Faculty Guide to Supporting Academic Accommodations Online

This guide will assist faculty with supporting student accommodations.  OSD staff is prepared to assist you and our students with accommodation requests for classes with alternative methods of instruction. 

The following immediate steps will help you through this transition:

  1. Provide students with written copies of course content before hosting any Zoom sessions.
  2. Email clear instructions about how you will communicate through this process, and the best way for students to reach you with any questions or concerns.
  3. Ask students to contact OSD directly, [email protected],  if they indicate they are having issues with accessibility. Any available OSD staff will be able to assist via email or phone. In the event staff are teleworking, Zoom will be available as well.
  4. For additional resources visit the OSD For Faculty webpage

Alternative Testing

  • If you are giving online quizzes or exams in Canvas, and a student needs extra time, you can adjust the student’s exam time by following these directions: CANVAS webpage adjusting for extra time
  • Students will continue to schedule their exams with OSD through our online system which will be sent to you as a reminder of their accommodation need so that students will continue to be accommodated.
  • NOTE: you do not have to upload or email us the exam since you are facilitating them online.
  • Since exams are transitioning to an online format we will not be utilizing rigid exam scheduling blocks. Students requiring alternative testing should be given access to the exam at the same time as other students. Example: if an exam begins at 9:30 a.m., the student will schedule for 9:30 a.m. rather than our original 10 a.m. time block. We have informed them to schedule exams accordingly.
  • During this time, face-to-face proctoring is not feasible. If the entire class is being given an exam online (utilizing Canvas or other online platform), then the individual with the accommodation should be given the same opportunity to also participate in the online examination experience.  If the student needs additional assistance with assistive technology for the online exam, please have them contact [email protected] immediately, provided the exam is being taken during regular business hours.
  • Note: As long as you are providing the exam in an accessible format online to all students in your course during this phase, you are meeting ADAA requirements.  We strongly recommend you offer students an ungraded practice quiz beforehand so that they can test their equipment and learn how to navigate the online quiz.

Ask students to contact [email protected], if they indicate they are having any challenges or questions with alternative testing.

Alternative Media (e-text)

If you are assigning Textbooks  PDFs:

  • As you create your online instruction platform, please be cautious of inaccessible PDFs as they have become problematic for those students who use screen readers such as JAWS, Magic, Fusion or Kurzweil. (Just a reminder).
  • Faculty can learn more about creating Accessible PDFs and Accessible PPTs from CETL’s guides
  • Faculty can learn more about accessibility features in Canvas from CETL’s guide

If you assign textbooks during the remaining of the semester

  • If you recommend a new textbook that will need to be converted, students can still submit the requests to OSD, who will work with students to determine their best options.
  • However, due to the timeframe of the semester, new textbook requests may not be processed in a timely manner.

Follow-up Student Support

Ask students to contact [email protected], if they indicate they are having any challenges with assistive technology.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) Services

American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreting in Zoom:

For students who need interpreting services, the Zoom platform will be most feasible to meet accommodation needs. Please follow these steps:

  • Provide the Zoom join meeting link to [email protected] along with the class subject, number and section number (i.e. COUN 1200.001).
  • NOTE: If you set your class meeting to “reoccurring” in the settings, it will allow us to use the initial link (join URL) for all assigned interpreters for the remainder of the semester. By doing this, it will eliminate repetition of this step for you.—This is preferred.
  • You should set a reoccurring meeting so that there is one URL link for the class. This will only work if you choose the no fixed time option i.e. no days/times.
  • If you prefer or if reoccurring is not feasible, you can still initiate a new meeting link each time, please remember to send the new link to our DHH Services prior to the class meeting.
    • The DHH Administrative Support staff will share the link with the interpreter assigned to your class, allowing the interpreter to join the meeting.
  • Once in the meeting, the interpreter can identify themselves to the student by sending them a direct message in the chat feature, which is marked ‘private’ in Zoom. The students have received instruction on how to view and communicate with their interpreter via the chat feature.

Real-time Captioning in Zoom:

For students who need captioning services, the Zoom platform will be most feasible to meet accommodation needs. Please follow these steps:

  • Provide the Zoom join meeting link to [email protected] along with the class subject, number and section number (i.e. COUN 1200.001).
  • You should set a reoccurring meeting so that there is one URL link for the class. This will only work if you choose the no fixed time option i.e. no days/times.
  • If you prefer or if reoccurring is not feasible, you can still initiate a new meeting link each time, please remember to send the new link to our DHH Services prior to the class meeting.
    • The DHH Administrative Support staff will share the link with the captionist assigned to your class, allowing the captionist to join the meeting. The captionist can identify themselves to you by writing CART next to their name.

