Accessible Web Media

Are you interested in social media outreach? Then you might want to make sure your content is accessible to as many people as possible. We’re going to discuss a few ways you can do this.

WCAG: The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines can be found here, WCAG 2 Overview. This is the current standard we at the Help Desk use when writing up our own social media content and it’s one we recommend.

Social Media Accessibility: How do I make my social media content more accessible


If you want to link to something on Facebook, you have to past the full link, at which point a clickable image link will appear. Make sure there are no other forms of media on the post (i.e., graphics, polls, etc.), delete the actual link you pasted in, and make sure that the clickable image link at the bottom is still there (it should be). Now you’re ready to post. Unfortunately, Facebook does not support simplified hyperlinks (trust us, we’ve tried).

Twitter behaves similarly, but instead of deleting the initial link, you just leave the link there in its entirety and Twitter will automatically remove it upon posting while maintaining the blip. And just like Facebook, be sure to clear out any other non-text media attached to the post to ensure the clickable image link remains. Also, if your link is not accessible to viewers, a clickable image link will not appear. Is this the least obvious way to do it? Yes.

Alt Text and Captions

If you can, you’ll want to add alt text or captions to graphics. This can be difficult depending on the format of your social media platform.

For example, Facebook/Meta only allows for alt text and captions when using the Meta Business Planner. Instagram only allows for alt text and captions if you own a professional account.

Twitter posts are easy enough to add alt text to to a graphic just by selecting the “edit” option on a post’s image and then selecting “alt” above said image and entering the text you think best summarizes the image.


Check out the WCAG guidelines linked above for some handy tips and tricks to making your content more accessible. It can be difficult navigating the UI of some social media accounts, so be sure to poke around and do some research.

Tech Tip: Setting Default Apps for File Types, Windows

Inspired by a real call to the Help Desk! This week’s Tech Tip will show you how to change the settings on your Windows computer to open certain file types in set apps by default. For example, if you want to open a PDF in Adobe, but your computer is set you default open PDFs in Adobe, it may instead have been defaulted to open in web browser

  1. Navigate to “Settings” which can always be found in the Windows Logo Start menu on the bottom left corner.
  2. From the list of Settings pages, select “Apps” and on the Apps settings page, select “Default apps.” From here, you can change the default of the more frequently used apps, such as email application, web browsers, and media players.
  3. On the bottom of the page, there is the “Choose default apps by file type.” On the following page, there should be a much longer version of the previous page, but organized by file type rather than web browser, email, media player, etc. Scroll to the file type you would like to open in a particular app, and change the default by selecting one of the apps on your device that appear among the options.
  4. If you do not see the app you want to use, you may need to download that app first. (I.e., if you don’t have Adobe Acrobat, you can’t select Adobe Acrobat until the app is installed.)
  5. You may also go back a page, and below “Choose default apps by file type” you can choose similar menus to sort through, such as “Set default by app”.

Tech Tip: Using Canvas Text Editor

This one’s for the professors and anyone else running a Canvas course site, especially if you’re having a hard time transferring content from one semester to the other. If you follow our guide, you’ll have one less hurdle to worry about.

Rubric of original semester to next semester, and from external link to internal/course link

Links created by copy+pasting from the address bar are external links, and usually work just fine on Canvas. However, these external links will default to the course page where they were originally taken from. i.e., the course page associated with the initial link. This can complicate updates to or transferring content from those links to new Canvas Course pages for future semesters.

Links that access your Canvas Course page, and are made using the Text Editor’s “Course Links” option are internal/Course links and work better for keeping your Canvas up to date with new semesters and any alterations you might make. These internal links will not be stumped as course pages update from semester to semester.

TL;DR It’s important to use internal/Course links using the Canvas Text Editor Tool when making your Canvas Course Site. If you don’t do this, and instead take the more familiar method of copy+pasting external links from the address bar, those links will lead back to the semester they were originally made in, leaving students scratching their heads as to why the link leads to an unpublished course site that they can’t access.

