Transitioning to remote instruction from Face to Face

Like many colleges, we are assessing whether or not to transition our face-to-face courses to remote instruction for at least a temporary period of time. Is there any leeway in accessiblity requirements for emergency circumstances? While we are rigorous with our accessibility training and resources at our college, I imagine there will be some faculty with little familiarity with the requirements as they transition temporarily to remote instruction.


  • Nicolas
    Nicolas Member
    edited March 2020
    Hello Elizabeth,

    Rather than considering options that might exclude some learners, this might be an opportunity for institutions to remind faculty members of the types of resources available to help them ensure as many students as possible have access to instructional content:
    • Canvas has a built-in accessibility checker for content pages
    • There are guides and checklists with links to additional resources and videos
    • There are Canvas quiz question types that are fairly accessible
    • There are captioning resources for videos through 3C Media Solutions and YouTube auto-captions can be edited to make the captions accurate
    • There are tips for audio description and narration
    Best regards,
  • Sean_Keegan
    Sean_Keegan Member
    edited March 2020
    Hello Elizabeth,

    I am not familiar with leeway or exceptions to accessibility requirements when transitioning from face-to-face to remote instruction. The accessibility standards provide a technical framework by which institutions can use for guidance and direction in meeting access requirements for electronic information for individuals with disabilities. If an institution can provide students with disabilities access to the educational opportunities provided to all students using other solutions, then that may suffice. However, I am not familiar with any exceptions that would be allowed in moving from face-to-face to remote instruction.

    If a student with a disability is being served in some manner in a face-to-face class, and there is a need to transition to remote instruction, then I would expect there to be an interactive conversation between the student and disability services department (and possibly the instructor) as to how the student's needs can be met and how the student can continue to participate in the class remotely.

    If a faculty member who teaches only face-to-face classes has questions as to how to address accessibility for the classes being taught remotely, then there are different resources available. Nicolás identified several of these resources in his post. In addition to those, if there is a question regarding the accessibility and Canvas, the CCC Accessibility Center has created a short "micro-course" on the best practices to include accessibility in Canvas courses.

    Additionally, we have also created resources for both MS Word and MS PowerPoint on how to address those file formats with respect to accessibility.

    I realize that not every piece of instructional content will be accessible overnight as institutions grapple with moving face-to-face courses into a remote learning framework in such a short time period. Steps to consider as part of this process could include:
    • Including an accessibility statement in the course syllabus/outline that provides information as to where a student with a disability can obtain services (if needed)
    • Consider creating Canvas pages with the same information as any MS Word, PowerPoint, or PDF documents posted (as appropriate)
    • Consider multiple or alternate forms of assignments or assessments for students to demonstrate proficiency
    Hope this helps.

    Take care,

  • Nicolas
    Nicolas Member
    edited March 2020
    This resource from the University of Washington might also be helpful. They created a guide on how to "Prepare for When Classes Can't Meet", specifically targeting faculty: