Virtual Meetings/Learning Events
The following guidelines were developed in collaboration with the North American Alliance for Communication Access.
- Ensure the online registration and website conforms to the latest version of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
- Provide an online learning platform, such as Zoom, or Go to Meetings, that provides a range of accessibility features that people who use AAC may require, such as options for typing, captioning, chat box and keyboard equivalents for functions such as mute / unmute, raise hand etc.
- Provide a web page that describes the accessibility features that will be provided at the virtual event with links to learn about the platform’s accessibility features. These should be plain language or video instructions.
- Provide guidelines for accessible virtual learning events and meetings for moderators, presenters, readers (people who read questions / comments in the chat box) and participants who use and do not use AAC.
- On the registration form, provide a link to the accessibility features web page where people can find out what is provided at the event and how to use them.
- On the registration form, ask registrants to identify any additional accommodations they need to present, moderate or participate at the event.
- Respond to unique accessibility requests that can be accommodated and explain why an accommodation may not be provided, such as lack of funding.
- Include a way for registrants to identify that they will using a support person to assist them with communication at the event and if applicable, waive the fee for the support person.
Before the Event
- Identify a moderator and a reader.
- Share a link to web page of guidelines for moderator, reader, presenter and participants.
- If possible, provides accessible handouts and slides ahead of time.
- Provide technical assistance if required to access the event.
- Provide an accessible feedback / evaluation tool.
In addition to the usual role of a moderator, we remind you to:
- Introduce the reader and explain that they will read typed questions or messages.
- Explain and show how participants can ask questions by either:
- Typing in the chat box. Please put ROL (Read Out Loud) after the message to be shared. The reader will read the message aloud at the appropriate time.
- Use the raised hand icon or keyboard equivalent to indicate you want to speak or communicate using a device. The reader or moderator will keep track and call on the participant at the appropriate time.
- Remind presenters to describe pertinent graphics, videos, and other visuals to the extent needed to understand the presentation.
- Ensure that all participants, especially those who use AAC are provided with sufficient time and opportunity to participate using their preferred communication method.
Online Chat Box Reader
As a Reader, we remind you to:
- Find out from moderator or presenter when they want you to read questions or comments from participants and who will keep track of raised hands.
- Read questions and comments marked ROL in the chat box and /or call on participants who have raised hands.
As a presenter of a session, we remind you to:
- Be mindful of people’s accessibility needs.
- Use inclusive and respectful language, such as people first language. For example: person with a disability, and person who uses AAC.
- Check that you have a good, stable high speed internet connection ahead of the session.
- Test out sound and screen sharing ahead of time with the organizer.
- Follow guidelines to make accessible slides and handouts as provided by organizer.
- Speak clearly and at a reasonable rate and volume to accommodate captioning / understanding / English as second language
- Verbally describe pictures, graphics and videos shown to the extent needed to understand the presentation.
- If possible, caption all videos.
- Explain any acronyms used in presentation.
- Arrange breaks if presentation is more than an hour.
- Allow the option to ask questions / contribute using the chat or question box as read by the reader or via raised hand.
- If using Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC):
- Inform the organizer of the event about additional accessibility requirements you may need.
- Determine how you want to communicate during the presentation and question /answer period such as communication device, having someone read a prepared presentation, having an audio recording of your presentation or using a communication assistant to answer questions.
- If using a communication device, consider:
- Programming the device ahead of time.
- Checking for clarity in terms of rate of communication and pronunciation.
- Ensure the device is fully charged.
- Accompanying speech out by showing text on slides, using a split screen or transcribed in a handout.
- Allowing sufficient time to receive questions from participants who use AAC and to answer their questions.
- Engaging a communication assistant if using a low-tech method to answer questions.
- Having someone control the slides, if required.
As a participant at a session, we remind you to:
- In the chat box, type ROL (Read OutLoud) after a message you want the reader to read aloud to the group at the appropriate time.
- Use the raise hand icon or keyboard equivalent to indicate that you to want to communicate something to the presenter and group at the appropriate time.