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Considerations for Equitable Online Learning

These guidelines may be helpful for any disruptions such as inclement weather, natural disasters, or health concerns even if you do not have any students who need accommodations.

  1. Be flexible with deadlines—Students may not have access to the library, assistive technology, computer/tutoring labs, or the Center for Academic Success for ongoing support.
  2. Consider students with limited technology skills, older version of computers, or limited access to the Internet.
  3. Consider not penalizing for spelling or grammatical errors. Typing or test production via voice transcription technology can be cognitively tedious.
  4. Be aware that students with low vision, migraines, seizure disorders, and anxiety may not be able to spend extended time in front of a screen. Determine reasonable extended timeline for submitting assignments.
  5. Ensure that all features used for instructional delivery are accessible in all modalities
    1. Canvas in compliance with federal accessibility guidelines.
    2. Zoom recordings can be uploaded to Youtube and generate closed captions.
    3. Google Hangouts have accessibility features in Google Meet.
    4. Otter (OPTIONAL) records and livestreams lecture with auto transcripts.
  6. HTML is the most accessible format, followed by Microsoft Word. Post BOTH versions.
    1. PDFs are easier to read on phones and tablets and keep the file size small while original file format have application features for students who use accessibility software. Videos require large bandwidth so ensure students have equal access.
  7. Assign a student in each period to take notes in Google docs or similar platforms so others can focus and notes may be shared virtually.
  8. Do not assume students can make the same sense of visual display as intended. Describe explicitly what is on the screen.
    1. If you are showing a picture of individuals, say, "Here is a picture of three young females at a mall on a sunny day."
    2. Visual images that are accessed from different devices (mobile phones, tablets, or laptops) may project differently, so habitual verbal descriptions should account for those differences.
  9. Reach out to students who were attending on-campus classes but are missing virtual classes. This may be a sign they are experiencing accessibility issues or other challenges.
  10. Clearly explain how you plan to stay in close communication about changes to the course. Use a combination of email, Canvas announcements, and Canvas Inbox to enhance a sense of continuity from the classroom to the virtual world.

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