Accessibility Tips in a HyFlex Teaching Environment

Below are some tips for accessibility in a hyflex teaching environment.

Accessibility and Universal Design for Learning are important considerations to keep in mind when designing and delivering courses. We have all probably heard about Universal design in buildings and public spaces. You can usually see it as sidewalk cutouts for wheelchairs, ramps into buildings and captioning on television shows and movies. An interesting survey looking to see who uses closed captioning/subtitles on video showed that 80% of users are not hard of hearing or deaf, only 20% were. Universal design is intended to provide access to everyone regardless of age, disability or other factors.

Universal Design for Learning and Accessibility follows these same concepts in the learning environment. Designing courses with accessibility in mind provides educational opportunities to all students. For example, a captioned video is not only helpful to deaf student but benefits non-native English speakers. It also provides a sense of independence to students with disabilities. Think about accessible course design as being proactive instead of midway through semester having to make changes to accommodate a student with a disability.

 In the HyFlex environment it is even more important to think about accessibility. Your students may be in the classroom, remote, or unable to attend the live session. Providing everyone with an accessible course and documents will help create a successful learning environment.

Blackboard Ally
is an add-in to your course which automatically generates alternate formats of documents so students can download audio, PDF, ePub and other versions of the documents you post. Ally reviews the documents you have posted (Word, PowerPoint, and PDF) and provides tips to help improve the accessibility score. If you are interested in integrating Ally into your course, please contact the Learning & Applied Innovation Center.

Questions to Ask

The following are a few questions to start with while looking over your course and designing assignments.
The first four steps will help you to prioritize and begin the process. After completing the first four, take your time and make other adjustments as you have time.

Accessibility Tips for Microsoft Word

Key things to be aware of to make your Word documents accessible.