As McMaster courses and meetings are transitioning to online and virtual spaces, please take a moment to review the ways you can engage digital formats, technologies and platforms to enhance the accessibility and experience of individuals with disabilities, particularly those who use assistive technologies to navigate online spaces.
To support you best in creating and maintaining accessible online meeting and communications-focused spaces, the following best practices and skill-building tutorials and resources have been put together for you to enhance the accessibility and usability of McMaster-supported technologies (e.g. Microsoft Teams and Zoom). Please also note resources and training to support you in creating and publishing accessible digital content (e.g. documents, emails and presentations).
- For staff who require support in accommodating employees with disabilities in their units, please contact Employee Health Services.
- For staff who require workplace accommodations to support their own disability-related needs, please contact Employee Health Services.
Employee Captioning Requirements
- Following the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), having captioned lectures or videos makes them more universally accessible for students, and will help to level the playing ground for those who may identify deaf/Deaf, hard-of hearing, have cognitive / learning disabilities, who do not speak English as a first language, and/or who may have poor internet/audio access at home.
- Recorded material (like a lecture video, a recorded talk, or a video with audio) distributed as part of a course must be captioned.
- This applies to courses offered in-person, as well as online.
Accommodations Processes for Captioning Recorded Material
- The hosting/streaming services that the University is providing and supporting for playback (Echo 360, MacVideo, Microsoft Stream) automatically caption video/audio that is uploaded to these platforms, regardless of how the content was created.
- Accuracy of these automated captions is variable, but is roughly 90-95% accurate.
- Instructors are currently only required to have captions that are generated automatically by these systems, even if they are not 100% accurate. Anything beyond that is up to the discretion of the instructor given the time and resources available.
- Echo360 is the recommended software for lecture capture, as it provides the most seamless integration with Avenue, and also allows for the coordination of services across the different campus offices involved in the process.
- For example, if a student in a course is registered with Student Accessibility Services (SAS) who requires captioning, SAS will coordinate with Library Accessibility Services (LAS) and Campus Classroom Technologies (CCT) to ensure AODA requirements are met. SAS will contact individual instructors if this process is initiated for a student who requires 100% accurate captions, and will put the instructor in touch with Echo360 support personnel at CCT.
- A department might consider adding additional student support for manually revising automated captions/transcripts on video if resources become available.
- Please consult the Remote Teaching and Captioning Guide for an overview of McMaster-supported platforms as per their captioning capabilities.
- For any and all other questions related to requirements for captioning (including clarifications around the use of live captioning) please connect with Kate Brown, AccessMac Program Manager, Equity and Inclusion Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Platforms with Accessibility Features for Online Meetings
WHAT IS MICROSOFT TEAMS?
Microsoft Teams is a unified communication and collaborative hub (and part of the Office365 suite of programs – free for McMaster staff and students)
Accessibility for microsoft teams
- Microsoft Teams Installation and Use Tutorial (with accessibility pieces featured)
- Teaching with Teams – a video tutorial developed by the MacPherson Institute with accessibility and inclusion features highlighted and which may be useful to staff educator
- To learn how to teach accessibly, please see the Teaching in Microsoft Teams webinar in our Microsoft 365 Accessible Documents series
- Also please see the Remote Teaching and Captioning Guide for support with captioning in Teams
get support from the macpherson institute
- For more information and resources related to Microsoft Teams, visit MacPherson’s Teaching Remotely page
All eligible McMaster faculty, staff and active students now have access to licensed Zoom accounts. Please note that:
- In some cases, users may need to request a Zoom license. Generic, Departmental and Role-Based accounts are not eligible for a Zoom license.
- We are still recommending students go with MS Teams for web and video conferencing needs.
See the IT Continuity site for more information.
Accessibility for Zoom
- Zoom Installation and Use Tutorial
- Zoom Accessibility Features
- Also please see the Remote Teaching and Captioning Guide for support with automated transcriptions using an Otter.ai integration for Zoom
Get Support from uts and the macpherson institute
what is webex?
WebEx is a McMaster supported tool used for meetings, web and video conferencing.
Accessibility for WebEx
- Cisco Webex Installation and Use Tutorial (with accessibility pieces)
- Also please see the Remote Teaching and Captioning Guide for support with recording and editing transcripts using WebEx
Get Support from avenue, webex, and the macpherson institute
- Support available by request at Avenue Support
- 24/7 support from WebEx at 1-866-229-3239
- For more information and resources related to WebEx, visit MacPherson’s Teaching Remotely page
Creating Accessible Communications for Distribution and Websites
The Faculty of Sciences and the AccessMac Program (Equity and Inclusion Office) have collaborated to create an extensive and simplified webinar series that will guide learners through the various accessibility features and formatting techniques for Microsoft products.
- Introduction to Accessibility in Online Learning Environments and the Social Model of Disability
- Accessible Microsoft Word Documents
- Exporting Microsoft Word to PDF on PC and Mac Computers
- Accessible Microsoft Outlook Emails
- How to use the Plain Text Email Signature Template
- Accessible Microsoft PowerPoint
- Accessible Microsoft Excel
- Accessible Presentation Techniques
- Teaching in Microsoft Teams
To access full text outlines for creating accessible documents and presentations, please access Social Sciences-developed training on:
Remote Meetings and Closed Captioning
Captioning video content supports accessibility for participants who may be deaf/Deaf, hard-of hearing, have cognitive / learning disabilities, who do not speak English as a first language, and/or who may have poor internet / audio access at home.
There are differences, however, between and among McMaster e-learning and meeting platforms in terms of captioning features that can be accessed in order to:
- Caption in real-time
- Caption through auto-generation after a video has been recorded
Remote Meetings and Captioning
The following resource on Remote Teaching and Captioning has been developed by the Faculty of Sciences to helpfully guides users through captioning capabilities for institutionally-supported teaching, learning and meeting platforms at McMaster.
This guide is particularly helpful for proactive accessibility measures applied to online learning environments and virtual classrooms, and is not a replacement for workplace accommodations for video / audio captioning and transcripts.
Peer Support for Employees with Disabilities
The Employee Accessibility Network is an online and in-person network of employees (faculty and staff) with disabilities at McMaster University. The Network supports peer networking and professional development for members, and acts additionally as an accessibility consultation group to the McMaster Accessibility Council. Please visit the Employee Accessibility Network page to learn more and join.