Campus-supported technology has been reviewed for accessibility, but even these tools may not be accessible for all users, particularly those using assistive technology to access course content and materials. Review the accessibility of tools you plan to implement in your course and contact the Digital Accessibility Office for support. Check in with your students. Review the boxes at the bottom of this page for further resources.
Equitable access to the learning environment is another consideration, particularly during remote learning. Students may have unstable, unpredictable, or generally low levels of access to the internet; they may rely on data plans which may run low or run out before they have completed all their coursework; they may need to download course content to access at later times; they may lack access to physical devices like laptops, tablets, printers, webcams, or other equipment; and they may be unable to run certain apps or software on their devices.
Consider starting your course with an ungraded survey through Canvas or Google Forms (click to view sample form) to assess students' technology needs. Ask questions about their ability to access your course content, if their internet is reliable all day long or if they are sharing internet with others, where they are located, what technology is available to them or if they need campus support to access technology, how much time that they can commit to your course each day and what excites them about taking your course. You could also get feedback regarding what types of remote learning strategies that their previous teachers have implemented that work best for them, and if they have ideas about what types of activities that they would engage in asynchronously that would approximate class discussion if they have to miss class due to family duties or work.
Sharing the results of this survey with your class indicates that you are engaging with the information that they provided. Let students know what technology will be used in your course. Encourage your students to try the technology and let you know if they encounter problems. Address how you will be flexible in your course requirements in response to their feedback. Use this opportunity at the beginning of the semester to coach students on how to best learn the content in your course and manage their time in an online setting.