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Faculty Resources

Accessibility in the Classroom and in Canvas

While Accommodation Plans that you receive in the form of a letter from students outline reasonable accommodations, which are the legal rights of students under the ADA, its amendments, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, “Accessibility” is a term used in a more broad sense. Accessibility is all about access: access to students, particularly students with varied learning strengths, English language learners, and students with barriers to learning. The list below outlines tips to enhance both classroom and online accessibility for your students.

  • The use of PowerPoint or slides
    • Post slides on Canvas prior to class so students have access during class. There are many benefits to making slides available to students prior to class: this typically results in more classroom participation as this increases engagement.
    • Ensure the font size is big enough for the students in the back of the room to see the projection. Better contrast with slides can be achieved by turning the lights down low, enhancing the brightness of the projection.
    • Click here to visit a site reviewing the numerous accessibility features of PowerPoint.
  • Providing accessible online content is the law. Canvas has many built in accessibility features throughout its design.
    • Headings. Include the use of Headings in your course content using the Paragraph selection tool in the Canvas Rich Text Editor. This helps organize your content for everyone, but also allows students who utilize screen readers to easily navigate the course content.
    • Caption. Caption all videos posted on Canvas. There are many tools to provide captioning to an existing video. There are built-in methods in YouTube, but not all videos automate the Closed Captioning feature. For assistance with captioning at Husson, submit a ticket to Instructional Technologist, Gretchen Schaefer: CLICK HERE to submit a ticket!
    • Links. Be descriptive when adding a hyperlink to your course content. Rather than just “click here,” add a few more descriptive words that will inform the student where they will be led to by clicking. Here is a resource for using the Rich Content Editor when creating a link.
    • Images. Adding Alt Text to images ensures that a student using a screen reader can identify the significance of an image to your course content. To understand why this is important, imagine you are listening to the course content and cannot see, and there are multiple images that convey important course content. Students with visual impairments utilize screen readers. Alt Text embedded within an image tells a student using a screen reader what the image is conveying. To learn how to include Alt Text in Canvas, visit this website.
    • Creating documents. Documents provided to students or posted online must be accessible. Click here to visit Penn State’s Accessibility website offers some great tips on how to create accessible documents.
  • Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework that exemplifies accessibility, with evidence-based classroom practices. Click here to explore how some faculty utilize UDL in higher education.

For more information on accessibility features in Canvas, visit this website.

Accessibility Services is a part of the Center for Student Success (CSS) in Peabody 208. Testing Accommodations are outlined in a student’s Accommodation Plan provided to you by individual students. The logistics of accommodated test taking can vary by course, professor, or department. If a student’s testing accommodations can best be met in the Center for Student Success, here is the expected procedure for faculty.

Upon receiving notification email, please respond answering the following:

If paper-based exam:

  1. Will you be dropping off the test or emailing?
    2. How would you like the testing materials returned: pick up here in Peabody 208 or scanned?
    3. How long is the test/quiz for all other students?
    4. Do you allow calculators, notes, scrap paper, or any other object or material?

If using Examplify/ExamSoft:

  1. Please send a password and let us know if you put a time limit in the system.
  2. If not, how long is the test/quiz for all other students?
  3. Do you allow calculators, notes, scrap paper, or any other object or material?
  4. How would you like the exam to be returned to you?

If pertinent information is not included, we cannot proctor the exam properly.

Please drop off all testing materials at least 24 hours prior to the exam time.

Please pick up all testing materials at least 48 hours following the exam time.

If an exam is scanned we will keep the hard copy in a secure location for one year.

Center for Student Success Responsibilities

As soon as we know about an exam/quiz:

The professor is notified.
Once a test is dropped off, we will keep it in a secure location until pick up.
Will aid the student in any technical issues that arise to the best of our ability.
Will ensure testing accommodations provided align with current plan.
Will ensure the integrity of the testing space and requirements.

Students with Disabilities

Husson University reasonably accommodates those who request accommodations and provide evidence of a disability. Such efforts are in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. In order to request disability-related services at Husson, students must self-identify to the Disability Services office within the Center for Student Success, and they must provide appropriate and up-to-date documentation to verify their disability or special needs. Notice to other departments, faculty or staff, does not constitute self-identification to the University. After the accommodations have been approved, the student must notify the instructor by providing the accommodation plan. Depending upon the nature of the request, the instructor may then coordinate with Center for Student Success to fulfill the plan. If you have any questions regarding reasonable accommodations or need to request disability-related services, please contact the Center for Student Success, located in Peabody Hall room 208, or call (207) 992-1934, or e-mail studentsuccess@husson.edu.

As a faculty member, you may request an accommodation to be reconsidered if you believe it fundamentally alters an essential element of your course or program. For example, you may have technical standards for your program which dictate qualifications of all students in the program. If an accommodation lowers such standards, it is important to inform Director of Accessibility Services right away. It’s possible that an accommodation may be fulfilled by a different method, or may be deemed unreasonable. Your concerns will be taken seriously and this office will work with you or your department chair toward a solution that upholds the academic standards of a given program while maintaining equitable access to students.

For more information

Name
Phone and Email Address
Elizabeth Atkinson Elizabeth Atkinson
Director of Accessibility Services
207.973.1017
atkinsone@husson.edu
208 Peabody Hall
Husson University
1 College Circle
Bangor, Maine 04401