While online learning has the capacity to open up new opportunities for students with disabilities, it also has the potential to present barriers to learning if accessibility is not considered from the outset.
As McMaster courses and meetings are transitioning to online spaces, please take a moment to consider the impacts that inaccessible digital formats, technologies and platforms may have on individuals with disabilities, and in particular, those who use assistive technologies to navigate online spaces.
To support you best in creating and maintaining accessible online education and meeting spaces, the following best practices and skill-building tutorials and resources have been put together to enhance the accessibility and usability of the McMaster-supported technologies you may be accessing, as well as digital content you may be creating.
**Please note that these resources have been developed and organized to support content formatting, recording and publishing, and not to replace accessible course design and / or pedagogies. Techniques demonstrated within this series will specifically address access to digital content for learners and instructors with various disabilities.
For more information on accessibility and inclusion pedagogies and instructional techniques, please visit McMaster’s FLEX Forward Accessible and Inclusive Education resource or visit the Macpherson Institute Teaching and Learning Centre’s Instructional Continuity page.
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 a learner in your teaching and learning environment requires captioning as part of an academic accommodation, both Student Accessibility Services and Library Accessibility Services will support their accommodation needs.
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 Windows 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:
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.
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 your Avenue course shell.
- In order to avoid uploading inaccessible digital content:
- Learn about Core Skills for Accessibility through Microsoft 365 Accessible Document and Outlook Email Training when creating your own content / digital documents and presentations
- Quickly and efficiently convert your inaccessible documents (e.g. an inaccessible PDF) to accessible formats and/or alternative formats (MP3s, Microsoft Word docs, HTML) using institutionally supported SensusAccess conversion software
- Be mindful that most PDF options are not accessible formats for individuals using various types of assistive technology unless they’ve been intentionally made accessible by the document’s author.
- Please connect with Student Accessibility Services and Library Accessibility Services to discuss document conversion options if you are working with learners in your teaching and learning environments who 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 more information on holding exams and creating tests on Avenue, please visit MacPherson’s Instructional Continuity page
For Additional Accessibility Support:
- Avenue (Desire to Learn) has created an accessibility checker in Brightspace HTML Editor. Watch the YouTube tutorial below to see how it works!
- For those using screen readers, please check out this YouTube tutorial on Brightspace screen reader accessibility features
- Avenue (Desire to Learn) has created an accessibility compliance page, which includes the VPAT’s and WCAG 2.1 checklists
- To learn more about accessibility and navigation, check out this comprehensive Brightspace webpage
- For instructors, consider checking out these accessible content templates available for use in your courses
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.
As a McMaster Instructor, you get access to Echo360 absolutely free.
- Instructors can get started in learning more about and accessing Echo360 lecture capture software for your personal devices by contacting Classroom Campus Technologies (CCT) within the McMaster Libraries. CCT staff within the libraries will assist you with downloading software, software set-up, and supporting training for this platform.
- Please visit the main Echo360 page on the Libraries’ website for more information about set-up and training.
Accessibility for Echo360
CCT, Library Accessibility Services, and the Faculty of Sciences have developed several useful and accessible guides to enabling accessibility features within Echo360, including:
- This webpage on Best Practices for Creating and Editing Accessible Echo360 Transcripts
- This guide to creating video content online using Echo360 and your personal device
- This Guide to One Click Echo Integration available in Avenue
- Also please see the Remote Teaching and Captioning Guide for support with captioning in Echo360
If you have learners in your online / blended learning environments who have academic accommodations for captioning lecture capture-recorded materials, please connect with Student Accessibility Services and Library Accessibility Services for support.
Kaltura Capture is a program that allows for easy video and audio creation without specialized equipment. It combines an intuitive user interface with a user-centric experience and interactive viewing to enable easy video creation on campus, from the office, at home or on-the-go. Any media created with Kaltura Capture is automatically stored in your personal MacVideo Media Library and can be easily integrated in Avenue to Learn
Kaltura Capture is included in MacVideo, which is freely available to all McMaster instructors, staff and students.
- You can learn more about Kaltura Capture for your personal devices at the MacVideo support site or by contacting the MacPherson Institute
Accessibility for Kaltura Capture
The MacPherson Institute has developed or curated the following resources on accessibility features and guidance related to Kaltura Capture and MacVideo use:
- Guide to How to Add Auto Captioning to your Video
- Guide on How to Edit Captions
- This Guide to Integrating MacVideo in Avenue to Learn
If you have learners in your online / blended learning environments who have academic accommodations for captioning recorded materials, please connect with Student Accessibility Services and Library Accessibility Services for support.
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)
- Also please see the Remote Teaching and Captioning Guide for support with captioning in Teams
- To learn more, please see our webinar on Teaching in Microsoft Teams
- For information on how to use Microsoft Teams for teaching and learning contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the MacPherson Instructional Continuity page
- For more information and resources related to Microsoft Teams, visit MacPherson’s Instructional Continuity page
Zoom is a now available to faculty and staff and supported through our University Technology Services. 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
- Request a Zoom Account (note that there is a high volume of UTS support requests at this time)
- For more information and resources related to Zoom, visit MacPherson’s Instructional Continuity page
McMaster’s WebEx Platform
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
- 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 Instructional Continuity page
MacVideo is a video-creation and sharing tool that is integrated into Avenue to Learn
- Please visit the MacVideo Knowledge Base for all information you will require to understand how to use MacVideo, including auto-captioning and caption editing, video capturing and video uploading.
- For information on how to use Microsoft Stream, please visit this helpful tutorial from LinkedIn Learning
Accessibility for Stream
- Please find easy to follow information on how to create and edit auto-generated transcripts and captions from the Remote Teaching and Captions at McMaster Guide