Tips for accessible online teaching with a view to students in special circumstances

These tips were compiled by the representative for the interests of students with disabilities or chronic illnesses. They are especially addressed to the following target groups:

  • Students with chronic diseases and disabilities,
  • Students with children and relatives in need of care,
  • International students.

Since online teaching also involves challenges for these target groups, here are some feasible organisational and technical tips:

Digital formats

  • Pay attention to very good sound and image quality and an undisturbed background for lecture recordings (important for students with hearing or visual impairments, international students, with little knowledge of the language).
  • In addition to recorded courses, provide written elaborations ((trans)scripts, lecture notes, written "blackboard" or similar) in Stud.IP or via e-mail. Many students depend on this, as they cannot listen and take notes at the same time: Students with visual or hearing impairments, mobility restrictions (especially with regard to (co-)writing), students with other impairments that can cause delays (e.g. due to medication, ADHD, psychological impairments), international students, students with children.
  • Leave online offers (recorded lectures and the scripts/notes mentioned) available online at least until the examination and review.
  • Check whether a planned live format for a course can be replaced by an asynchronous format. This can be helpful for students in stressful situations who are unable to participate in live formats, or who are only able to do so on an irregular basis (childcare at home, care for relatives, regular doctor's appointments, etc.) or who do not always have a stable Internet connection.

Documents

  • Write out written work with as few barriers as possible. Complete accessibility of documents is not always possible - however, the following means can make it easier for visually impaired students to read and, if necessary, enlarge documents:
    • High-contrast documents: White background and black font are optimal. Light colours should be avoided, as well as combinations of red-green, red-orange, blue-green, etc.
    • Clearly arranged elaborations, so that the overview can be kept even when enlarged on the screen.
    • Use document templates in Word and mark chapter headings as such to ensure that they can be read by the speech output.

Individual measures

  • Offer alternative means of participation (e.g. recording these sessions) and service delivery for courses with web conferences and other attendance formats for:
    • Students with children and relatives in need of care who cannot attend the course at this time due to lack of care facilities
    • Students with disabilities or chronic illnesses who, for understandable reasons, cannot attend regularly
  • Be open to questions and concerns of students from the above-mentioned groups, as individual challenges of particular students may still arise.

Nora Hartwig, Carolin Wegner (Stv.)
Representatives for students with disabilities or chronic diseases

Status: 30.04.2020