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Digital Inclusion Checklist

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Stanford University has a legal obligation to ensure that its facilities and programs are accessible to individuals with disabilities.

In light of the recent transition to online learning, including classes, seminars, workshops and meetings for students, staff, faculty and members of the broader Stanford community, it is essential to make these activities as accessible and inclusive as possible. Stanford's Online Accessibility Policy requires all digital sites and tools to meet the accessibility standard of WCAG 2.0 AA. In cases where an accessible site/tool is insufficient, accommodation bridges the gap. Common accommodations for online learning may include captioning, sign language interpreters, material in an alternate format, such as Braille, large print, etc. Other accommodations may include flexible attendance, extended time, etc. 

Note that matriculated students requiring academic accommodations for courses should contact the Office of Accessible Education. In addition, the Diversity & Access Office coordinates disability-related accommodations for student non-academic accommodations and staff, faculty and members of the public as needed.

Below are some reminders/tools to consider when hosting online activities. 

Step 1: Advertising for an Accessible and Inclusive Event/Activity

  • Notify participants on how to request accommodations. Please ensure that any notifications about your course, event meeting and/or course include a statement about requesting disability-related accommodations.
  • Advertising for the event can include attachments and PDFs, but ensure that all pertinent information (date, time, location, etc.) is included in the body of an email. If there are images included, provide a description of the image.
  • Not all social media platforms are accessible. Provide a link to your event page, where you have control over the accessibility of that page.
  • If/when requests for accommodations are received, coordinate accommodations with the Diversity & Access Office or OAE as needed.
  • Complete the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Request Form to schedule captioning and/or sign language interpreters upon request or as needed.

Step 2: Preparing for an Accessible and Inclusive Event/Activity

  • Share presentations and/or any additional supplemental material ahead of time if possible.
  • If your event will include videos, ensure videos have closed captions before the event. Read more information about captioning videos.
  • Ensure online content is in an accessible format. In addition to PDF files, provide the source file (e.g., docs or pptx). If necessary, you may use automated tools, such as SCRIBE, to convert your file into more accessible formats, but always check the converted file to verify the results.
  • Confirm that all the functions you intend to use in your tools are accessible. Test polling, chatting, reactions, word clouds, etc., for color contrast, keyboard and screen reader access.
  • Record Zoom sessions whenever possible so that the video, audio, and chat text are recorded in the Zoom Cloud. The recording files can be downloaded to a computer or streamed from a browser. While an automated transcript will be provided as part of the recording, an edited transcript may be necessary upon request.
  • Enable auto-captions as a universal design best practice so that captions are viewable by individual participants as needed. 
  • If captioning has been requested as a disability-related accommodation, hire a professional captioner rather than using auto-captions or assigning the role to someone participating in the meeting to ensure accuracy. Contact the D&AO or OAE needed. The OAE coordinates academic accommodations, and the D&AO coordinates most public accommodation requests, but event hosts should contact them directly to discuss further.

Step 3: Hosting an Accessible and Inclusive Event/Activity

  • Enable auto-captions or if requested, enable and assign a manual captioner before the start of the meeting.
  • Encourage folks to look at their name in the participant list and change it to their first and last name (include preferred pronouns) if it defaulted to something else.
  • Set expectations of how the meeting or event will be conducted, such as bringing chat conversations to the main meeting or if resources will be distributed after the event.
  • When URLs or other resources are mentioned, have someone designated to type them into the chat window – or follow up with participants after the meeting – to help folks find those resources.
  • Allow participants to ask questions either verbally, with or without using the hand-raising function or by typing in the chat. If you are hosting a webinar that limits ad-hoc audience participation, provide an accessible method for everyone to submit questions, i.e., as part of registration.
  • Have someone manage the chat and another person lead the meeting when possible. Depending on the size of the meeting, it can be challenging to do both. The host can export the chat as a document if the meeting has been recorded.
  • Remember to describe images and/or visual content, such as slides, activities, etc. This is helpful for blind folks and folks who have called into the meeting.
  • Ask everyone to mute their microphone when they aren't speaking to limit background noise.
  • Use a headset to minimize background noise.
  • For essential activities, such as assignments or participation points, offer alternatives for those who encounter technical challenges.
  • Follow-up with an email or webpage with meeting resources and recordings.

Campus Resources

  • Office of Accessible Education (OAE) – Provides support to matriculated students with disabilities (graduate and undergraduate).
  • Diversity & Access Office – Provides disability-related support and accommodation assistance to staff, faculty and members of the public.
  • Office of Digital Accessibility – Provides resources for Stanford web designers, developers and content creators to produce materials that are accessible to the broadest audience possible.

Additional Resources/Links for Inclusive and Accessible Teaching