Check out the Help Desk Wiki for more information, here. See the full link at the bottom of the page.

Tech Tip: LibGuides

LibGuides is an easy-to-use Content Management System used by thousands of libraries worldwide. Librarians and instructors use it to curate knowledge and share information by creating online Guides on any topic, subject, course, on any process, on anything.

You can use LibGuides to create subject, course, or topic guides, use as your library website, store your A-Z lists for easy reuse, create internal guides documenting workflows & procedures, create and maintain staff profile pages, LibGuides is multilingual too, and mobile and tablet-friendly.

I personally like the How-To guides for library resources. If you’re library has a program or tool you’re interested in, you might search their website for a LibGuide on how to access and use said resource. You can learn more in springshare’s tutorial here.

Here’s the UIUC Library listing of Libguides:

Tech Tip of the Week: Screencast-o-matic

Making a presentation or recording some work on your desktop? Take a peak at Screencast-o-matic, a free online software you can use to record your work and audio, edit, and share with others. The free version of Screencase-o-matic gets users started with some simpler, limited tools, which would work for shorter (15 minutes) presentations. The interface is easy to use once you have made an account and completed your download.

^^^ Screen capped from using said software

Browser Security Settings

When you’re using Canvas to access Zoom meetings for online classes and other class materials, you may encounter some issues wherein pop-ups are blocked by your browser security settings. From browser to browser, there are different ways of fixing this issue so that you may access your Zoom meeting for an online class. The blocked Zoom meeting link pop-up is a common issue, especially when a browser is updated.

Firefox: There is a small shield icon on the left of the address bar. Clicking on this shield icon will open up a menu which you can then turn off/on “enhanced tracking protections” which, when turned off, will place a slash mark across the shield icon. In this state, you should be able to open up Zoom links from Canvas.

Alternatively, you may access more advanced security settings in Firefox from the “burger” icon to the far right of the address bar, which consists of three horizontal lines stacked atop each other. From this icon, select “settings” and “privacy & security” to clear cookies (which can often interfere with Canvas and Zoom). You may also change the level of security, lowering as necessary to allow for pop-ups. We recommend raising security again after allowing the pop-up to open and getting into Zoom. It’s a short process to drop and raise the settings and can be done easily with some practice

The shield icon on the left side of the address bar. The settings “burger” on the right

The shield icon on Firefox once Enhanced Tracking Protection has been turned off, allowing for Zoom meeting pop-ups from Canvas.
The drop down menu when the shield icon is clicked. Note the option to turn the Enhanced Tracking Protection on/off with the blue switch.

Chrome: While there is no shield icon to navigate to in Chrome, the “burger” to “settings” to “privacy & security” path is the same. The Chrome “burger” is three vertically placed dots rather than stacked horizontal lines, but otherwise, it’s a nearly identical process to lower and raise the security settings in order to open a pop-up link for a Zoom meeting in Canvas.

The Chrome browser does not have the shield icon, so the setting must be accessed through the dotted “burger” icon on the right side.

As always, if you have questions or concerns, please contact us at the iSchool Help Desk. You can reach us at (217) 244-4903 or (800) 377-1892,, or via chat at Our contact info is also on your course Canvas pages.

The desk is usually open 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM Monday – Friday. Hours may vary during finals, breaks, etc.

Tech Tip of the Week: Solstice

When using some of the rooms in the iSchool buildings, you may have the opportunity to use the Mersive Solstice app to wirelessly stream your laptop footage to the room displays. This is very similar to using an HDMI cord to stream from one screen to another, just without the wires! See this iSchool Wiki page below for more details.

Solstice is enabled in 501 E Daniel in rooms 46, 109, 131, and 242, and at 614 E Daniel in rooms 4018, 4035, 4043a and 4043b (aka, the Multi-Purpose Room) 4165, and 5116.

