The Center for Accessibility Resources (CFAR) is in alignment with the College's response to the global Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak. As we move to alternate forms of course delivery, we ask that instructors incorporate certain accessibility tools into their instruction to ensure student access to their academic accommodations. CFAR will reach out to and work with individual faculty to address more than basic accessibility requirements.
Please contact CFAR with any questions or concerns you have about accessible course delivery or student accommodations. CFAR Office Hours and Staff Contact Information
General Remote Course Delivery Information
When in-person courses are moved to remote delivery, be aware that some students may need time to work with CFAR to make adjustments to their accommodations. Student accommodation needs may change with different modalities of instruction and that we must be responsive to the needs of students with disabilities. Work with CFAR if you have questions about student accommodations.
One important difference, when teaching remote/online instead of face-to-face, is that you can no longer rely on being in the same place at the same time to convey important information. It is essential that you stay in close communication with your students about changes to the course, and it is recommended that you use multiple modes of communication to ensure that all students are receiving all pieces of information. Use a combination of email and Moodle announcements will allow you to create a sense of continuity from the classroom to the virtual world.
Consider reaching out to individual students who are missing remote classes. This may be a sign they are experiencing access barriers or other challenges.
Be flexible and adjust deadlines and strategies to create an inclusive learning environment.
Keep things accessible & mobile friendly. Many students may only have a mobile device available to access remote delivery classes, so make sure you are using mobile-friendly formats.
Consider saving other files in two formats - the original application format and a PDF. PDFs are easier to read on phones and tablets and keep the file size small. Original file formats often have application features that are helpful to students who use accessibility software for accommodation reasons.
Please note that not all Video Conferencing or Learning Management Systems (LMS) are accessible. Please refer to the Teaching Continuity Planning page for information about college supported systems.
Synchronous Classes (Real Time)
For many reasons, fast-paced online learning environments may be difficult for some learners. Consideration of accommodations such as audio recording, note taking, and assistive technology may play a role in a learner’s ability to keep pace with, understand, and respond to instruction. Synchronous classes may also present barriers to students for whom English is a second language, students in areas with slow internet connections, those who are learning technology and may be new to online classes.
Consider pacing your instruction accordingly. Be sure to check in with students about how your pace is working.
Provide student “tips” for online/synchronous course etiquette including encouraging all students to self-identify (“Hi, this is __ speaking”) as they begin comments to make clear who has the floor.” This is particularly helpful to students who are blind and to captioning efforts.
Record the synchronous session for students to reference more than once.
If you have presentation slides or instructor notes - please make them available prior to each class session for students to access.
You may consider designating a student to take notes for the class (an accessibility best practice) in Google docs. Have the notetaker share notes with the instructor who can then distribute to the entire class. This will help students focus while one person documents what was said.
Don’t assume that all students can see, or make the same sense of, your visual display as you intend.
For accessibility, get in the habit of describing whatever is happening visually on the screen. If you are showing a picture of bunnies while talking about animal testing, say, ‘Here is a picture of bunnies, which are often used as the subject of animal testing particularly in the cosmetics industry.’ By the same token, get in the habit of being verbally explicit, especially while walking students through a screen demonstration. Because students use different devices, we recommend against using directional language in this context. It's better to say "the arrow-shaped icon that says Share; it's between Polling and Chat". And remember that students will access the Zoom interface from different kinds of devices, including mobile phones, tablets and laptops, so your verbal descriptions should account for those differences.
When looking for and selecting multimedia for a course, choose videos that are already accurately captioned whenever possible.
Do not penalize students for spelling or grammatical mistakes. The extra cognitive load of so much typing (or text production via voice transcription technology) may add additional barriers and stress.
Note that synchronous lectures may require different support services than asynchronous lectures.
Asynchronous Classes (no scheduled Live Time)
Asynchronous teaching, by nature, is likely to be accessible to more individuals. Assistive technology users don’t have to worry about keeping up with the pace of the rest of the class, users who benefit from reviewing information multiple times will be able to easily do so, and users who have access to slower WiFi won’t be left out. However, it will still have the same requirements for accessible accompanying materials, captioning, etc. as synchronous classes.
Testing/Assessment During Remote Learning
Instruction during the Covid-19 remote delivery period is a time to return to the basics. Instructors are not expected to design an online course if your class was not meant to be delivered in a remote way. Your course outcomes and learning objectives can be used to create effective and meaningful assignments and assessments. Consider what you hope students will be able to understand and demonstrate with each assignment, quiz, exam or by the end of the course. Think openly and creatively about how students can demonstrate their knowledge during this abrupt shift to an online learning environment.
