Instructional Continuity: Considerations for Students with Disabilities
Any one of an array of events can disrupt faculty’s ability to teach courses via on-campus, in-class sessions. Cal Poly’s commitment to students includes making sure that we provide the opportunity to complete courses despite disruptions, whenever possible. We recognize that the transition to online learning will not be easy for instructors, nor students. Some instructors will have a lot of material to upload, and not a lot of time to do it. Some students may have challenges with access. As you transition to remote instruction, please understand that this is a critical time to be considerate of any students who may have disabilities in your course. Because of this, we are sharing a list of best practices for transitioning to remote instruction.
Please also see:
- Instructional Continuity: Plan for Accessibility when Teaching Remotely
- Instructional Continuity: Captioning for Live and Recorded Lectures
- Cal Poly Canvas Support: Accessibility and Universal Design for All
- CTLT Accessibility Resources
[Adapted from CSU Stanislaus]
Staff in the Cal Poly Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT) and Disability Resource Center (DRC) recognize that the transition from in-class to online learning will not be easy for instructors, nor students. Some instructors will have a lot of material to upload, and not a lot of time to do it. Some students may have challenges with access. As you transition from in-person to remote instruction, please understand that this is a critical time to be considerate of any students who may have disabilities in your course. Because of this, we are sharing a list of best practices for transitioning to remote instruction.
Learn more about how students with disabilities are experiencing the transition to remote instruction: Inside Higher Ed Roundup for April 13: Scroll down to find the author's interview with Stephanie Cawthon, of the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes and the University of Texas.
Scanning documents into your online LMS is not encouraged, but this may be unavoidable. If you must scan documents:
- Clean, straight scans without “wavy” text lines
- Erase underlining or written notes if possible.
- Do not save the scan as a “bitmap” image.
Though making documents accessible can be a tedious process, the most important step is making sure all documents have text that is “recognized”, meaning it is digital and searchable, and can be accessed by assistive technologies.
How Can I Tell if Text is Recognized?
A simple way to tell if text is recognized is to try to highlight it with your cursor. If you can’t highlight it, the text is not recognized.
How Do I Recognize Text?
There is a simple way to recognize text in your scanned images using “Adobe Acrobat Pro”. The provided link is a short video on how to accomplish this. As a faculty member, you should have access to an Enterprise Adobe Creative Cloud account, which includes Adobe Acrobat Pro.
Converting Word Documents to PDF
When converting word documents to PDF, use the Acrobat PDFMaker application in Microsoft Word. This is automatically added to Word when Adobe Acrobat is installed on your computer. The following video shows how to establish the best preferences for converting from word to PDF.
What About Lecture Slides?
If lecture slides were generated by typing directly into PowerPoint or Google Presentations, lecture slides should have recognizable text.
- WebAim: PowerPoint Accessibility
- Microsoft: Make your PowerPoint Presentations Accessible (options for both Mac and PC)
- Seven Steps to Creating an Accessible PowerPoint Slideshow (older version for PC; most information still applies)
Assistive Technology Resources
Cal Poly offers a text-to-speech program called “Read&Write” for all faculty, staff, and students on all Cal Poly library computers. Read&Write can access Microsoft documents, PDFs, and internet browsers (Chrome/Firefox/Edge/Safari) to read text out loud. Faculty (but not students) can sign up with a Gmail address to download Read&Write free at this page: Read&Write and EquatIO Free for Teachers.
SensusAccess is a self-service, alternate media solution made available by Kennedy Library to automatically convert files into a range of alternate media including audio books (MP3 and DAISY), e-books (EPUB, EPUB3 and Mobi) and digital Braille. The service can also be used to convert inaccessible files such as image-only PDF files, JPG pictures and Microsoft PowerPoint presentations into more accessible and less tricky formats. This service is available at no charge for all Cal Poly students, faculty, staff and alumni. We call that Inclusive Technology.
Captioning Live and Recorded Lectures
Please see the following resources to learn how to provide captioning for live and recorded ZOOM lectures, and recorded Screencast-O-Matic and Camtasia lectures and screencasts.
- Instructional Continuity: Captioning for Live and Recorded Lectures
- Instructional Continuity: ZOOM
- Instructional Continuity: Screencast-O-Matic
Getting Good Grades with Gadgets
Getting Good Grades with Gadgets - John Lee, Assistive Technology Specialist at the DRC, has compiled this list of free and low-cost gadgets that can assist students with note-taking, reading, writing, studying, research, time management, organization, and math. Many of these gadgets include software, apps, and built-in utilities that students may already have on their computers and mobile devices or can download for free. If you have questions, feedback, or gadget suggestions, please email John at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In particular, the follow apps can be particularly useful for students during this time:
- The free Office Lens app for Android or iOS (or similar scanning app) - useful for students who have written work (e.g., math problems, architectural/engineering drawings) that they need to do for their classes that can't otherwise be done on their computer. A student can use Office Lens to "scan" (take a photo) their written work. Office Lens will auto-crop that photo and allow the student to clean up the image, then email or upload it to their professor.
- Students who have a Livescribe smartpen loaner from the DRC can do their written work in their dot notebook, connect their pen to their laptop and transfer that drawing to the Echo Desktop software, then share the automatically-generated PDF with their professor.
- Check out some of the Gadgets for Math on the Getting Good Grades page, as they include resources in OneNote, FastFig, and Mathshare that make it easier for students to do mathematical work online. EquatIO is a tool that is free for instructors and allows them to create accessible online math content - an alternative to similar tools that are available in PolyLearn and Canvas. Faculty (but not students) can sign up with a Gmail address to download EquatIO for free at this page: Read&Write and EquatIO Free for Teachers.
- Otter update - Cal Poly in the process of acquiring Otter licenses that our students can check out to assist with notetaking, particularly students who are deaf/hard of hearing.
CTLT Accessibility Resources
CTLT Accessibility Resources - A list of resources to help guide your design of accessible instructional materials, including links to tutorials for creating accessible documents, PowerPoint, video, and more.