Creating an Accessible Online Environment
As an instructor, it is important for you to consider accessibility when creating materials for the online environment. Whether you are offering an online course; creating a course for Global Campus; or posting to KSOL, content needs to be accessible. Retrofitting is not a recommended practice, so the best time to implement strategies for accessibility is during the creation process.
The inherent issue concerning web accessibility is complexity. There are excellent resources available on the topic. The World Wide Web Consortium or W3C is the international standards organization for the World Wide Web. The Web Accessibility Initiative is the section of the W3C that is responsible for the strategies, guidelines, and resources to make the Web accessible to people with disabilities. However, as wonderful as these resources are, the information contained within the websites is daunting.
It is the intent of staff to provide faculty basic information in the area of web accessibility. Best practices, resources, and descriptions of "how to" are included under Documents and Presentations. For specific guidelines on creating an accessible course in Canvas, we recommend you look at K-State's Digital Accessibility in Canvas.
Providing Accommodations and Instructional Continuity
SAC Testing Center is limited in the number of exams that we can proctor for fall 2020. Most testing accommodations will need to be provided by instructors. However, there are some accommodations that may not be a barrier in an online environment, such as preferential seating and distraction-reduced environment. It is best to discuss accommodations with each student.
- Extended time: To extend time in Canvas, instructions are available on K-State's CANVAS FAQ page under Assessment and Grading. Please note that you must extend the time for each individual exam or quiz. Skyline College in San Bruno, CA posted a nice, detailed video outlining the steps you need to take to extend time in Canvas.
- Breaks during exams and quizzes: SAC recommends providing students with the accommodation of an additional ten minutes for every hour of exam or quiz time in addition to any extended time, if approved for the student.
- Exams in large font: For exams in Canvas, students should have the ability to magnify the screen and the size of the text.
- Exams on paper: Coordinate with the student as to how this will work in your course, or contact SAC if there is an issue with this accommodation.
- Reader and/or Scribe: This particular accommodation may be difficult in an online environment. SAC can help by discussing options with students and faculty on a case-by-case basis.
- Respondus LockDown Browser: For students with accommodations, the requirement to use Respondus LockDown Browser may interfere with assistive technology, thus preventing the student access to the exam.
- Captions to videos: SAC actively works with campus departments to determine how best to provide language access to deaf and hard-of-hearing students. If you need captioning for a student in your class that has the accommodation of closed-captions, contact SAC via email.
- Peer note-takers: This accommodation may no longer be applicable, if you record your lectures. If a student is still in need of notes, you can recruit a volunteer by sending an email through Canvas. Always remember to respect the confidentiality of a student. Once a volunteer has been identified, please send the email address of the volunteer to the student requesting a note-taker.
- Reasonable attendance modification: If the class is taught asynchronously, then this accommodation may not be relevant. However, if content is not recorded and available for viewing later or there is an interactive component to the class, instructors will need to work with students to discuss options for making up work or gaining access to material.