Creating Accessible Courses at UC Davis

  • Faculty responsibility: Plan for and create basically accessible content (including revising if necessary) and communicate with students and SDC and ATS. Incorporate principles of universal design for learning to serve a wide range of students.
  • Institutional/ATS responsibility: Provide an accessible LMS (Smartsite), provide consulting for faculty making their course content accessible, and communicate with SDC and faculty.
  • Student Disability Center responsibility: Tailor accommodations to specific student needs as they arise, and communicate with students, faculty, and ATS.
  • Student responsibility: Have up-to-date technology, know how to use it, communicate with faculty and SDC, and do good work.

Lecture effectively

  Make sure all students can hear the instructor.

  • Use a microphone and the built in sound system in the room to allow students to use an Assistive Listening Device.
  • Repeat student questions and comments before you answer to make sure all students can hear the question and answer, and to make sure that it is picked up on the recording.
  • In classrooms with Infrared Transmitters (IR), the student uses an SDC-provided receiver while the instructor uses regular PA system. If the room has no IR, the student uses a transmitter and the instructor uses a lapel microphone, both loaned by the SDC.
  • Using the microphone and built-in sound system also allows podcasting.
  • Also see “Use podcasts effectively.”

    Resources: 

  • Microphone systems are in the majority of general assignment classrooms and assistive devices are in many classrooms. Contact ATS classroom services for more information (phone, email).
  • Faculty can check out loaner microphones from IET. The microphones connect to the AV counters in classrooms and can record podcasts. The user needs to provide an SD card to save the podcast.
  • Watching a videotape of yourself teaching allows you to see your class from a student’s perspective.
  • Contact the CETL to request a consultation
  • The SDC provides loaner equipment to students who are being accommodated by the SDC. All other NON-disability IR requests must go through ATS.

  Present information clearly and at a reasonable pace.

  • Be aware of your speaking pace, how clearly you are speaking, the size and clarity of your writing, and adjust if necessary (merge speaking with #7; clarity of writing may be a separate issue). 
  • In general, slowing down and speaking louder will help students.

    Resources:

  • Also see “Make sure all students can hear the instructor.”
  • Also see “Use podcasts effectively.”
  • Also see “Use a document camera.”

  Use a document camera (instead of writing on the board).

  • By using a document camera, students who read lips are able to see the instructors face and follow along.
  • Using a document camera also provides a complete written record on paper that can be made into a pdf and given to students who benefit from having a copy of notes.
  • The document camera can be projected in a larger format than the board, which makes it easier for all students to see.
  • If the classroom is equipped with lecture capture, students can replay the recording from the document camera.
  • Keep in mind that a document camera may block the professor’s face from the class.

    Resources: 

  • Document cameras are in all general assignment classrooms.
  • For departmentally controlled classrooms, contact your department equipment coordinator.
  • Contact ATS classroom services (phone, email) to learn about how to use a document camera. For info on using a document camera visit http://iet.ucdavis.edu/rooms/media_cabinet.cfm and http://www.wolfvision.com/wolf/ma_9_ed.pdf
  • IET has ScanSnap document scanners (can scan 50 double-sided loose leaf sheets at a time) located in most campus computer labs (2101 SCC, 102 Wellman, 182 Shields, and 75 Hutchison). Document scanners can be used to scan pages from a document camera to convert them to a pdf. To learn how to use one, ask the Computer Room Consultant for assistance in any of the listed campus computer labs.

  Use podcasts effectively.

  • Podcasts provide an audio recording of the lecture. They are useful for students to listen to the lecture again.
  • Repeat student questions and comments before you answer to make sure all students can hear the question and answer, and to make sure that it is picked up on the recording.
  • Provide a written transcript for podcasts for students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
  • Faculty should use the classrooms microphone to ensure a good recording.
  • Also see “Make sure all students can hear the instructor.”

    Resources: 

  • 32 general assignment classrooms are equipped with podcasting equipment. Visit http://podcasting.ucdavis.edu/
  • There are a number of tools available for creating podcasts in non-equipped classrooms (i.e. Camtasia relay).
  • There are also tools available to help with creating transcripts. Contact the SDC for more information.

Provide materials in an accessible format

  Provide slides/notes to students prior to and/or after lecture.

  • Providing content to students in advance gives students more time to review them and helps students organize and process information.
  • Students with vision impairment can digitize materials ahead of time and can listen to them ahead of time or follow along during class.
  • Share notes/slides with students online via the LMS (Smartsite).
  • By using a document camera, you can easily scan your notes to provide them to students after class.
  • Providing templates/outlines also helps students follow along with lecture and organize their notes.

    Resources:

  • IET has ScanSnap document scanners (can scan 50 double-sided loose leaf sheets at a time) located in most campus computer labs (2101 SCC, 102 Wellman, 182 Shields, and 75 Hutchison). Document scanners can be used to scan pages from a document camera to convert them to a pdf. To learn how to use one, ask the Computer Room Consultant for assistance in any of the listed campus computer labs.

  Caption videos.

  • All videos used in or created for teaching and learning should be captioned so all students can access audio information in the videos.
  • Videos used in-class should also be captioned - an in-class interpreter does not replace captioned videos. First, if students are watching the interpreter they will miss the visual content of the video. Second, there may be students in class who rely upon lip reading to access your lecture, but need captions to access the audio for a video.
  • Captioned videos are helpful in noisy environments (such as everyone watching the same video in class at the same time, watching on the quad, etc.), but can also be used in quiet environments (such as the library) and by ESL students to enhance their understanding of how the language is used; interpreters only benefit deaf and hard of hearing students.

    Resources:

  • Upload a transcript of a video to YouTube and it will automatically sync the transcript to the audio.
  • Captioning services - <insert info about captioning services> Cielo24 and Amara. <link to Tim K's captioning presentation and resources>.

  Provide transcripts of video and audio files.

  • Also see “Caption videos.”
  • Also see “Use podcasts effectively.”

  Create and provide documents in an accessible format.

  • Instructors should provide documents (Word, PDF, etc) in formats that are accessible for students using screen readers (students with processing and vision disabilities). 

  Convert scanned documents to text-based pdf (not scanned image only).

  • Also see “Provide slides/notes to students prior to and/or after lecture”

    Resources:

  Create and use accessible websites and applications.

  • Make sure that all students can access course-related websites that you create and require them to access, including students using assistive technology.
  • Use accessible third-party tools and websites.
  • Ask third-party vendors if applications are accessible and to provide demonstrations using assistive technologies (not just say they work).

    Resources

  • Contact ATS web development for help creating an accessible website.
  • Contact SDC for information about AMP Testing to determine if websites can be accessed using assistive technologies.
  • Use campus CMS which provides accessibility templates.

  Make sure your course website/portal (Smartsite or other LMS) is accessible.

  • It is the vendor’s responsibility (LMS/Smartsite) to make the LMS accessible, and the instructor’s responsibility to make sure that the content and tools hosted within the LMS are accessible.
  • Check that all online tools you are using are accessible to all students and that all files you are sharing are in an accessible format.  Also see “Create and provide documents in an accessible format.”

    Resources

  • Contact ATS for assistance choosing and using accessible online tools  and integrating them with the LMS (ats@ucdavis.edu).
  • Also see “Create and provide documents in an accessible format.”

Use accessible assessments

  Consider alternative testing methods and ways for students to demonstrate course mastery.

  • Consider alternative testing methods and ways for students to demonstrate course mastery.
  • Many students need additional time or a low-distraction environment for exams/quizzes. In-class assessments, such as quizzes or graded clicker questions are not conducive to this.

    Resources

  Use clickers effectively

  • Consider using clickers for non-graded assessments or for participation credit only. This engages students and provides feedback about learning to students and instructors. 
  • See also “Consider assessments other than in-class timed exams for all students.”

    Resources

Provide an accessible learning environment

  Make sure your classroom includes accessible furniture

  • The faculty member is not responsible for acquiring accessible furniture, but they should make SDC and facilities aware of accessibility challenges in classrooms.

    Resources:

  • For students who have been approved for accommodations, the SDC will work with the instructor, student, and Facilities/Custodial Services to arrange accessible class seating and/or facilities (such as a special chair; seating near front of room; or a wheel-chair accessible lab table).
  • Note that SDC is not a resource for general class accessibility if there is not a specific student who needs an accommodation. Occupational Health does have these capabilities and has an ergonomic lab built at Cowell (next to the SDC)
  • Height adjustable tables are available for all computer classrooms but are not always installed. Contact computer lab management (contact info) to make sure your classroom is set up as necessary.