How to make the move to online delivery and assessment as inclusive as possible
Moodle best practice
The University has long-standing guidance on setting up your Moodle site to be clear and helpfully structured.
20 tips for creating accessible online delivery
An 18-minute video on how to create accessible online courses from the University of Washington.
The 20 tips factsheet for teaching accessible online courses from University of Washington.
Creating accessible PowerPoint presentations
A quick guide to producing accessible PowerPoint presentations from Leeds University, including how to use the Microsoft’s built-in accessibility checker.
Creating accessible Word documents
A quick guide to producing accessible Word documents from Leeds University, including how to use the Microsoft’s built-in accessibility checker.
Writing inclusive assessments
A PDF guide from University of Kent on how to write inclusive assessments that allow as many students as possible to engage with the minimum of reasonable adjustments.
IT tips for remote studying and assessments
A short guide of basic tricks and tips to help you and your students:
- How to make laptops, tablets and phones easier to use;
- Extras in the software you use everyday like Word, Chrome and Adobe Acrobat;
- Additional software available to you for free.
What might your disabled students find challenging with online delivery?
A survey of disabled students in Ireland in the immediate wake of lockdown and a move to online delivery found:
- More than half felt they were not coping well with studying at home, especially students with a Specific Learning Difficulty such as dyslexia and students with a mental health condition.
- Students reporting a lack of structure to their day and low motivation to learn.
- Distractions at home and challenges with their IT and internet set-up.
- Not being clear about their assessments.
Students will not necessarily be able to structure their engagement with online learning so make that an explicit part of your delivery, with clear recommendations of how they should be pacing their progress through your material and how to make constructive use of formative exercises.
Students with a print impairment, such as dyslexia or a visual impairment, might need more time to engage with lengthy texts and could benefit from having it formatted accessibly so they could use a screen reader to listen to the material.
Students with a hearing impairment might find live online lectures and tutorial discussion difficult because of poor audio quality or poor video quality making it hard to lip read as they would in person. Make sure recorded video content, included teaching recorded using Panopto, has captions. PowerPoint 365 online includes live captioning that needs practice but can be fairly accurate. Students can also use free captioning apps such as Otter.ai to provide their own live captions.
Students with communication difficulties might have mixed experiences of collaborating with peers and lecturers online: some might find it beneficial while others find it brings them new challenges. Try to offer a range of ways to support collaboration, such as shared online writing tasks and discussion forums as well as live online chats.
This is a brief guide from University of Washington you can share with students on effective online learning strategies.
Universal Design for Learning: our underpinning principles
The University has a commitment to inclusion and work in recent years has been heavily influenced by Universal Design for Learning guidelines:
- Provide multiple means of engagement: a range of ways for students to engage with course content, such as class materials in advance and class recordings.
- Provide multiple means of representation: class materials in a range of formats, including accessibly formatted text that can be used with a screen reader and video content with captions.
- Provide multiple means of action and expression: a range of ways for students to demonstrate their new knowledge, understanding and capabilities.
You can explore how to embed Universal Design for Learning in your own teaching and assessment with an online course from AHEAD available within Moodle Community.
How your Disability Inclusion team can work with you
As the University continues to develop its Covid-19 response, the Disability Inclusion team will:
- Engage with Schools, DLTE and other departments to make sure we keep up to date with changes to teaching and assessment.
- Support disabled students to adjust to new ways of studying and being assessed, including updating and sharing learning profiles.
- Support new disabled students to enjoy a confident start to their new course.