Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Tips for faculty

Remote participation may be necessary for some students

Students who are most vulnerable to complications from COVID may be provided with remote participation options as an academic accommodation, even though the class as a whole is meeting on-site. These scenarios will require collaboration and partnership between faculty and the AEDR team. Accommodation will not lower standards or fundamentally alter programs. Resolving accommodation concerns swiftly is important – and we are here for you.

It is critical that we foster environments and approaches that show concern for the well being of others. In addition to helping ensure resources and supports are available, we hope to encourage patience and empathy. We are presenting information in this document as a series of tips, with links out to more specific guidance.

Top Ten Tips

The guidance below is adapted from tips shared through the National Deaf Center. We have edited and added in PCC specific links and guidance.

No. 1: Do a Status Check

Use the faculty login to our PCC accommodation system to verify active student requests. Let all your students know they have the opportunity to connect with AEDR, if they have any new access needs or unexpected challenges that need consideration. What may have worked for students in person may not work online, and vice versa. Accessible Ed & Disability Resources is meeting with students remotely and on site, and welcomes referrals – please help make sure students know how to Get Started with AEDR.

No. 2: Remain Flexible, Because It Won’t Be ‘One Size Fits All’

Students vary in communication preferences, and accommodations change across settings and context. When classes move from in-person delivery to remote delivery, or from remote delivery back to in-person, expect changes in accommodations. Accommodations for synchronous (everyone online at the same time) versus asynchronous (at your own pace) style courses will also vary. Here are some ideas for accommodation and remote exams.

No. 3: Capitalize on Using Captions and Notes

Research shows video captions benefit everyone, including fluent English users, students with ADD/ADHD or learning disabilities, English as Second Language users, and more.

  • When there is a student with documented need for interpreters, transcribers, or captions, you will receive an email from Accessible Ed & Disability Resources, and can submit requests through the online accommodation system. See our guidance on communication access for remote meetings.
  • When there is a student with documented need for notes, you will receive an option to use one of several note taking choices that AEDR will help to coordinate to ensure access.
No. 4: Test Your Audio or Video Conferencing Platform

Google Hangouts and Zoom as well as other conferencing tools can be used for in-person classes as well! Many instructors have found that making class recordings available to all students in the course has helped with retention. See our tips for accessible remote meetings for face to face courses.

Be mindful that incorporating service providers such as remote American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters or remote speech-to-text professionals onto the platform means testing various view options and features to ensure interpreters or real-time captions are easily seen on screen, and that any other accommodations work properly.

Also consider:

If the view is not conducive within the platform, there may be other programs or equipment that can be considered for separately casting interpreters or captions. For example, using an iPad or tablet can enable someone to view interpreters or text in real time on a separate screen. Email access-tech-group@pcc.edu if this option is needed.

No. 5: Set A Few Ground Rules

Just a few class ground rules about communication will reap major benefits. Establish turn-taking and participation protocol, such as using the raise hand feature, the chatbox, or identifying your name before commenting. Ask students to only turn on their video to ask a question, since limiting the number of participants on screen at the same time can increase video quality and size. Same goes for sound: tell students to stay in mute mode until they have something to say, to reduce background noise.

No. 6: Take the High Road

High speed internet access and high quality hardware are critical for remote access. Everyone who is participating will need to evaluate their access to dedicated high-speed internet, quality webcams, and headsets/microphones. Some students and faculty may need to experiment a bit to find a good setup, so be flexible as everyone seeks out their best options for remote delivery of face to face courses.

Where possible, record live meetings and lectures in case there are issues with internet connections, technology, or accommodations.

No. 7: Learn More About Your Learning Management System

Communication access providers, note takers, aides, and other service providers may need access to course materials. Be ready to provide access to the course shell, course site, or drive folder, if requested by AEDR, so that service providers can be prepared to provide effective communication and support full engagement of students experiencing disability related barriers.

No. 8: Make the Most of Office Hours

Establish regular check-in meetings with students who are using accommodation to verify their access to, and comprehension of, online content. If new accommodations are necessary, reach out to work with the student and disability services.

No. 9: Reach Out For Help

We are happy to connect and collaborate. Our main technical assistance is designed to be easy to remember. Please check out our website for self-serve information and contact information and feel free to call our office lines, or our tech group. The tech group number is 971-PCC-TECH (971-722-8324) and email is access-tech-group@pcc.edu.

No. 10: Pay It Forward

Share these tips with your colleagues, administrators, and students. Let them know how you are planning to make your remote instruction accessible, and how they can too. Now is the time to come together as an educational community, support each other, and make sure everyone is involved in ensuring accessibility – no matter where the classroom is.