This guide provides suggestions and resources to help faculty continue teaching in ways that are equitable and inclusive in an any environment. There is a lot of information here, not all of which you should even try to implement immediately; however, having this information in the background as you plan your course will help ensure that what you do implement will follow best practices. The outline on this page has the high-level bullets while the specific sections provide much more explanation and links to additional resources. Feel free to skim through and digest a little at a time.
There are three aspects of accessibility that are key here – accessibility for students with physical impairments that may create challenges for reading/seeing/hearing digital files and content, accessibility for students with psychological and/or learning differences that require certain accommodations such as extra time to process materials or additional exam time, and accessibility for students with limited access to computers or stable internet service.
- Ensure all files, images, videos, and other posted content are accessible (i.e., visual content can be clearly translated by a screen-reader and audio content has visual captions)
- Provide approved accommodations for students who present accommodation letters from the Office of Student Accessibility Services
- Check whether the content is mobile-friendly
Use the Accessible Course Design page.
- Have flexible policies: Review your syllabus and consider what changes might be needed to your grading weights, late policies and other course policies
- Think about alternative ways that students can engage with your course (flexible activities)
- Think about alternative ways that students can show you what they have learned (flexible assessments)
- Consider integrating culturally relevant materials
- Be aware of how the current situation is impacting different communities
- Pay attention to early warning signs that students may be struggling and reach out proactively
- Use more formative assessment and make completion mandatory
- Know what resources are available for students
- Continue to have opportunities for live, synchronous engagement
- Talk to your students about what is happening
- Build/maintain community among students
- Provide students with support and resources
- Structure, structure, structure
- Use the must-have Online Course Essentials (ONCE)
- Create transparent assignments
Online Learning: Self-paced training and resources
Webinar, Create an inclusive learning environment
The teaching-learning process is an inherently social act. Students interact with the instructor, their peers, and the course content throughout the learning process, often simultaneously in a learning environment. All of these interactions help shape their success in the course. Explore ways to create a welcoming learning environment, brainstorm what we can do to build an inclusive environment, share campus resources and programs, and extend your learning about teaching inclusively.
Inclusion in the Online Learning Environment, by the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) at Iowa State University is licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0. This work, Inclusion in the Online Learning Environment, is a derivative of Maintaining Equity and Inclusion in Virtual Learning Environments developed by San Diego State University Diversity and Innovation (retrieved on May 13, 2020) from https://diversity.sdsu.edu/resources/inclusive-pedagogy.