Notes from Accessibility and Accommodations Workshop


The details

  • Date: 21 January 2021
  • Speaker: Laura Hamrick and Ellie Brigger
  • Title: Disability Access: What You Need to Know as an Instructor
  • Host: CU Boulder Center for Teaching and Learning

The notes

  • link to the slides here
  • Who’s who in accessibility at CU Boulder
    • Disability services: accommodations for students
    • ADA office: accommodations for employees
    • Digital Accessibility Office, Universal Design for Learning Service: proactive accessibility
    • OIT and CTL: additional support and resources
  • Student Accommodations through Disability Services
    • Disabilities that are not visible are much more common than visible disabilities
    • Biggest categories are psychological, learning disabilities, and ADHD
    • About 1/10 students at CU use the office for accommodations
    • Office manages accommodation letters between students and faculty online
    • Extended time on assignments and quizzes on canvas link
    • Flexibility with attendance and assignment deadlines link
  • Proactive Accessibility
    • Public facing videos (not on Canvas) should be proactively captioned
    • Accommodation is reactive (response to a request), while Accessibility is proactive (removing barriers)
    • Accessibility is important because people should be able to access your content immediately. It is stressful and draining to continually ask for accommodations
    • Top tips
      • use files with real text, not images of text. Don’t use scans of paper documents. Use HTML and Word docs. PDFs should be OCR’d for screen readers (see SensusAccess). for more complex images like maps, provide general alt-text with general trends and take-aways
      • caption videos. Helps for students that are hard of hearing, English is not first language, attention disabilities, and when you use a lot of technical language
      • share your slides, outlines, and recordings. make a note of this so students don’t need to stress about taking notes during the class and can look back on the material later. Students might miss part of your lecture due to internet or other issues.
      • Allow time for accessibility conversations. This means listing textbooks in the bookstore, giving early access to Canvas, and sharing materials with Disability services
      • check in with your students
  • Main takeaway: providing accessible resources helps more than just students with disabilities. I will try to make course content available in as many ways as possible so it is easy to access.