Before the meeting

When you create your Zoom meeting, you should designate an attendee to type real-time captions. In this case, it will be the professional transcriber/captioner assigned through our office.

In settings:

  1. Turn the “Closed captioning” and “Save Captions” toggle on.
  2. This option allows you to give captioning access to them

At meeting time

Once the transcriptionist has joined your meeting, assign them to provide captions by:

  1. Clicking the Manage Participants icon at the bottom of the zoom meeting windows to display the participants’ list
  2. In the participants' list window click the CART captionist’s name (who will identify themselves as such)
  • Click the more button, and then choose the option on the menu to “Assign to type Closed Captions.”Consider changing the caption size to large in the Zoom settings
    • The student can then click the closed caption option at the bottom of the main meeting window to view closed caption.
    • From a laptop or iPad the closed caption option may be at the top or side bar​
  • There is no breach of confidentiality if the other students are able to see the captionist or interpreter as this would be the same experience for them if they were in the class. The student can communicate with the interpreter privately via chat if and when necessary.

OSD does not provide video captioning. For more information on video or live screen captioning of the lecture, please visit: http://www.calstatela.edu/cetl/edtech/adding-video-canvas

NOTE: Even if you have a real-time CART captionist assigned to your zoom session, they will not provide captions for pre-recorded media, they only caption the audio of presenters and participants.

 

NOTE: The Zoom audio transcription feature may benefit everyone; however, this post-processing transcript does not substitute the need for real-time captions in a meeting for someone who is Deaf or Hard-of-hearing.

Note-taking

Note-taking services will continue to be provided with online instruction.

Note-taking in Zoom

  • Notetakers will still be able to take notes for classes where Instructors are using Zoom through CANVAS (or another video platform) for their actual lecture. They will continue to upload those notes into the OSD database so that students can retrieve them.

Note-taking on Canvas

  • If you are not using Zoom through CANVAS (or another video platform) and simply posting lecture content and notes online, both the OSD student and the notetaker should already have access to these materiasls. All students can review the material as notetakers are not required to copy content provided by the instructor.
  • Some notetakers are not officially enrolled in the lecture course for which they are taking notes. We call them “open assignment” notetakers. Those notetakers have been informed to work with our office to coordinate with those specific instructors. If you have one of these notetakers in your class, please allow them access to your course CANVAS page so that they can fulfill the students’ accommodation needs. You will receive a follow-up email with a list of open-assignment classes for your reference.
  • Enrolling “Open Assignment” Notetakers on Canvas

OSD will continue to work with faculty and the University to ensure that student accommodation needs are met for courses that transition to alternative methods of delivery.

To Assist Blind or Visually Impaired Participants:

If you are sharing materials in a meeting, fully describe out loud the content while sharing your screen.

Provide access to shared resources outside of Zoom, and in advance of the meeting.

Consider the accessibility of documents/files:

  • favor Word over PDF
  • use the outline view for PowerPoint presentations
  • caption videos 
  • provide transcripts for audio-only recordings

Allow participants to respond to polls or questions via multiple methods:

  • Chat
  • Audio
  • Email
  • If addressing questions from the chat window, speak aloud the initial question before answering to ensure everyone can participate, including those individuals who are attending your meeting via the audio-only call-in option.
  • Place URLs referenced in the meeting within the chat window. Be prepared to share URLs outside of the zoom session while the meeting is in session.

Faculty Tips

Make Materials Available in Advance of a Zoom Meeting

Some of your meeting participants may join your meeting via the audio-only (call-in) option. There are several reasons why a participant would choose to join the meeting via audio call:

  • Limited or no access to a computer or device
  • Limited or no internet access
  • A screen reader user who prefers to separate Zoom meeting audio from their screen reader audio to make it easier to follow along

To ensure that those participants who are joining your meeting via audio-only are still able to follow your Zoom meeting, you must make any materials or resources available online before the meeting. There are several ways that you can facilitate this access:

  • In the Canvas LMS
  • Cloud storage such as OneDrive, DropBox, Google Drive
  • As an email attachment

Provide a link to meeting recordings

If you choose to record a class session or meeting, share the link for the recording with all class participants. It helps to have Zoom automatically provide a searchable transcript of the meeting recording. See the section above to enable post-processing transcription. Note that there is some processing time after the meeting has commenced for the recording to become available.

Follow-up and Proactively Invite Comment

To ensure equal access for all participants, proactively invite participants to comment on any potential pain points they experienced soon after your meeting and well before the next session. A follow-up email to invite comments will give you additional time to make any required alterations to your course format.

Remain Flexible

It is unlikely that faculty will be able to plan for all eventualities in their course. After taking a proactive stance, the next best advice is to remain flexible and allow students to access your course content via the modalities that work best for them. Keep an open dialogue with your students and ensure that you are eliminating barriers wherever you can.