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The University of Bolton Student Services

Disability Services

Remote Lectures and Webinars

 

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Delivering remote lectures and webinars can feel complicated and confusing in relation to how to support your students with disabilities and medical conditions. In this section you can find some suggestions for how you might improve the inclusiveness and accessibility of your remote lectures. 

National Association of Disability Practitioners Guide on Inclusive Webinars can be found at the bottom of the page.

Key points for accessibility

  • Remember to check Disability notifications for accessibility requirements of which you need to be aware.
  • Organise access if asked for any disability support workers such as notetakers and interpreters.
  • Accessible copies of the slides should be supplied in advance to students.
  • Describe the key content of all slides.

Specific Learning Difficulties

For students with dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, ADHD, Tourettes and Autism)  there can be too many inputs with video, audio, slides, whiteboard, chat, Q&A etc. etc. 

  • Leave the main screen set to the slides for the majority of the time.
  • Give clear warning of changes to polls etc. 
  • Advise people to keep to either the chat pane or Q&A - not both
  • Advise that the presenter will read out any questions added to the chat pane so students do not have to keep the constantly changing feed on their screen. This will also help those with slow reading speeds.
  • Send out the list of questions from the chat pane and the answers after the session. 

 

Deaf/Hearing Impaired users.

Many of the platforms used for webinars have some form of automatic captioning available and these can be used with care.

Zoom has recently partnered with Otter.ai for automatic captions in their Pro version but, varied experiences are being reported. The accuracy of the captions can depend on available bandwidth and user-accents, but the main problems appear to be connected with the user’s surroundings. Some people are using small rooms with good acoustics whilst others are using large rooms with external noise and echoes.

Recommendations:

  • Presenters and all users wear a headset with a microphone, if available.
  • Ensure all microphones are switched off when the person is not speaking to reduce background noise.
  • Organise your WebCam to ensure the light is falling on your face to allow lipreading, if appropriate.
  • Use of the automatic captions on Microsoft Powerpoint are proving very useful for direct lectures but still have the problem that the captions stop, if you take the slides off the webinar screen to use a poll or show a webpage.
  • When BSL is the student’s first language, it can be hard to keep up with multiple threads in the chat pane. Good practice is to read out the questions and comments so that the notetaker or interpreter can convey the information.
  • Access for notetakers / BSL interpreters may be required.

 

Blind/Visually Impaired users

  • An accessible version of the slides should be available in advance for everyone, but this is especially important for people who have to decide whether to listen to the presenter or the screen reader.
  • The presenter should read out what is being shown on the screen. This may be content on the slide that they are talking about or equations on a virtual whiteboard.
  • The ‘chat’ pane can be very difficult to access with a screen reader and may also contain text too small for a visually impaired person to read. It is good practice to read out comments from the chat pane.

 

Zoom Accessibility Guides

 

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Zoom Accessibility features:  

Closed Captioning: Capture what has been said with closed captioning.

Automatic Transcripts: Transcripts are automatically generated and synchronized to make it easy to search and review meetings recordings.

Screen Reader Support  : Use Zoom without a screen. Zoom is fully accessible to most screen readers.

Keyboard Accessibility: Use keyboard short cuts to navigate key Zoom features

Zoom Accessibility Guide can be found here: https://zoom.us/accessibility

 

General Zoom Presentation Etiquette

  • Prepare in advance for an accessible session. Find a quiet site so there's no background noise. Have presenters look at the camera so people can see facial expressions and/or read lips.
  • Provide accessible materials. Slides presented in Zoom are not accessible to screen readers, so try to send materials in advance or post them somewhere to make them available. Make sure those materials themselves are accessible. 
  • Be accommodating. Let participants know they can request accommodations if necessary. If you're using features that may not be accessible, like whiteboarding, plan how you'll describe/provide the information to participants who need it. Maybe you'll find an additional accessible tool to provide that feature.
  • Describe what's going on in the meeting. Describe charts and graphics, announce who's speaking. Remember, not everyone may be able to see what's going on.