Online meetings are a great way to collaborate. While any meeting will benefit from good meeting etiquette, online meetings require even greater attention to appropriate preparation and conduct to be successful.
When setting up online meetings, it is important to be clear with what is expected.
On any given day, in any given online meeting, people with different abilities may be in the virtual room. By making every meeting digitally accessible, you can make sure that everyone can participate and collaborate with one another.
Use an online meeting platform with accessibility features
Use Zoom for meetings of any size, especially if the audience includes people who need live captioning.
Use Google Meet for smaller, informal meetings. The Google Meet app includes automatic transcription capabilities in the apps for Android and iOS, and on macOS and Windows.
Don't rely on auto-transcription for accommodations for people with disabilities. Auto-transcription does help with accessibility. See: accessibility vs accommodation.
Include all pertinent information in the meeting invitation
Include the following in your meeting invitation:
- Meeting link
- A link to an agenda and expected outcomes
- Ask if any accessibility accommodations are needed; ask participants to give two week's notice so you can prepare
- Provide well-designed, accessible materials: These can make sure everyone is ready to discuss meeting topics, allow people with blindness or low vision get familiar with any visuals that might be used, and introduce ahead of time any terminology or jargon that might be used to American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters or live captioners.
Don't think you can figure out these items quickly, five minutes before the meeting starts.
Be prepared to provide accommodations for your meetings
Ask your attendees for two weeks' notice if they need an accommodation. If you have someone designated to take notes, you can enable closed captions, which allows your notetaker to transcribe what’s being said in real time.
Zoom offers automatic live transcription. However, live transcription will only show words that are spoken and not other audio details. Be prepared to describe what is happening in the audio so the live transcript can show it on screen. See: Zoom: Manage Automatic Live Transcription.
For Teaching and Learning
Do enable Zoom autocaption and request a captionist for students who have accommodation letters. If students who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have an auditory processing disorder have an accommodation letter from their system campus' Disability Resource Center (DRC), they are eligible for accommodations beyond automatic transcription. When an instructor receives such an accommodation letter from a student, or when notified by the DRC, the instructor should be aware that the DRC will arrange for a live captionist to attend scheduled Zoom session(s). It is the instructor's responsibility to coordinate necessary access to Zoom with their campus' DRC.
Don't think you can squeak by without considering the needs of your audience.
Assign an "accessibility advocate" for the meeting
Give someone in the meeting the job to:
- Remind participants to announce their names before speaking
- Monitor (and read aloud, if needed) the chat, if used
- Monitor the live transcriptions, if used, to correct errors (NOTE will this be possible in Zoom's live transcript feature??)
As a presenter, during the meeting
- Describe and explain any visuals not provided ahead of time
- Describe and explain any processes that are occurring on screen (simulations, demonstrations) if necessary
- Provide for accessible alternatives for collaboration if needed (e.g., voting, hand-raising)
- If using graphics or slides, be sure that they are designed properly and are accessible
- Facilitate to make sure all are included and heard
Run online meetings without preparation.
Edit meeting recordings and captions/transcripts
For any meeting recordings that are shared with others:
- Before sharing the recording, remove portions of the recording from before the meeting started, and after the meeting has ended. This way, for example, reviewing the recording will not need to fast forward to find the start of the meeting.
- Review and edit the transcript so words match the audio.
Share unedited recordings with poor/inaccurate transcripts.