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How to run an accessible Zoom session Wendy Paulusz Guides and Tips

How to run an accessible Zoom session

Running a teaching session online using Zoom can be challenging.

In order to ensure that all participants have the opportunity to participate and engage with the subject, it is a good idea to make time to prepare beforehand so that the session is accessible to all.

The following good practice guidelines have been developed together with Kenneth Neven (LTLT) and students at La Trobe.

Prior to starting the session

  • Send a detailed meeting agenda to all participants so they can come better prepared by knowing what will be covered/discussed in the session. 
  • Provide slides and notes (in Word and PDF) ahead of time. Be mindful of heading and text hierarchy. This is especially helpful for international students, students who need time to process information.(For further help see: Making your Word documents more accessible)
  • Limit use of animations on slides (as this can have a negative impact on students with cognitive issues. See: Using animated and flashing content
  • Check for overuse of colours on slides. Some students may be colour blind;have visual perceptual problems, low vision etc (Using colour to convey meaning)
  • Familiarise yourself with the technology. Check the Audio and the different functionalities such as chat function, mute (when not speaking), video, break out rooms, share screen/slides.
  • Make sure you know how to use the record function as the host.
  • Be aware that Zoom does not provide Closed Captioning or Transcripts by default and will need to be organised/provided by a third party if required.

Once the meeting has started

  • Make sure everybody is on Zoom so they are fully online. It can be distracting if some people in the meeting are not on Zoom.
  • Be mindful of bandwidth – Zoom requires quite a lot. So, unless needed, ask students to mute video screens (and audio) when not speaking. This will help with bandwidth issues.
  • Check that everyone can hear you clearly before the session begins.
  • Welcome participants to the session and introduce yourself.
  • If practical ask participants to introduce themselves either via video, which the facilitator will need to organise who and in what order, or via text in the chat window.
  • When speaking always start with your name. Encourage participants to do this as well. This is especially important for those with a vision impairment or when people are listening to a recording later.
  • Repeat and clarify questions/answers/discussions to ensure that questions/answers will be heard by students at other locations and later on the recording.
  • Highlight the ‘chat’ function.How to use it by raising your hand so they can comment on what they are seeing/hearing. 
  • Introduce the ‘mute’ key. Tell students to mute when not speaking.
  • When recording make sure you state the date, day, time and place of the meeting.
  • When showing slides – describe what is on them (in case some students cannot see them.) Number slides and announce slide number (helpful for those listening to the recording later.)
  • Alert students to the following short cut keys:
      • Ctrl+Alt+Shift:Move focus to Zoom’s meeting controls;
      • Alt+V: Start/stop video;
      • Alt+ A : Mute/unmute audio;
      • Alt+M: Mute/unmute audio for everyone except host. (This is for the meeting host only.)
  • For further information see Hot Keys and Keyboard Shortcuts for Zoom 
  • Encourage students to let you know as soon as possible if they are having difficulties with the technology via the chat function/email/text.

La Trobe Resources and References

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