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#DeafEdTip: E-Learning Accessibility

Whether it be for inclement weather, water main breaks or to prevent the spread of infectious disease, more and more schoos are turning to E-learning days so that education can continue uninterrupted. Although this is not an exhausive list and additional accessibility considerations may need to be made based on individual needs, here are some general considerations for schools to keep in mind while planning for E-learning days in order to ensure equal access to content for students who are deaf and hard of hearing:

  • All materials used for E-learning should be available in print.
  • All visual media should have closed-captioning available. Please review material ahead of time and ensure that captions or subtitles have been created for the material. DO NOT rely on auto-generated speech-to-text as an appropriate substitute to provide equal access. www.dcmp.org has a collection of educationally relevant videos with captions that can be streamed. DCMP also has lesson plans to go with many of their videos.
  • Auditory information that is not already captioned can be made accessible by using CART, Typewell or C-Print services or by personally subtitling. 
  • Students who need material presented in American Sign Language may benefit from either having their assigned educational interpreter made available via video conference platform (Skype, Duo, Facetime, Zoom, etc.) or using Video Remote Interpreting. *note - VRI is not intended for all-day interpreting of instruction
  • If teachers will be using "live voice" and either recording themselves or will present live in an online format, students using assistive listening devices such as hearing aids, cochlear implants and bone anchored systems will need to have good quality auditory access as well as being able to see the speaker's face while talking. 
  • Students who have the accommodation of using Hearing Assistive Technology (HAT) such as Roger (DM), FM or Bluetooth systems should have access to these systems if there will be auditory information presented in E-learning activities as if they were in their brick-and-mortar classrooms.
  • If your school is one-to-one (meaning, each student is assigned their own laptop, Chromebook, iPad, tablet, etc.) and all students bring their devices home on a daily basis, students who are using HAT should bring their HAT systems home in preparation of E-learning. 
    • Ahead of E-learning days, students would benefit from a functional evaluation to assess any technology that will be used on E-learning days to determine auditory/visual access settings and needs. 
  • School teams are encouraged to document accommodations that will need to be implemented in the event of E-learning days in the students' IEPs, private school plans and 504 Plans.
Additional resources for #DeafEdTip: E-Learning Accessibility:

If you would like more information or resources on E-Learning Accessibility, please contact CDHHE@isdh.in.gov.

Written by Sarah Kiefer, Deaf Education Coordinator

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