Creating Accessible Online Platforms

  • Design for students with visual impairment

Learn how to add alt text to Google Slides

    • Ensure any new documents are searchable. If the PDF is not searchable, include an alternative, plain text version of the document. Avoid using PDFs presented as images.  Contact Sara Bea to convert a PDF to an accessible format.
    • When possible, share PowerPoints or class materials ahead of time with students; some may be using assistive technology to access them during class.
  • Design for students with hearing impairments
    • Limit background noises in any video recording
    • Consider alternative assignment if showing a video that does not have captions
    • Contact Sara Bea if any lectures/videos need to be transcribed



  • Extended Time
    • The Sara Bea office will inform you of which students have extended time.Use the links below to learn step-by-step how to add extended time in either Sakai or Canvas
    • Extended time may not always allow the student to take the exam when the rest of the class is taking it. For example, if extended time will cause a student to be late for another class, we allow them to front-load their extra time. If the class you teach is sandwiched between two other classes, the student will need to take the exam earlier or later in the day to receive their accommodated time. Students will need to communicate with you a start time for the exam.
  • Design/Format
    • Consider the font and layout online; space out questions.
    • The Sara Bea office will communicate with you about any students that would require larger font
    • Some students use assistive technology that requires a digital copy of the exam. The Sara Bea office can work with you regarding these specific students.
  • Answering Questions during exams
    • Students with anxiety or other disabilities may struggle with not having access to a professor or TA during the exam to clarify questions. Consider using Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc. to be available during exams. Consider having a space within the exam for students to write assumptions or questions that may help them receive partial credit for an answer that they did not understand.
  • Exam Integrity
    • If there are concerns about exam integrity related to the use of accommodations please let us know so we can address your concerns.

Academic Adjustments

  • Academic Adjustments (extended deadlines, absences, etc.) that were in place prior to the switch to online classes are still in place. Students must still work with our office to request a deadline extension, absence, etc. We will communicate these with you in the same way as we have always done. Please contact Scott Howland with any additional questions or to consult on individual circumstances.

Alternative Text

  • Sara Bea Accessibility Services will continue to offer alternative text support to those students who require it. Our office will contact faculty if we need access to any PDFs or textbooks that have changed due to the transition to online classes.


In general, check in with a student that you know receives accommodations to ensure they have access to all course materials. The Sara Bea office can provide more specific resources for an individual need.