Kevin Corcoran, Executive of Digital Learning for CSCU, with assistance from Elisabeth Morel, Director of AccessAbility Services at WCSU, and based on a presentation developed by Fairfield University, have provided us (and given permission to post) the following information on accessibility:
Academic Continuity - Accessibility Update
All Student Accommodations Remain In Effect
- Regardless of course format or platform, under federal law, all students with disabilities must have equal access to their courses.
- If you have questions regarding how an accommodation would apply in the online setting, please contact your Accessibility/Disability Service Office and provide the best way to contact you. A staff person will then contact you to discuss.
- US Department of Education – Office of Civil Rights COVID-19 Fact Sheet
Faculty Responsibilities with Regards to ADA/504
- Under federal law, faculty are responsible for making their courses and course content accessible. Please see tips below for assistance on creating accessible content.
- Faculty should continue to regularly communicate with all students to ensure that they have access to the materials and inquire if any students have concerns regarding how material is being presented.
Accessibility Tips for Online Teaching
- Extended time for exams and assignments will need to be addressed by faculty with online platforms. To add additional time, please review: Test Availability Exceptions
- Use the Accessibility Checker within MS Word and PowerPoint to produce accessible documents. To do this, go to File – Check for Issues – Check Accessibility.
- Use text description on all images, high contrasting colors, uncluttered slides, bold font, plain backgrounds, especially within the Blackboard text editor. For additional information, visit Getting Started with Alt Text.
- Utilize the Blackboard Ally accessibility tools for checking your content and providing alternate formats for your students.
- Blackboard Ally has a “meter icon” noting the level of accessibility. The goal is to have all green icons. Documents that are not accessible will have a red meter and an “A” with a downward arrow will be at the far left.
- To remediate the document, click the downward arrow for an alternative document. Please keep in mind that it may not be possible to remediate all documents.
- Please be mindful of accessibility when selecting documents.
- Check in frequently with all students on barriers and challenges
- Guidelines and tips for making web content accessible:
Be aware of how your students have responded to technology use in the classroom so far as you plan for online strategies.
- Are all students able to engage equally in all platforms?
- Do you have a student who has been unable to perform current assignments due to limitations in ability to work with technology?
- Do you have students in your class with visual, hearing, mobility issues, public speaking anxiety, time management issues that might limit use of specific platforms that you are considering?
If and When Classes Resume (Before or After Extended Closing)
Student may require additional accommodations:
- Who are immunocompromised/medically compromised.
- Who are quarantined.
- Who have increased caretaking responsibilities.