The Student Disability Center and the Assistive Technology Resource Center offer the following recommendations to faculty as you redesign your face-to-face courses for hybrid or online delivery. The focus is on accessibility, as well as accommodation for individual needs.

Building in accessibility at the start will enable all students to participate in your course on an equitable level (inclusive pedagogy), while certain accommodations will mitigate the effects of a student’s particular disability.

Accommodations Process

Students first identify with the Student Disability Center to receive accommodations. If necessary, the SDC refers students to the ATRC for assistive technology accommodations. If a student receives AT accommodations, electronic accessibility is also required to ensure that students can access content with their AT.

Instructors will receive accommodations letters as usual. Accommodations apply to all modes of learning – in person, online and hybrid courses. Student needs may be different depending on the mode of a course.

Student Accommodation Eligibility During COVID-19

Spring 2021 Accommodations & FAQs (SDC Website)

As always, consult the Faculty Accommodation Guidebook for further information, tips, and guidance for providing accommodations at CSU this fall 2020 semester.

Online Course Delivery

Universal Design

  • Include a statement in your syllabus that students may contact you if they have difficulty accessing course materials using their accommodations.
  • Design for asynchronous delivery.
    • Students may be accessing your course from different time zones, while students with disabilities may need to work around the effects of their disability.
  • Record your lectures and have them available for a longer period of time (more than two weeks)
    • Increased access to lectures for all students gives them the opportunity to review points they may have missed when first presented. It also allows students to use other accommodations, such as sign language interpreters, more effectively.
  • Avoid posting one long lecture. Break lectures into chunks and keep videos to under 10 minutes.
  • Deliver Lectures
    • If using PowerPoint, use Slide Layouts for screen reader-friendly slides.
    • Don’t use gold as a text color or text background.
    • Post your slides in addition to your video. Use the Microsoft Converter to save as a PDF.
    • When speaking, describe what’s on the screen rather than general statements such as “see this.”


  • If you have a student with closed captioning or ASL interpreters as an accommodation, asynchronous delivery is necessary to ensure all students access the materials at the same time.
  • Any live streaming events should be captioned.
  • Be aware that no video conferencing software is fully accessible. Students who use assistive technology may encounter barriers that we do not anticipate. Communication with the SDC and ATRC is critical to resolving these issues.

Testing & Exams

Universal Design

  • Use Canvas quizzes or exams and randomize the question pool instead of using proctoring software.
  • Avoid using the drag & drop question type in Canvas.


  • Will I be able to send students needing an alternative testing accommodation to the Student Disability Center?
    • Because of physical distancing protocols, SDC will have limited space to serve alternative test taker this fall.
    • Students with disabilities, who need readers or scribes, or who need access to assistive technologies in the SDC for test taking will be prioritized to use the SDC for tests
    • Departments are responsible for identifying space and assurances to protect academic integrity for all other students with alternative testing needs (e.g., those needing additional time)
  • Can I use proctoring software for students with testing accommodations?
    • If you are using Respondus, students who use assistive technology will need alternative testing through the SDC, as the software has limited accessibility.
  • What should I do if my student has an alternative testing accommodation but is unable to use the SDC because of restrictions?
    • Contact your department administrator to arrange for alternative testing accommodations within your department
  • How do I give students extra time in Canvas?
    • Many students with disabilities simply need extra time for exams due to the effects of their disability. It’s easy to provide extra time for exams in Canvas.

Electronic Content

Universal Design

These very quick steps can help all learners more easily access your content and reduce the need for them to seek specific accommodations

  • Upload clean, clear PDF content
  • Text Recognition for PDFs (just a couple of clicks)
    • Allows students to: use text to speech to listen, search for key terms, copy and paste
  • Provide your PPT’s ahead of time (allows taking notes with technology directly on PPT slides)

If you have other content types like Word, PPT, or web content you may be interested in the easy steps you can take to align with universal design principles. In the Steps to Inclusive Content you can start with the section title “Level 1: Emerging” to begin to align all your content with universal design principals going forward.


Applying universal design principles may not make your materials fully accessible, although it reduces the need for accommodations. If you have students with a specific accommodation for their course materials, you can learn how to remediate your materials through the Accessibility by Design website.

The Student Disability Center and the Assistive Technology Resource Center will provide support for more specific accommodation needs.

Video Captioning

Universal Design

Turn on Auto-Captions for live sessions. We recommend using Teams for delivering video conference or lecture content when using live streaming. The Accessibility by Design website gives step by step instructions for auto-captions for the following tools:

  • Microsoft Teams
  • YouTube
  • Note: Zoom does not have auto-captioning. A 3rd party tool can be purchased to use with the licensed version of Zoom.

When sharing recorded videos in Canvas, use a tool that will automatically caption any uploaded videos:

  • Echo360
  • Kaltura
  • Microsoft Stream


If a student requires captioning as an accommodation, all videos will need to be captioned and edited for accuracy. The video content is then delivered to the student at the same time as all the other students.

If live content is needed, live transcription services may be needed.

The Student Disability Center will coordinate the need for captioning and live transcriptions for student accommodations.

Resources & Support