Accessibility and Remote Teaching
by CFT assistant director, Stacey M. Johnson
Accessibility in an online environment is essential. All students should be included and valued as our campus transitions to remote teaching through the end of the semester. Some Brightspace tools that will help are:
- If you will be creating recorded lectures or other video with Kaltura Capture this semester, consider adding captions using the built-in tool. The captions are machine generated and about 80% accurate, but are also editable!
- Zoom can also produce editable machine transcripts for all cloud recordings of Zoom meetings. Check out their help site for more information.
Our partners across campus have also shared resources with us.
Check out this wonderful blog post by Vanderbilt faculty member Aimi Hamraie called Accessibility in the Time of Covid-19. This blog post has immediately actionable information for a range of different kinds of courses.
Bill Burgess, from Vanderbilt’s Student Access Services office has useful advice for faculty on how to navigate remote teaching with accessibility in mind.
Some likely scenarios are:
- Students with reduced vision may miss out on unspoken (un-narrated) visual elements in videos of professors teaching either through screencasts or videos of them presenting at a white board
- Students with reduced hearing will not be able to use videos that are not captioned
- Students with print disabilities (dyslexia, blindness, etc.) will not be able to use low-quality scans of pages in books that are hastily made and uploaded to Brightspace (Even if these are OCR’d, they are likely to not read correctly if they are not straightened, high-quality scans of the pages pressed down on the scan bed.)
- Students using assistive tech to interact with testing materials may encounter many problems from the above issues, along with the tests themselves not working well with assistive tech
Learn more about barriers students might face and ways to reduce those barriers on the Student Access Services website.
Here are some resources that faculty might find useful to understand access issues in online courses:
- 20 Tips for Instructors about Making Online Learning Courses Accessible – video
- 20 Tips for Instructors about Making Online Learning Courses Accessible – webpage summary
- Ryerson Univ. manual for creating accessible documents
If you have resources that would be helpful for Vanderbilt faculty moving online, please add them in the comments section of this blog post. We’d love to learn about more ways to support our learners in the coming months.