Accessibility Tips for Instructors
1. Speak facing the class, group, or individual.
Not only is it good practice to face the audience while speaking, but it provides students who utilize lip-reading to aid in communication direct line of sight to the instructor. Remember to speak clearly and don't obstruct the view to your mouth. The Hearing Loss Association of America provides additional tips for communicating with students with hearing impairment.
2. Create accessible documents (PDF, Word, PowerPoint, etc.).
One of the main issues students have with online content is inaccessible documents posted by instructors. Often instructors scan books or documents and post them for students to read. However, they sometimes forget to process the scanned material for accessibility. Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat have built in accessibility checkers to assist in making accessible documents.
3. Provide captions and a transcript for videos.
Any videos posted for students to view pertaining to the course must be accessible. An easy option is YouTube's automatic captions. After the captions are created you have the option to edit the content to fix errors. Transcripts are another option when captioning is not readily available.
4. Use color contrast between text and background.
Color contrast may not seem to be an issue, but to someone with low vision or color blindness it can be a big issue. Different types of low vision have diverse effects on how individuals see images and text. Color contrast helps ease those struggles. WebAIM provides a color contrast checker to aid in selecting colors for websites or documentation.
5. Not all web applications and websites are accessible.
If you are asking students to use any web application that is not supported by USF IT, be aware that some applications may not be accessible and may require additional services for students to have equal access. Contact USF IT and SDS when requiring students to use any non USF supported web application or website well before the beginning of the semester to ensure accessibility before it becomes a problem for you and your students.
6. Keep it simple and to the point.
Whether it's content on a website or documents for a class, structure content in plain English and keep it straightforward. Refrain from fluffing information which may lead to confusion. Effective content is communicated using short sentences for a single, simple idea.
7. Reach out to Students with Disabilities Services (SDS).
If you have any questions or concerns about how to accommodate a student, please reach out to SDS. SDS has many recommendations and resources to aid in providing accommodations to students.