Accessible Classroom

Creating an Accessible Classroom

  • Remember to respect the confidentiality of students requesting disability accommodations.
  • Accommodations are designed to ensure access. If accommodations are provided on time, faculty members can issues grades according to course standards.
  • We support faculty as well as students.  Please call us with your questions and concerns.

Make sure an inclusive statement on disability is included in your course syllabus.  We suggest the following:

Students with Disabilities:
It is the policy and practice of the University of Minnesota Duluth to create inclusive learning environments for all students, including students with disabilities. If there are aspects of this course that result in barriers to your inclusion or your ability to meet course requirements such as time limited exams, inaccessible web content, or the use of non-captioned videos, please notify the instructor as soon as possible. You are also encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Resources to discuss and arrange reasonable accommodations. Call 218-726-6130 or visit the Disability Resources web site at https://umd-general.umn.edu/disability-resources for more information.

Accessible Course Media

Technology offers endless learning opportunities, but keep in mind that everything must be accessible. Including captions on all course media – movies, YouTube videos, audio recordings – is beneficial not only to students with disabilities, but to a wide range of learners that can include:

  • English language learners
  • Students who learn visually 
  • Captions can also ensure access in environments where sound isn’t allowed and can help compensate for noisy backgrounds or poor audio quality.  
  • For more information about creating accessible course media, contact the UMD Multimedia Hub.

Recording Lectures as an Accommodation & FERPA Guidance

In some instances, access to recorded lectures may be a reasonable accommodation.

We understand that this may raise concerns related to FERPA and student privacy. The Office of Undergraduate Education has developed some FERPA guidance for these changing times. You may wish to view the guidance in its entirety.

FERPA is a broad law that covers all student education records. Everything in Canvas, the discussion board, assignments, and any communication to the student, is a part of a student’s education record and needs to be handled safely.

Guidance from the Office of Undergraduate Education specific to student privacy during recorded course events is below:

Alternative Teaching Formats & FERPA

  • Generally, you should not record classes using Zoom or similar tools if the recording captures students, unless it will only be shared within that class. (Students taking a class together are expected to be able to see each other.) Remember that names or internet IDs are typically listed as part of a person’s image on Zoom and would be visible in the recording, creating a risk of disclosing private student data if the recording is shared outside of the group taking the same class. Additionally, student photos are private information, posing the same risk if the recording is shared with people outside of the class.
    • The Zoom “Spotlight” feature allows you to record only the presenter.
    • Ideally, you should have consent to record students (or others) before recording them for any purpose. Minnesota state law requires giving notice (Tennessen warning) prior to making a recording of someone.
    • If recordings are necessary for a specific purpose such as turning in an assignment, remember that recordings of students become student education records under FERPA. Save them using a university approved method (more information below) and only share them with university school officials with a need to know the private student data.
    • If recordings are shared with a class, that must be done carefully. See additional information about communicating with students and using student data below.
    • Using Kaltura & Canvas to record lectures is a great option that does not involve recording students.

Template language to use for notice to students / consent:

This course will include video and audio recordings of class lectures and classroom activities. These recordings will be used for educational purposes and the instructor will make these available to students currently enrolled in [class title, number, section]. Students must seek instructor permission to share either course recordings or course content/materials. Similarly, instructors who wish to share Zoom recordings with other sections or classes must seek and document permission from students whose image or voice are in these recordings.

  • Because the settings options on Google Hangouts/Meet are more limited, we do not recommend recording these meetings.
  • Make sure you are using your university account with Zoom or Google Hangouts, and not a personal account you may have registered for with your personal email address.
  • Do not require your students to be identified on social media in order to participate in class or submit assignments (e.g., sharing a Tweet or a public FaceBook post).

Do not hold meetings with your students on other technologies such as FaceTime or Skype; rely on our university-approved options in order to ensure access for students and data privacy.

Disability Resources Responsibilities

Disability Resources is not responsible for:

  • Administering and proctoring online exams
  • Creating and administering online course material including course content, videos, Zoom or Kaltura
  • Determining if it might be appropriate to issue an ‘Incomplete’ for a course

Other University Resources: