Remote Learning Accessibility Toolkit

Accommodations and accessibility are essential to ensuring equal access and inclusion of students with disabilities in remote learning. Student Disability Services (SDS) and the AccessMU Center are committed to partnering with students, faculty and staff to provide resources that foster an inclusive remote Miami experience. We encourage you to review the contents in this toolkit for more information. 

Student Information

Accommodations

You can start or continue using accommodations for remote classes. Examples of accommodations include:

  • Extended Testing Time (e.g. 150%, 200% extra testing time)
  • Accessible Text to have books read aloud
  • Deaf & Hard of Hearing Captioning Services
To receive accommodations, you must be registered with SDS and request accommodations in the SAM: Students Accessing Miami Portal. Upon requesting accommodations, your instructors will be notified of the request via email and you should also contact them to discuss how accommodations will be carried out. 

Communicating with Faculty

Communicating directly with faculty about your accommodations is critical. It is your responsibility to self-advocate and engage in discussions about how accommodations will be carried out. Email your professors to start the conversation and request an office hours appointment via phone or web conference when needed.

How to Get a Tutor or Academic Coach for Remote Classes

Oxford Campus

Rinella Learning Center (RLC) is providing remote academic support services such as remote tutoring and academic coaching. You should also check out the RLC Remote Learning Guide for helpful tips and strategies.

Miami Regionals

The Miami Regionals Tutoring and Learning Center (TLC) is providing remote academic support services such as tutoring and mentoring.

We strongly encourage you to schedule academic support services. It can be very helpful for your overall academic success.

How to Contact SDS

SDS is open for remote service Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm EST USA. Contact us at Oxford: SDS@MiamiOH.edu or 513-529-1541 (TTY-TDD: 7-1-1), Hamilton: muhods@MiamiOH.edu or 513-785-3211 (TTY-TDD: 7-1-1), Middletown: mumdc@MiamiOH.edu or 513-727-3431 (TTY-TDD: 7-1-1). All meetings are conducted via phone or video chat.You may also contact your assigned Coordinator with questions. This information can be found in your SAM Portal.

FAQs

How do I receive extra testing time for my online exams?

First, make sure you have formally requested accommodations via the SAM: Students Accessing Miami Portal. Next, we recommend emailing each of your instructors to confirm they have received the request. Instructors have the ability to provide extended time in Canvas.

Can I add extra accommodations for remote classes?

Yes, you can add extra accommodations when reasonable and appropriate. Contact your assigned SDS Coordinator to make them aware of the need. Your Coordinator will review the request. Upon approval, the accommodation will be added to your SAM profile and you should add it to your current request according to procedure.

What should I do if I encounter a barrier when using a remote learning application?

Our team is working diligently to ensure accessibility of applications used for remote learning (e.g. Canvas, Webex etc.). If you encounter or anticipate a barrier when using an application you should report an accessibility barrier.

Can I still use my attendance or deadlines accommodations for remote classes?

When reasonable and appropriate, attendance and deadline accommodations can be used for remote classes. It is important to communicate with faculty in advance of the need for accommodation or as soon as possible thereafter. You should contact your SDS Coordinator right away if you are having concerns related to attendance or deadline accommodations.

Faculty & Staff Information

Accommodations

Students can begin and continue using accommodations for remote classes. Visit your SAM: Students Accessing Miami Faculty Portal to view current student information.  Students are strongly encouraged to connect with you to discuss accommodations. We also recommend sending a brief email that invites them to engage in the conversation.

Accessibility Best Practices

Implementing accessibility best practices into remote courses ensures students with disabilities have an opportunity to fully participate in learning. It also creates opportunities for deeper learning among all students. There may be different accessibility considerations for remote learning. Follow these tips to get started:

  • Use university supported applications to deliver remote courses. Canvas, Cisco Webex, Google Apps for Education, Microsoft Office and Qualtrics are examples of university supported applications. There are accessibility practices and solutions specifically for these products. When you use non university supported applications you may choose an inaccessible product and students can become overwhelmed by having to learn a wide range of different applications at once. Consistency across classes and disciplines supports learning. 
  • Post accessible documents. Course documents should be created digitally and images should include alt text. Scanned document images and photos of handwritten notes are not accessible to assistive technology such as screen readers or text to speech software. Canvas pages, Word documents, tagged .pdfs and some online articles are fairly accessible formats to use. Use the AccessMU CARES tool to convert a document into formats that are easier to work with. Follow the AccessMU Document Accessibility Guidelines and use the Microsoft Accessibility Checker when creating content. 
  • Use universal design principles when presenting.Post presentation materials in advance on Canvas. This allows students to use their assistive technology to access content. Implement multiple means of representations to give students more ways to digest content. Verbally describe visual content (e.g. images, charts) displayed on screen and include written descriptions too.
  • Use captioned media and provide transcripts for audio. Adopt media with closed captions, caption self created content and post transcripts for audio and podcasts. This benefits students with hearing disabilities and others. Live captioning is a good learning support but is not accessible for Deaf & Hard of Hearing people. Consult with SDS if you have a student with a captioning accommodation. 
  • Prioritize effective communication. Check in with all students to make them aware of required web applications for remote learning and group collaboration. Sending a brief email to students using accommodations is helpful to engage them in the interactive process and confirm they are not encountering access barriers. Send these emails individually to ensure confidentiality.
  • Maintain learning goals, but build in flexibility. You should always maintain learning objectives and essential course requirements. In some instances, flexibility may be necessary to support students. Variations in internet connectivity, home environments, technology access and stress response during crisis may impact student engagement. Implement Universal Design for Learning to meet the broad range of student needs. If you are concerned about a student’s well being submit the Student of Concern Form.
  • Ask for help and be kind to yourself. Visit the AccessMU Training Page to learn how to create accessible content or contact them at AccessMU@MiamiOH.edu to request consultation. If you have questions about a specific student using accommodations contact Oxford: SDS@MiamiOH.edu or 513-529-1541, Hamilton: muhods@MiamiOH.edu or 513-785-3211, Middletown: mumdc@MiamiOH.edu or 513-727-3431. We are here to help you and implementing accessibility is an ongoing process that exists on a continuum.

FAQs

Can I provide extended testing time Canvas?

I have a student with a vision or hearing disability in my class. How do I ensure they are able to fully access my remote course and continue receiving accommodations (e.g. captioning, interpreter services, alternate formats)?

Student Disability Services contacted faculty for all students with vision and hearing disabilities to develop continuity plans. If you have not met with our staff or have additional questions please contact SDS@MiamiOH.edu.

What accessibility guidelines should I follow for Proctorio?

Proctorio may be used to monitor exams but there are specific accessibility considerations. The application presents barriers for screen reader users, text-to-speech software users, and people with limited mobility if settings are not adjusted properly. Use one of these two solutions:

Option 1

Use the Exam Flexibility feature available through the Moderate Quiz options in Canvas to turn off Proctorio for individual students in your course. Review Enable Proctorio Exam Flexibility Video for instructions.

Option 2

To address accessibility concerns in Proctorio, the following setting adjustments must be made:

    1. Turn off all Lock Down Options.
    2. Turn off the Record Room Recording Option.
    3. Turn off the Verify ID Verification Option.

Text to speech software will not integrate with any of the Lock Down features. Users with limited mobility cannot independently use the ID Verification and Room Scan features.

You will still have access to remaining monitoring features including record video, audio, screen and web traffic. You can make the setting adjustments for the entire class or duplicate the quiz and use the Assign a Quiz to an Individual Student to make the quiz with recommended accessibility settings available only for eligible students.

What accessibility guidelines should I follow for Webex?

We recommend following the Webex Accessibility Best Practices.

Accessibility Tips for Remote Programming & Special Events

Offering remote programming and special events is a great way to ensure continuity of engagement in campus life. It is important to ensure students with disabilities can fully participate. Implementing accessibility best practices also improves the overall program experience. Follow these tips to get started:

  • Schedule a consultation with SDS and the AccessMU Center. When planning your event it can be helpful to consult and brainstorm how accessibility will be embedded into the program. Our team regularly meets with campus partners to provide guidance and identify accessibility solutions. 
  • Choose a university supported application to deliver your program. Canvas and Cisco Webex are examples of university supported applications. There are accessibility practices and solutions specifically for these products. When you use non university supported applications you may choose an inaccessible product and prevent someone from fully participating. We recommend using the Webex Accessibility Best Practices when planning your event. 
  • Include an accessibility statement in communications and registration forms. An accessibility statement gives attendees an opportunity to request accommodations in advance of the need for them. This gives you time to coordinate the request in partnership with our team. 
    • Sample Accessibility Statement: Miami University is committed to providing an inclusive and equitable event experience. If you need disability related accommodations  (e.g. interpreter, captioning, materials in an accessible format) to facilitate full participation please contact the Miller Center by phone at 513-529-1541, TTY-TDD: 7-1-1 or SDS@MiamiOH.edu.
  • Develop accessibility guidelines for presenters. In many cases, presenters may submit content to be included in the event. They should be creative while also following best practices that allow all participants to enjoy the content. Having set guidelines streamlines the process of collecting content and minimizes the need for remediation. It is helpful to provide accessibility guidelines with basic tips and standards that presenters should follow.

Sample Accessibility Guidelines for Presenters

  • Include captioned media only.
    • All videos including narrated presentations and recorded webinars must include closed captions. Auto captions should only be used as a learning support. They are not accessible to Deaf & Hard of Hearing people. Learn more about captioning.
  • Create accessible documents and presentations in university supported applications. People who use assistive technology (e.g. screen readers, text to speech software) require accessible content to read effectively. Learn more about document accessibility. Prioritize these tips:
    • Choose an accessible format (e.g., Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, HTML). Consider using the AccessMU CARES tool to convert documents into formats that are more useful for you or easier to work with.
    • Use proper formatting and header levels.
    • Use descriptive links instead of a copy/paste of the URL or “click here”.
    • Do not use color alone to communicate.
    • Use accessible font styles (e.g. sans serif, 12pt).
    • Add alt text to all images. Alt text is when you add a brief description that describes the function and appearance of an image.  It is necessary for screen reader users to make meaning of an image. Type the keywords “alt text” in the help section of most applications to learn how to add it.
    • Provide multiple means of representation. For example you can include an image, written description and verbally describe a concept during your presentation. This will give participants three different ways of getting the information.
    • Run the accessibility checker feature when available (e.g. Microsoft Accessibility Checker, Canvas UDOIT or Blackboard Ally).
  • Restate questions or use the chat feature for interactive web based events.
    • Audio quality may vary, especially during large scale web conferencing events. During interactive sessions it may be helpful to use the chat feature for questions submission or restate participant questions before answering them.