Creating accessible lectures/tutorials
Guidance for anyone lecturing or giving presentations with quick, practical advice and tips to make these as accessible as possible.
Most guidance on accessibility is the same for online or on campus lectures. Where there is different guidance for a specific format we have separated this below.
Good practice for online and on campus lectures
Create accessible PowerPoints.
- Try and limit background noise as much as possible.
- Ensure all audio/visual material has captions that have been human corrected
- Use the microphone. The University requires that all lecturers do this.
- To assist those individuals who are lip-reading it is important to face the audience and try not to have your back to a window (the light will make it difficult for people who are lip-reading).
- It may be helpful to provide an overview at the beginning and summary at the end.
- Try and pause to summarise at regular intervals and to allow attendees to ask questions.
- Repeat all questions or comments raised in case other attendees did not hear what was being asked.
- Give two methods by which people can contact you e.g. email and phone number
- Encourage people to contact you if they have accessibility issues. You should not be inundated with suggestions but some people may have a couple of suggestions which would be cheap and simple to achieve and would make the lectures/talks more accessible for them.
- It is University policy that lecture outlines or PowerPoint presentation slides for lectures and seminars must be made available at least 24 hours in advance of the class. This applies to all students not just disabled students.
- It is University policy that key words and formulae are to be provided to students at least 24 hours before the class.
- A small number of people may require handouts in alternative formats e.g. large print. If they are a student, this will have been recorded in their student learning profile created by the Student Disability Service. This will have been passed to the School’s Coordinator of Adjustments, who will have informed the course administer who should have informed you. If you are speaking to non-students then it is good practice to ask in advance if anyone wishes the handouts in alternative formats. Creating alternative formats is quick and easy and Information Services has produced guidance to help you do this:
Specific to On Campus Lectures
- To assist individuals with hearing impairments make sure the hearing induction loop is switched on. (Hearing loops should always be left switched on, but sometimes get switched off by mistake. There should be a unit under the desk labelled hearing loop which is switched on at the wall). Make sure you use the microphone.
- Be familiar with the lighting in the room and ensure there is always sufficient light to take notes.
- When cancelling lectures or making room changes it is good practice to give this information in two or more ways e.g. wiki, email, notice on the door etc.
- Ensure audio/visual clips are audible and can be clearly seen from the back of the room.
- We realise, at present, staff may be wearing masks. Therefore, we recommend you use a clear mask to enable lip-reading.
- Some attendees may have helpers with them who will be able to provide spoken commentary to an individual where required. This should not disrupt the other attendees.
Have your camera on so that individuals can lip read you.
- Use a microphone headset rather than relying on your computer's inbuilt microphone, and ensure the microphone does not obscure your mouth
- Allow students to ask questions in the chat function as well as verbally
- Ask those not speaking to mute their microphones
- make sure students are aware the session is being recorded
Lecture Recording Policy and Service
Although lectures were traditionally on campus before the pandemic, the University had instigated a Lecture Recording Policy and Service.
This has meant that many lectures are now recorded and accessed safely and securely via the various VLEs used across the University. As well as advantages for many students, this has also been advantageous for some disabled students, enabling them to access online lectures where they may not have been able to attend in person, or to return and review lectures as they wish. Although recorded lectures can improve accessibility, it is important that good accessibility practice is followed, or online lectures can be just as inaccessible as on campus lectures for some disabled students.
There is a lot of helpful information on the Virtual classroom website including a link to the Virtual Classroom Policy and information on Collaborate and Zoom
For further information on any of the above or to request this page in an alternative format please contact the Disability Information Officer.
BSL users can contact me via Contact Scotland BSL, the on-line British Sign Language interpreting service. Find out more on the Contact Scotland BSL website.
For information on recording lectures or student learning profiles please contact the Disability and Inclusive Learning Service.
- The University of Edinburgh
- Work: 0131 650 6828
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Web: Disability and Inclusive Learning Service
Disability and Inclusive Learning Service
University of Edinburgh
Health & Wellbeing Centre
7 Bristo Square
- Post Code
- EH8 9AL