Design (Kerr and Baker 20111), with assistance from Andrew Lovell-Simons and Michaela Baker.

This tool is to be used by Academics and Educational/Academic Developers, Instructional Designers and Support Staff (EADIDSS) responsible for checking developed online units for accessibility.

Academic staff who are developing their unit without the support of an EADIDSS group are strongly recommended to seek external support. See MQAS National Accessibility Support Services. (MQAS-NASS)

Step 1

Identify EADIDSS group

Identify in your institution who is going to participate in the auditing process of online units.

List your EADIDSS Group here:

NB It is strongly recommended that this group has at least one member who is dependant on assistive technologies to access learning materials.

Hint: You may be able to source this person from your student base.

Step 2

End-user testing

Assistive technology user to conduct end-user testing of the Learning Management System (LMS)/CD/DVD/Web site and the functions required for the unit.

NB This must be conducted by a user of assistive technologies. It is important that this testing is from Log-in and covers all components of the online unit, e.g. discussions forums, mail, drop box, messages, quizzes, linked in technologies.

Step 3

Web Accessibility

Check web accessibility of all HTML pages and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) using both of these W3C validation sites:

Where there are images ensure that they are tagged with clear and adequate descriptions.

NB Your web pages should be checked by a developer with a knowledge of web standards and accessibility for the web.

Support References

Step 4


Check reading lists against the recommendations listed in MQAS Orange and respond to the following questions.

  1. What is the total number of pages for all set readings in the unit?

  1. Of these readings how many pages are in non-accessible format? (i.e. imaged PDFs of text, photocopies of readings, pages from books that are older than twenty-four (24) months and not available in accessible electronic format)

Now put these figures in the calculator below:

List below the non-accessible pages


  1. How many books are listed for this unit?
    • How many of the books are older than twenty-four (24) months (Older books are less likely to be available in accessible electronic format from publishers.)

NB If texts are old and required for the unit and must be used then consideration needs to be made in the use of those texts for assessment purposes. In other words, don’t include these texts in the first six weeks especially if they are required for assignments.

Make the assignment for old texts later in the course, so that the conversion of the required texts can be made for the student; students will then have time to read the text prior to the assessment.


  1. Is there learning embedded in images in these readings that are not supported by text? (e.g. a labelled image of the body).

Put the total number of images into the calculator below.

Embedded images cost is approximate hours for conversion based on complex images.

NB It is important to identify images with embedded learning. Images may be included for decorative purposes, or their context contain enough information so that no further support is needed. However images containing vital information, with no supporting text should be regarded as critical to learning and will need additional text descriptions.

Depending on the complexity of the image, conversions can take anything from five minutes to a few hours for each image.

Step 5

Audio Materials

  • Are there audio materials included in this unit that are not transcribed or captioned?

Put the total number of hours and minutes for all the audio into the calculator below.

Hours and minute

Step 6


Answer the following questions:

  • Are there assessment tasks scheduled in the first 6 weeks of the unit that require students to access inaccessible reading material?
  • Does this unit require invigilated examinations?  
    • If so has an alternative assessment been prepared for use as required?
  • Are there potential accessibility issues with any of the assessment tasks?

Step 7

Inherent requirements

Answer the following questions:

  • Are the inherent requirements of the units available to students prior to enrolment?

This information may be in study guides, handbooks, course information pages. Giving students all the information allows them to make knowledgeable choices for their own learning.

Support References

Step 8

Plain English

Answer the following questions:

  • Does this unit use specialised language that is not supported by a glossary?
  • Are instructions for using the unit, communicating with staff and students, and meeting the requirements of the course clearly articulated?

Total Time Estimate

The final total below is an estimate of the time needed to complete conversions of your listed content.



  1. Kerr, S and Baker, M (2011, in press) 'Six practical principles for inclusive curriculum design'. In B. Tynan & J. Willems (Eds.), Education 2011-2021 SUMMIT. Edmonton: Athabasca University Press.