Planning Accessible Courses
This list provides some quick and easy ways to ensure you are providing courses and materials that are accessible to all students.
- Be aware that some students may need additional time to work with Student Disability Services (SDS) to make adjustments to their accommodations. Being flexible and willing to adjust deadlines and strategies will help to create an inclusive learning environment. Students with certain disabilities may not adjust easily to abrupt changes, making flexibility even more important.
- Strive for accessibility over accommodation. You may need to create alternatives if accessibility tools fail. Ask your students with disabilities about the best strategies to support them in your online course. If you have questions about adapting content, assignments, and activities for a student with disabilities, contact:
- Student Disability Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-702-6000
- As always, students requesting accommodations who have not been provided an accommodation letter should be referred to register with Student Disability Services.
- Students with disabilities should be able to schedule, attend, and participate in meetings and webinars. Please visit the following sites for more information:
- To avoid possible FERPA violations, do not create a Canvas “Group” of students needing accommodations. Disability information is protected by FERPA and should not be documented through commentary or labeling in Canvas where users other than the student in question and the instructor(s) are able to view. Canvas Groups should not be used to manage disability-related accommodations because:
- The names of “Groups” in Canvas are visible to all students with access to the “People” tab of the course. Students in a “Group” are able to see who else is in the “Group” with them.
- Students with disabilities taking online exams and quizzes are not required to have their exams proctored at the Student Disability Services Office or other locations on or off-campus. Faculty are responsible for administering all curriculum and exams and providing maximum flexibility to students as appropriate.
- Students with disabilities often will have extended time for exams/quizzes as an approved accommodation. Canvas allows instructors to provide extra time for individual students using the Moderate This Quiz function. For more details, review the Canvas guide Once I publish a timed quiz, how can I give my students extra time? (If a student has breaks during exams as an accommodation, add in their total break time to their exam if there is no way for the student to stop and start.)
- If you have a student with a disclosed visual impairment or print disability that requires course content to be delivered in alternative text formats, plan to provide course content in advance to allow adequate time for conversion services offered by Student Disability Services.
- If you have students with disclosed hearing impairments receiving accommodations such as sign language interpretation, CART (Computer Assisted Real-Time Translation), etc., contact Student Disability Services as soon as possible to discuss any needed accommodations. If you are providing lectures via Zoom, live captioning can be arranged in advance. You may consider recording the lecture and uploading the lecture to Panopto for captioning as an alternative.
- If you have students with disclosed disabilities who need course materials modified into an accessible format, consult the following resources:
Creating accessible course material in advance can benefit many students and in some cases even eliminate the need for accommodations.
- Whenever possible, provide lecture notes to students or encourage the class to share/post a copy of their notes into Canvas.
- For more information about Student Disability Services from a faculty perspective, please refer to Frequently Asked Questions on the SDS website.