Keep in mind the needs of diverse learners - not everyone excels at writing a paper, taking a proctored exam, or giving a live presentation. Consider offering various options for students to choose from - such as an art project, a Powtoon video, a Poster Session, or a slide presentation that is delivered with recorded audio. These options can be applied to chapter assignments or exams and may be a more accurate way to assess a student’s knowledge.
Bloom’s Taxonomy is a foundational tool that gives the instructor a formula to assess, and students the opportunity to use, synthesis, analysis and evaluation to demonstrate their understanding of a topic or issue. Instructors may use this method to develop quiz and exam questions. It is also important to be clear and concise with questions and prompts since students will not have instructors present to ask clarifying questions.
Because many courses are being delivered remotely with little time to implement online instructional design, it is important to set realistic expectations for yourself and your students. Remember that students may be uncomfortable or uncertain with the online experience and expectations. They may have access or accessibility needs. Communicate regularly with students. You might use a ‘muddiest point’ or ‘one minute paper’ each week to get a better understanding of where your students are in their understanding of class content. Also, respect your time and choose assignments and assessment tools that work for you.
For examples of assessment options - listed below are suggestions being implemented in colleges across the country:
Give a series of low-stake quizzes to reinforce student learning.
A series of quizzes can be given at the end of each chapter instead of a larger, high-stake exam at mid-term or as a comprehensive, final exam.
Consider open book/open source tests. Answers to quiz and exam questions require thoughtful responses. Encourage students to cite sources of information used to answer questions.
Ask students to develop test questions - this builds and demonstrates understanding of the material.
Use fact sheets created by students. This requires clear, concise answers.
Use peer and self-review assignments.
Using a LMS (Moodle is college supported), the instructor can create question pools in order to scramble quiz and exam questions so that students do not have the same information at the same time.
Consider changing parts of an existing quiz or exam from multiple choice (for example) to short answer or essay response.
Create questions that Google cannot answer such as how a topic might be relevant to a student’s life. Ask for real life examples of issues or problems they have seen or experienced.
Use “honesty or academic integrity” contracts.
Offer paper tests that students print out, complete, scan and email to their instructor.
Examples of assessment tools other than quizzes or exams:
Assign a paper or project that asks for portions turned in during the term. One key factor will be quick feedback from the instructor.
Break down the paper/project into small chunks. For example: a preliminary topic, an outline, a bibliography, a draft and so on. Ask students to include their drafts and notes with the final paper.
A Memorandum or Briefing - a one or two paged paper with headlines, background information, a identified problem or issue, possible solutions with pros and cons and then a final recommendation. Again, each step requires quick feedback from the instructor.
Poster Sessions: this is often used in science classes. Students choose a topic from an instructor created list, they develop a hypothesis and perform library research to support or refute the hypothesis. There are many good examples for instructors and students to look at online.
Annotated Portfolio: Students compile their best work throughout the term, write a critical introduction and a brief summary about each item in the portfolio.
CAST Remote learning resources.
University of Washington - Remote learning.
Inside Higher Ed - During the Pandemic, Everyone Gets an Asterisk
NYU - Remote Assessment Practices and Methods
Additional Sources Referenced
Johns Hopkins University
University of Rochester
University of NorthTexas
Accommodation Specifics for Remote Course Delivery
For general information about providing accommodations to students (accessible syllabus template, CFAR syllabus statement, etc.) please visit the CFAR Faculty Resources web page.
For past presentations sponsored by CFAR, visit the CFAR Training Repository
CFAR Accommodation Notifications
CFAR uses a database specific to disability accommodations and we are unable to sort out accommodations for remote/online instruction only therefore, you may see accommodations on the notification email you receive that may not apply to online/remote learning.
At this time, there are no onsite test proctoring options at any of our LBCC campus testing sites. All testing centers are closed. Instructors are encouraged to work with students to provide testing accommodations that apply in the online/remote environment. Feel free to reach out to CFAR if you have any questions about testing accommodations. For information on how to address online testing in Moodle - please refer to the Teaching Continuity Planning page for adjusting testing times in Moodle.
If you are providing your instruction in a synchronous way, please be sure to post any PowerPoint or Google Slides and relevant spoken information so students have written access to course instruction.
Flexibility for Attendance
Students who are approved for this accommodation may still require occasional, flexible deadlines for quizzes, homework and exams due to flare-up of an episodic condition. A communication plan should be established early in the term to work out an agreement between the instructor and student about expectations regarding deadline extensions when/if needed. CFAR recommends a 24-48 hour extension. Please see the faculty guide for flexibility for attendance for further information. See CFAR's Flexibility in Attendance Guide for Faculty for additional information.