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Accessibility: Accessible lectures and seminars

This guide aims to assist Library staff in providing material for students with additional needs

Accessible lectures

Lectures

The main strategies you can consider either on their own or in combination are:

Ensure key lecture content is available online before the lecture.

  • Ensure lecture/seminar slides/outlines are made available in electronic format in advance (e.g. at least 24 hours) to allow all students to prepare (particularly students with notetaking difficulties).
  • This enables learners to focus on understanding the concepts rather than writing notes and allows them to come prepared. For presentations, add notes to the notes field in PowerPoint to help clarify explanations and use animations to explain difficult concepts. Adding notes to PowerPoint slides adds much value to the presentation for everyone in the long run and also helps to meet the needs of visually impaired students who may not be able to see the visuals.

 

Use Panopto to record lectures

 

  • Use lecture capture to assist notetaking
  • Support students who need to record using their own devices 

Use a microphone

Where available, microphones help:

  • Reduce the amount of effort that students have to spend concentrating to hear (very important for students with hearing impairments and for those whose first language is not English)
  • Reduce the risk of loss of information or mishearing information.
  • Remove the need for students to ask teaching staff to wear a microphone.

Repeat any questions

During group discussions, or when responding to audience questions or remarks, repeat what the speaker has said clearly for all to hear. Acoustics in lecture rooms are often poor, and when a forward-facing audience member speaks, few behind them can hear anything. Even in a smaller space, if you are hard of hearing it can be difficult to ascertain exactly who is speaking at any given time, and therefore who to focus on. If the teacher becomes a central conduit for all comments, the student can retain focus.

Accessible seminars

Seminars

Owing to the free flowing nature of seminars it is much more difficult to anticipate the content that will be covered or the directions the seminar will go in. Nonetheless, the following recommendations are offered.

  • Ensure the details are available on Moodle in advance. This should include content details (for example topics, key questions, links to resources).
  • Wherever possible ask those contributing papers or presentations to:
    • adhere to basic good practice guidelines for accessible documents and presentations.
    • make them available electronically to participants in advance.
  • Using webinar/videolink tools can enable people with mobility impairments or health/stamina issues to take part.
  • Although recording of lectures by disabled students for personal use is widely accepted as a reasonable adjustment there are still legal and ethical issues that all parties need to be aware of. The issues around recording seminars are more complex because discussions may involve sensitive topics, involving a number of people and therefore more permissions will need to be obtained.
  • Consider using social media tools (for example a dedicated FaceBook,Brightspace forum or a Twitter hashtag) to allow question asking / answering by people with communication difficulties or social anxiety.