Technology Adoption Considerations
Equitable access to digital and print learning materials and technologies may vary greatly among our students and may impact student success. In order to promote an inclusive and equitable learning environment for our students, this technology adoption guide provides considerations and recommendations for content and technology choices for when faculty are designing their remote/distance learning courses.
Access to current and dedicated technology
Many students must share technology with spouses, siblings, and/or children if they even have access to the proper technology. Many students only have access to cell phones with limited minute plans.
Access to proper peripherals like webcams and microphones
Some students do not have access to core components for synchronous meetings like webcams and microphones. For the students that do, they may not have the technical competencies to properly configure or troubleshoot audio/video issues.
Many students depended on campus libraries for not only technology access, but also for internet access. With shelter-in-place rules in effect, students may not be able to take advantage of public hotspots. Those with in-home internet access may have reduced bandwidth due to increased usage within the home or across the network.
With shelter-in-place, most staff and organizations are working remotely with some reduced capacity. Technical Support from the institution or from the vendor may not be as comprehensive in this current situation.
Students taking multiple courses may be exposed to various learning technologies with limited training and support. Students may be facing core technology access and competency challenges in addition to mastering a new learning platform.
- Consider using standard learning tools across the degree program/department
- Consider providing advanced notice to students for any non-standard technology/platform use
- Consider the technical requirements for the technology being adopted
- Consider the Training Resources available online for students for the technology being adopted
- Consider the availability of Technical Support provided for the technology. Consider local resources available as well as vendor resources.
- Consider the Accessibility of the adopted technology/platform/content
- When uploading documents, make sure to include an accessible file.
- Scanned documents should be OCR-friendly (avoid images and handwritten notes)
- Consider audio/visual elements to support text-based assignments
- Video content must contain Closed Captioning
- Consider the ability to record content for review after synchronous lectures
- Consider Closed Captioning functionality for any recorded sessions
- Include transcriptions for recorded videos/lectures
- Consider Microsoft Teams for synchronous sessions
- Teams provides real-time captioning
- Teams provides real-time captioning
- Teams allows students to request transcripts of the meeting session
- Consider data privacy (FERPA/PII) for any adopted technology/platform
- Consider the student costs, if any, of any adopted technology/platform
- Consider providing multiple links/paths to key content for students unfamiliar with the learning environment
- Consider direct links to content/informational items within announcements or assignments
- Consider a student-facing statement regarding inclusion and equity (see Appendix for example)
Sample Accessible/Inclusive Learning Environment Statement
It is my goal that this class be an accessible and welcoming experience for all students, including those with disabilities that may impact learning in this class. If anyone believes the design of this course poses barriers to effectively participating and/or demonstrating learning in this course, please meet with me (with or without a Student Disability Services (SDS) accommodation letter) to discuss reasonable options or adjustments. During our discussion, I may suggest the possibility/necessity of your contacting AccessAbility Services (building, phone, email) to talk about academic accommodations. You are welcome to talk to me at any point in the semester about course design concerns, but it is always best if we can talk at least one week prior to the need for any modifications. I can be reached at (phone, email, calendar scheduling link)
I am committed to creating a course that is inclusive in its design. If you encounter barriers, please let me know immediately through Blackboard Email or during my virtual office hours (Monday/Wednesday 2pm - 4pm) so that we can determine if there is a design adjustment that can be made or if an accommodation might be needed to overcome the limitations of the design. I am always happy to consider creative solutions as long as they do not compromise the intent of the assessment or learning activity. You are also welcome to contact the AccessAbility Services office to begin this conversation or to establish accommodations for this or other courses. You can contact AccessAbility Services at (link email). Information regarding the accommodation process can be viewed at: (Link disability office). I welcome feedback that will assist me in improving the usability and experience for all students.