Web Conferencing

Accessible synchronous online learning and collaboration tools can make learning easier and more accessible to individuals with disabilities. They reduce the need to travel to campus and allow students to use their personal computers equipped with assistive technology hardware are software they need.

 

Accessibility Considerations for Online Synchronous Learning

 

  • Always select an accessible tool.
  • Provide a telephone-based teleconferencing connection.
  • If you have a student who is deaf or hard of hearing in your class provide live captioning.
  • If the class session is recorded, send the recording to the ATI for captioning and transcription.
  • If you have a student with a visual impairment, ensure that all documents shared on during the session are available to the student in accessible format prior to the class session.

 

University Supported Web Conferencing Tools

 

The ATI urges faculty and staff to select tools that are supported by Mason. University supported resources have been reviewed for accessibility and provide features to increase the likelihood that they will work with assistive technology. See below:

Webex Meetings

Webex Meetings* is a web conferencing tool that may be used for meetings and collaboration Webex Meetings allows you to meet face-to-face using video conferencing; share your desktop, documents, or individual applications with everyone in class.  It also provides an accessible platform for students with disabilities.

Webex Teams

Webex Teams* provides work spaces where everyone can contribute anytime, from any device, with messaging, file sharing, screen sharing, white boarding,  and video meetings.

 

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra* is an interactive web conferencing and virtual classroom environment designed for teaching and learning and real-time collaboration. It is available in all myMason Organizations and Blackboard Courses. Instructors can use Collaborate to set up virtual conferencing for their classes while students can participate in chat and discussion sessions from anywhere. It also provides an accessible platform for students with disabilities

 

Microsoft Skype for Business Online

Microsoft Skype for Business Online* connects people anytime and from virtually anywhere by delivering collaboration capabilities; it gives users access to instant messaging, ad hoc device to device audio and video calling, online meetings, and web conferencing capabilities.

 

Zoom Meetings & Chat

Zoom* provides enterprise video conferencing with real-time messaging and content sharing. It is one of the most accessible video conferencing platforms for individuals with disabilities, especially those using screen reading applications.

 

Live Captioning Solutions

 

As more and more Mason courses and events move online due to COVID-19, the ATI strongly encourages academic and non-academic organizations in the Mason community to think about being accessible and inclusive. Whenever possible, synchronous courses and/or virtual events should include the use of live captions. Providing live captioning for your course/event does the following:

  • Provides access to individuals with hearing loss and/or cognitive challenges.
  • Improves comprehension for non-native English speakers
  • Allow those in noisy environments to remain engaged in the event

Have questions? We have addressed some of the more common questions about providing live captioning below:

 

Additional Accessible Web Conferencing Tools

 

Below, we have listed additional web conferencing and collaboration tools that have accessibility features built-in:

PLEASE NOTE: These applications have not been reviewed for accessibility through the ASRB Process* and are not fully supported by Mason.