Accommodations and Accessibility in Remote/Online Teaching

Learn more about registering with accessibility services, facts and figures, and considerations for online and remote learning.

About Accessibility Services

Accessibility Services is a group of professsionals (adaptive technologists, accessibility advisors, AODA officers) who aim to provide accessibility services for all at University of Toronto. Their role involves verifying disability on behalf of the university and determining the appropriate accomodations, organize services and support, and collaborating with students, faculty, and staff.

Review the Session's Slidedeck

Webinar Agenda

  1. Registering with Accessibility Services
  2. Facts and Figures
  3. Considerations for Accessibility in Online Learning
  4. Making Your Online Course Accessible
  5. More Resources

Registering with Accessibility Services 

3-Step Process

  1. Student completes Online Student Questionnaire
  2. Student obtains medical documentation speaking to their disability or health concern
  3. Student attends intake appointment (virtually) with Academic Advisor

There may be long waits, so students are recommended to register as early as possible.

Facts and Figures

CTSI works with students from all faculties and disciplines. Out of the 4946 students, 3509 are undergraduates, and 1437 are graduate professions, second entry, or research team. We work with a variety of accomodations, from mental health to learning disabilities or chronic health impairments.

Considerations for Accessibility in Online Learning

While all students experience increased isolation, uncertainty, and decline in mental health, these afflications are magnified for students with disabilities. With everything online, students with disabilities have reported:

  • Increased difficulty focusing
  • Inadequate access to accommodations or accessible materials
  • Difficulty communicating and building supportive relationships online
  • Changes in uses of technology

Navigation with online systems is difficult. The technology learning curve can be steep, and without face-to-face contact, students may desire "systempathy." Other problems include:

  • Increased distractions - including chat functions
  • Difficulty with screen readers
  • Difficulty for students with low vision or hard of hearing
  • Increased screen time more challenging for students with pre-existing conditions (e.g., acquired brian injury)

Making Your Online Course Accessible

Making Your Online Course Content Accessible is a good resource for instructors by the CTSI.

Key Concepts:

  • Give consideration to the formatting and structure of your documents and slide decks
    • Use proper layout of contents to support students who use assistive technology
    • Create alternate text for all imagges, graphics, and tables/charts
    • Choose colours with high contrast and simple fonts (you can use Microsoft's Accessibility Checker)
  • Provide captions for your video recordings
    • Transcripts are also a good alternative
    • You can use MS Stream or Youtube to auto-generate captions and edit as needed
  • Keep your webinars simple and provide easy ways for students to interact
    • Ahead of the session, invite participants to make you aware of any requirements that will help them participate, where possible

More Resources

The CTSI team has compiled a list of resources for both students and instructors in regard to online learning.



Article Category: General Information