You’ll need to download and install the Mersive Solstice App, which you can do here,

The Mersive Solstice Logo

Tech Tip of the Week: iSchool Student Tools on Wiki

Students of the iSchool are privy to lots of tools. So many tools in fact, that it can be difficult to remember what’s where and what it’s good for. If your bookmarks tab is full of iSchool pages, you might condense a few of them by saving the iSchool Student Tools page on the iSchool Wiki. The linked page takes you through a lot of the basics, like Canvas, Zoom, and 2FA, as well as a few useful links you may not have looked into before. This week, we encourage you to check out this repository of student-facing resources.

As always, if you have questions, the iSchool Help Desk can be contacted by phone at (217) 244-4903 or (800) 377-1892, via email at, or chat at Our contact info is also on course Canvas pages.

The iSchool Wiki banner.

Tech Tip of the Week: Using the WebStore

There’s lots of free content for students, staff, and faculty on the UIUC WebStore, from the Microsoft Office Suite, to Adobe, to security software. Check it out the WebStore’s “Personal Purchases” page to see a break down of software categories for easy browsing.

Below is a series of screenshots of webpages you’ll likely encounter when purchasing software in the WebStore. Be sure to log in to the WebStore first. There have been some issues w/ logins to the WebStore, so if you encounter login trouble, please contact the iSchool Help Desk. You can reach us at (217) 244-4903 or (800) 377-1892,, or via chat at

The WebStore Front Page. Note the Personal Purchases and Free Software buttons.
Once you log into the WebStore, you can view Account information in the My Account tab. For this example, we’ll look at downloading from the MicroSoft Products category.
Here we can see the MicroSoft 365 (Office) Suite, specifically for people at the Urbana Campus. Much of the WebStore software will be free, but watch out for prices on right column.
Selecting the MS 365 Office Suite brings us to this product description page. It comes with links, specifications, and instructions on downloading/installing the software.

From this point, depending on which software you’re looking into, directions may vary. Likely though, you’ll download and install the software and be good to go. There may also be limits on how many devices you can install a single instance of software on, so be sure to prioritize installing software on your primary devices.

Canvas Tech Tip of the Week: Adding a Profile Picture to Canvas

You may have noticed that your profile picture on Canvas is blank, or is the same image as your iCard photo. If you would like to change your Canvas profile photo, follow along this week’s Tech Tip below.

First, have a picture you’d like to use on the device you are using, or be ready to take a picture with a camera.

Log in to your Canvas account, either on a computer, or on a smart device via the Canvas App. Select the profile icon in the left hand bar of Canvas.

It should be at the top of the pillar of icons.

Screenshot with highlights on profile icon in Canvas.
Screenshot with highlight and arrow, directing users to the Profile icon.

Select “Profile” in the menu that appears.

Screenshot with highlight and arrow, directing users to “Profile” button

You should now see a page with your name, a place for your profile picture, and places for other personal information which you may manage separately. You can edit your profile picture by clicking on it. If you have not already placed an image there, Canvas will default to your iCard portrait photo, if you took one.

Screenshot with arrows and highlights on profile picture icon and “Edit Profile” button

Once you have clicked on the circle icon to edit it, you will have the option to “Upload a Picture” from your computers files, or “Take a Picture” using any attached web camera. Select “choose a picture” at the bottom.

Note: You may use any image file type, such as .png or .jpg, or even .gif animated images (although the animation will not carry through to your icon).

Screenshot of menu upon clicking profile picture circle

Upon choosing an image to use, you may then crop the picture using the circular overlay to focus on the picture as you please. Click and drag the cropping circle to focus your profile picture to your taste.

A square image fits the cropping window better.

Hit “Save” at the bottom and you’re good to go.

Note: Immediately after saving the new image as your profile pic, the icon in the profile settings page you’ve been working from may turn white. Try refreshing the page or clicking back to it, allowing the new image to load properly. You may want to double check your new profile picture before moving on, to ensure the cropping and resolution are to your taste.

Additional Resources: For more in-depth directions, see the official Instructure Guide for changing your profile picture on Canvas. The above link from the UIUC Systems Knowledge Base in turn links to the official Canvas Instructure Guide.