As McMaster courses and meetings are transitioning to online and virtual spaces, we want to ensure that all students, and particularly those with disabilities, have the resources and supports for academic success. Please access the resources and tutorials below to:
- Learn how you can be better supported as a McMaster student experiencing accessibility barriers (including a need for new / continuing academic and/or workplace accommodations during this time)
- Learn how you can better support your fellow McMaster students who may themselves be experiencing accessibility barriers
Emergency Financial Supports for McMaster Students
If you are experiencing a financial emergency such as not having money for food, rent or utilities, please follow the steps below:
- Complete the personal profile on the online aid application by clicking on ‘Apply for Financial Aid’ in the Mosaic Student Center (if you haven’t already).
- Install Microsoft Teams on your computer or mobile device.
- Contact Student Services via the “Live Chat” on the Registrar Office’s website (bottom right corner of the Home page).
- Alternatively, connect directly with firstname.lastname@example.org with the Subject Line
“Emergency Aid, (your) student name, (your) student number”
- Alternatively, connect directly with email@example.com with the Subject Line
- A video-chat will be scheduled for you to talk to a Student Services Professional regarding emergency financial support.
Accessing Academic Accommodations
For students who may:
- Require continuing / updated support for their current accommodation plans, and/or
- Require support in creating a new academic accommodation plan as a result of COVID-19 impacts,
Please contact Student Accessibility Services to connect with your accommodations counsellor or to book a consultation appointment.
Accessibility Workplace Accommodations (for student employees)
For students who require workplace accommodations to support their disability-related needs (including Work/Study and MacWork students, TAs, RAs, Temp/Casual Employees, etc.), please contact Monica Poulin at Employee Health Services for more information about workplace accommodations for student employees.
Platforms for Online and Virtual Instruction
What is Avenue to Learn?
Avenue to Learn is the learning management system used by most Faculties at McMaster. This learning management system is managed by the MacPherson Institute and support in setting up and managing an Avenue course shell can be accessed in the below “Get Support” section.
If you are starting your first semester at McMaster, the first place to look for course information might be avenue.mcmaster.ca, the university’s learning management system. To learn about how you can use Avenue to Learn, please view the following tutorial created by the Faculty of Social Sciences entitled, “Introduction to Avenue to Learn for New McMaster Students”.
For more information on how to navigate Avenue to Learn please visit the following Brightspace webpage.
Accessibility for Avenue to Learn
Avenue to Learn is a well-designed and accessible learning management system, which can be rendered inaccessible to learners using assistive technology when digitally inaccessible content is uploaded to and shared within the Avenue course shell.
- Please connect with Student Accessibility Services and Library Accessibility Services to discuss document conversion options if you require academic accommodations for accessible and/or alternative formats.
Get Support from the MacPherson Institute
- Request a course shell if you do not already have one.
- If you need additional support, complete an Avenue to Learn support request form
For Additional Accessibility Support
- For those using screen readers, please check out this YouTube tutorial on Brightspace screen reader accessibility features
- To learn more about accessibility and navigation, check out this comprehensive Brightspace webpage
What is Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams is a unified communication and collaborative hub (and part of the Office365 suite of programs – free for McMaster faculty, staff and students)
Accessibility for Microsoft Teams
- Microsoft Teams Installation and Use Tutorial (with accessibility pieces featured)
- Also please see the Remote Teaching and Captioning Guide for support with captioning in Teams
- To learn more about the accessibility features incorporated into Microsoft Teams, please visit the following webpage
Get support from the macpherson institute
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 echo360?
Echo360 is a Lecture Capture System. The system records audio and display, for viewing in digital format. This provides students with a powerful tool that can be used for review, or to supplement materials covered in class.
Accessibility for Echo360
As a student you will most likely experience the usage of Echo360 in a number of your classes. To better orient yourself to the accessible features of Echo360 and how to best utilize this for your learning, please sign up for an account on the Student Orientation page.
Get Support from sas and las
If you identify as a student with academic accommodations for captioning lecture capture-recorded materials, please connect with Student Accessibility Services and Library Accessibility Services for support.
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 Documents and Presentations
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:
Closed Captions for Online Learning and Meetings
Captioning video content supports accessibility for learners 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 Teaching and Captioning
The following resource on Remote Teaching and Captioning has been developed by the Faculty of Sciences to helpfully guides learners and instructors through captioning capabilities for institutionally-supported teaching, learning and meeting platforms McMaster.
This guide is particularly helpful for proactive accessibility measures applied to online learning environments and virtual classrooms, and is not a replacement for Student Accessibility Services’ academic accommodations for video / audio captioning.
If you require academic accommodations for captioning, please do get in touch with Student Accessibility Services.
Peer Support for Students with Disabilities
MSU Maccess is a community, peer support, and advocacy outlet for students with disabilities and disabled students at McMaster University. As Maccess has moved their services online in response to COVID-19 measures, please connect with their social media platforms (Instagram and Facebook) to inquire about offering and receiving peer support.