Instructor Responsibilities

  • Work closely with the student who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing to ensure all accommodations are provided.  
  • Team up with Student Disability Services to ensure all videos are appropriately captioned. Per UI Media Accessibility policy, the instructor is requested to refrain from showing or using any uncaptioned videos until it is accessible to all students in their course. 
  • Maintain strict confidentiality by not pointing out the service provider or student in the classroom unless permission is given by the student who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing. 
  • Provide support to the service providers by providing access to supplementary materials (i.e. ICON, syllabus, or names of required texts). 
  • Realize sign language interpreters and Speech-to-Text providers are professionals providing communication access for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing student but not a substitute for captions for videos or class notes. 
  • Address any concerns regarding service providers directly to Student Disability Services as soon as the concerns arise. 

Click here for more information about Deaf and Hard of Hearing accommodations 

Pedagogical Practices 

  • Allow the student the same anonymity as other students (i.e. avoid pointing out the student or the alternative arrangements to the rest of the class). 
  • During discussion sessions, if the class is split into groups it is often beneficial to allow the Deaf or Hard of Hearing student the option to have their group in the hallway or nearby classroom (if either is feasible) so the student can understand the conversation better.  It is recommended to check with the student in advance privately. For Zoom breakout room discussions, use the "main room" as a breakout room to ensure no gap in captioning services.  
  • In the case of exams or tests, it is best to have any spoken instructions also written on a board or written in the exam itself for clarity. 
  • Sharing your syllabus and a list of terms, acronyms, and names with a captionist can help with the accuracy of Speech-to-text services. 
  • When in doubt about how to assist the student, the instructor is encouraged to ask the student directly. The student is usually the expert in determining which communication access works best. 

Zoom and UICapture Resources

Media Accessibility for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students

Instructors who have students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in their classes need to consider the accessibility of the media they plan to use. These instructors will be notified in advance before the semester begins by the student sharing their Letter of Accommodation and then by Student Disability Services. Instructors who intend to use DVD, VHS, or web-based videos and/or podcasts in their course should be aware that they are responsible for offering captioned versions of course materials. Videos are accessible when they are captioned and podcasts are accessible when a written transcript accompanies the audio file. Please note that automatic captions on some platforms are not accurate and might need to be recaptioned. If a video is not captioned or a podcast does not have a transcript, instructors will need to arrange for an accessible version to be produced. Instructors should plan ahead by allowing up to two weeks for transcription and captioning services. Including captions is part of best teaching practices and guidelines for Universal Design for Learning. Inaccessible media must not be shown in class until accessible media is available for all students. 

Student Disability Services is available to assist instructors with locating captioned videos, adding captions to videos, and showing videos with captions in classrooms and online courses for classroom materials. Requests are encouraged to be sent as soon as possible by contacting our office or for students registered with SDS their Access Consultant. 

For questions regarding Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, please contact