Accessibility and Inclusion Requirements and Guidance for Online and In-Person Education Sessions


Accessibility and Inclusion Requirements & Guidance for Online & In-Person Education Sessions

SAA Responsibilities

  • Offer participants a way to request accommodations in advance (ASL interpreter, captioner, etc.). Any accommodations should come at no cost to the participant.
  • Collaborate with participants, venues, and instructors to troubleshoot all accessibility challenges.
  • Anticipate how participants can sign in at an in-person workshop if they are not able to see the sign-in sheet.
  • Ensure that the course portal is accessible.
  • Ensure that the course quiz, if applicable, is accessible.
  • Ensure that at least one or more microphones will be provided.
  • Ensure that name tags for instructor and participants will be provided.
  • Caption webinars.
  • Enable the participants to view the speaker for speech reading while seeing the slides.

Course Creator Responsibilities


  • Provide course content in advance. Files should be compatible with assistive technology (no scans as images).
  • Utilize built-in accessibility checkers when available, such as in Microsoft 365 apps and Adobe Acrobat.
  • Use a sans serif font.
  • Minimum of 12-point for documents and 18-point for slide decks shown in large halls.
  • Emphasize text through font styles (e.g., normal text, titles, subtitles, headings) rather than different fonts, colors, or other effects.
  • Provide alt-text and verbally describe images that provide non-decorative meaningful information.
  • Create informative slides so that the Deaf or Hard of Hearing would receive equivalent information.
  • Avoid low contrast color combinations and the red-green combination for people with the most common type of colorblindness.


Venue/Host Responsibilities


  • Accessible parking with wheelchair ramps at the parking lot and building entrance.
  • An automatic door at the building entrance
  • How will all other relevant doors (for classroom/bathroom) be accessible?
  • Provide a map of the parking, building, and floor with written instructions in a Word document (not scanned as an image) to SAA in advance
  • Accessible seating for anyone who may need it
  • A bathroom with accessible toilet and sink
  • Doorways and aisles in the classroom that are wide enough for wheelchair navigation.
  • Accomodation for service animals. (Be aware of policies concerning support animals at individual institutions)
  • Tech support should ensure that all equipment is in working order beforehand and/or be on call during the event.


  • Braille signage throughout the building
  • The room should be accessible via an elevator/ramp
  • Accessible restroom available near the classroom
  • A barrier-free space at the front of the room with clear sight lines to the instructor and other participants for speech reading
  • If necessary, space to comfortably use a personal laptop, or a computer that has standard assistive technology installed
  • At least two microphones available--one for the instructor(s) and another for the audience

Instructor Responsibilities


  • Use a microphone at all times.
  • If a participant is speaking and the venue does not have an additional microphone, either pass the mic or repeat/summarize through your microphone.
  • Face the audience and stay visible when speaking to allow for speech reading.
  • Panelists or members of a group presentation should identify themselves each time before speaking (names are fine after introductions).
  • Allow service animals, but do not interact with or touch them without first obtaining permission (same goes for touching a wheelchair or cane).
  • Avoid presenting in front of a bright window/bright light source for backlighting.
  • Plan frequent breaks.
  • Spell out abbreviations instead of assuming that all course participants know the abbreviation.
  • Avoid ableist language (i.e., “that’s crazy”).
  • Treat each class participant as an individual. Do not single out a person of color, or certain ability or affinity as a sole representative of that group.


  • Consider learning styles: Teaching a neurodiverse audience requires some changes in presentation files, exercises, and flexibility in requiring video (for virtual education sessions).

The following recommendations are compiled from the Columbia SPS Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Guide which may be useful for SAA Instructors:

  • Use people-first language (i.e., "has" vs. "is")
  • Become culturally competent: seek direct collaboration and communication without tokenization
  • Ask before calling out a course participant's identity: ask for preferred pronouns and any other preferred forms of identity.
    • Consider the term "self-identified" to clarify that a person chooses to identify this way.
  • Consider peer review of content for different perspectives and requesting recommendations based on a colleague's knowledge, especially about particular communities. Before requesting peer review, conduct research and request input on specific questions. Credit colleagues for their input.