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While you won’t always be able to predict the barriers that could arise in your course, you can let students know that you make accessibility and inclusion a priority. Here’s how.
Let students know you’re open and available to discuss barriers
At the beginning of the semester, identify methods to identify potential barriers or learning needs of your students. Consider asking them to complete an index card (or online form, or email) with an answer to a question like:
- What would you like me to know about how you learn best?
- How can I best help you succeed in this course?
- What can I do to best support your learning needs?
- Do you have any access needs that you would like me to know about?
Invite students to come to your office hours or set up individual time to meet with you. Make sure to include an access statement in your syllabus.
Build accessibility into your course learning outcomes
Get students involved in enhancing accessibility in the course by adopting accessibility best practices such as the six core skills as a part of the assessment criteria for assignments. For example:
- show students how to caption their own video assignments and award points on your rubric for handing in a captioned video
- appoint a class note taker for each class session, who then shares notes with the rest of the class (and assign extra credit points for this task)
- model best practices for use of images by including captions or alt text for all the static graphics and images in your documents
Contact an access consultant
Sometimes student needs are best addressed via accommodation rather than practice. If you would like to consult about specific access needs or about how to reduce barriers more broadly in your course, don’t hesitate to reach out to an access consultant in the DRC. Access consultants are here to support both instructors and students. Check out the other services that DRC can help you coordinate.