The Student Disability Center and the Assistive Technology Resource Center offer the following recommendations to faculty as you redesign your face-to-face courses for online delivery. The focus is on accessibility, as well as accommodation for individual needs.  Building in accessibility at the start will enable all students to participate in your course on an equitable level (inclusive pedagogy), while certain accommodations will mitigate the effects of a student’s particular disability.

Design for asynchronous delivery

Students may be accessing your course from different time zones, while students with disabilities may need to work around the effects of their disability.

Record your lectures and have them available for a longer period of time (more than two weeks)

Increased access to lectures for all students gives them the opportunity to review points they may have missed when first presented. It also allows students to use other accommodations, such as sign language interpreters, more effectively.

  • Deliver Lectures
    • If using PowerPoint, use Slide Layouts for screenreader-friendly slides.
    • Don’t use gold as a text color or text background.
    • Post your slides in addition to your video. Use the Microsoft Converter to save as a PDF.
    • When speaking, describe what’s on the screen rather than general statements such as “see this.”

Caption and transcribe recorded lectures

Students have different strengths in how they learn. Captions and transcripts help those who have stronger visual modes of learning.

Be sure that all content is accessible

Not all PDF, power points, videos, etc. will be accessible, due either to format or to the limits of specific technologies.  Students may have different types of technology, some of which will make some content difficult to access. Some content (e.g., PDFs) may not be compatible with assistive technology, such as screen readers, unless the content has been reformatted. A helpful guide: https://accessibility.colostate.edu/

Provide access and accommodation for exams

Many of the students with disabilities simply need extra time for exams due to the effects of their disability. It’s easy to provide extra time for exams in Canvas.

Be flexible with proctoring platforms

Proctoring solutions create potential access barriers for students with disabilities who use assistive technology. Students who have testing accommodations may need to use a different proctoring solution if their accommodation is not compatible. Be flexible with your testing requirements, and provide students with the ability to communicate any barriers they experience with assistive technology.

ProctorU Live+ allows for assistive technology accommodations. The accommodations must be stated in advance. The Live+ option should only be used if necessary for accommodations due to cost.

Substitute the Honor Pledge for proctoring software if accommodations cannot be made with the software.

For questions about testing accommodations with proctoring software, contact Alisha Zmuda

If using ProctorU, faculty will need to request the accommodation for any student, such as extra time, word banks, page of notes, etc. Please be sure that you are aware of the needs of your students with disabilities using the information provided to you through Accommodation Letters from SDC.

The SDC and the ARTC recognize that these recommendations may require a bit more thought and work as you move your face-to-face courses online.  TILT, ACNS and CSU Online are working hard to assist faculty with these processes.  The steps for building accessibility will be made explicit on the “Keep Teaching” site. Links to more thorough and robust tutorials are available at https://accessibility.colostate.edu/.

Faculty can submit a ticket for assistance with these aspects through the “Keep Teaching” site.

Following these recommendations will enable all students, and especially those with disabilities, to have the opportunity to be as successful as possible in your courses.  Both the SDC and the ATRC are here to help you, and we encourage you to reach out if you have any concerns or questions as to how to provide access and accommodation for your courses.

Students will also be encouraged to let us know if they encounter any unanticipated barriers to their participation in your courses.  If they do, you will be contacted by us to help find a way to resolve the barrier.   These are challenging times for all of us, but together we can enable successful learning for all students.

More Information

Please feel free visit our websites:

Student Disability Center
Assistive Technology Resource Center