Access and accessibility considerations are key concerns for both in-person and online instruction. When moving your course online, it may be worthwhile to take considerable time to ensure all students have appropriate accommodations and equitable access to materials and tools. It may also be helpful to review messages you may have already received from students in regard to necessary accommodations. Consider using a Qualtrics survey, Microsoft Forms, or a Moodle Feedback activity to anonymously ask students about technology access challenges they may face during a period of remote learning.

When issues arise, offering flexibility or alternatives can be beneficial for students. These and other strategies, paired with increased awareness of common physical and developmental disabilities such as dyslexia, visual and other impairments, will help you create an environment that truly includes and values all students.

Considerations

When migrating instruction online, materials such as readings, textbooks and learning supports may need to be exchanged or altered in ways that maintain accessibility for students with a range of needs and in a range of settings.

  • Pedagogical approaches that meet students’ needs
    You may need to innovate in order to meet the learning needs of students with disabilities in your course. For help, explore resources from the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL), which include insights on the importance of access and accommodations for students in your course and strategies that address meeting student needs in online and remote environments.
  • Ensure access to course materials
    Moodle offers solutions for organizing your course materials, including readings, resources, syllabi and course schedules, in one location. If you have materials that are not already digital, talk to your library liaison or consult the library research guides for possible course material alternatives.
  • Communicate changes in course materials and readings
    Communicating with students about course changes, including the addition of new material or changes to course materials and readings, can help to keep students engaged and aware of expectations.
  • Keep things accessible and mobile friendly
    Your students may have cognitive or physical disabilities, be located in different time zones or have Wi-Fi or other technological challenges. Files saved in mobile friendly formats like PDFs or Microsoft Word documents and with a small file size can help to make course materials more accessible. Note that videos take lots of bandwidth, so you may only want to require them if you are confident students will have the network and computing resources to access them. If you are using video, it is advisable to make captions available and accurate.
  • Point students to resources for writing and learning support
    Many students utilize the Writing Center and Learning Assistance located in Belk Library. Even in times of disruption, these offices will continue to offer writing and learning assistance consultations.

Resources