ADA Accessibility, Students, Course Planning

I hope everyone was able to take a break before diving back into planning for fall courses.  As we approach the start of the semester we’d like to share some information and hints that you may find useful.

ADA accessibility for online courses and course components

All courses that are online or have an online component (so all courses) need to take concrete steps to make their courses ADA accessible for anyone, not just students identified through SDS.  Many of the steps will add value for other students as well (e.g. international students needing a bit of help understanding lectures, students who have trouble reading your handwriting, students who find that organized headings help them organize the material…).  Examples of such steps include:

  • Caption posted videos.  This can be done automatically if the correct settings are engaged.  They do not need to be live captioned. 
  • Make documents that are posted online accessible via a screen reader.   Instructions vary by the kind of document.
  • If you post your lecture notes online, also post the lecture recording and refer those in need of an accessible version of the notes to the recorded lecture.
  • If you post hand-written solutions, have a TA (or yourself) record working through the solution and point those needing an accessible version of the solutions to the recording.
  • Post all course materials on your Canvas website rather than publically accessible websites.

Detailed implementation instructions are on the MTEI website at  Additional information is available through CTI,

Your Students

The class schedule is still being developed and pre-enroll won’t happen until late August.  This will put your students and advisees under a lot of stress due to how late they will be pre-enrolling.   Please consider reaching out proactively to your advisees to express your concern for them and offer some office hours during pre-enrollment. 

Expectations for Fall Classes

We are no longer in an emergency situation like last spring when classes abruptly needed to move online. Though Covid-19 and uncertainty continues to be an issue, faculty have the opportunity to rethink the structure and pedagogy for their class depending on the modality they have chosen: online, hybrid, or in-person with some remote students.   This is an opportunity and challenge to update content and teaching to maintain Cornell’s standard of high quality teaching.  Students will benefit from well thought out plans that are clearly communicated.  Pay special attention to student engagement and interaction with both the teaching team and other students.  Both MTEI and CTI are have information on their websites that may be useful and are available to discuss teaching plans and approaches. especially links to

     Faculty Teaching Resources,

     ADA accessibility directions,

     Tips for Teaching, and

     Information for Teaching Remotely – CTI’s teaching resources – CTI programs

Classroom technology

CIT is offering an opportunity for faculty to test out and to get some hands-on experience with typical classroom technology that will be deployed this semester. 

From CIT:

To book an appointment please use the link below (requires a NetID login).  To participate you must be on the essential staff list and wear a face covering when in the building.

Once an appointment is scheduled, you may park in the lot at 120 Maple.  After arrival please call 607-255-5389.  A staff member will then greet you and escort you to the show room.  There is also directional signage for "Classroom Technologies" with the above phone number listed.

Technology available for hands on demonstration includes:

1. A Mini camera tripod for either USB camera or iPhone/Android.

  • When used with a webcam the camera connects to a laptop via USB.
  • When used with an iPhone or Android, the phone joins the Zoom session using the iOS or Android application.  An advantage here is that a second video screen is provided to the students in addition to the laptop camera.
  • The camera or phone can be used to capture lab activities, white boarding, or other activities in the room that the laptop camera is not suited to capture.

2. A USB camera to be used with the above mini camera tripod.

3. A USB document camera.

  • The document camera becomes a video input for the computer and can be shared via Zoom or projected in the classroom. 
  • Instructors can write equations with pen and paper or share other physical content (see for example)

4. A Wacom tablet for electronic white boarding and annotation.

  • The tablet once connected is both a screen and a mouse-like input device for a computer. 
  • As an input device the instructor can use the stylus to annotate on content, use white boarding applications, or write equations or other content. As an additional screen the content on the tablet can be shared via Zoom or projected in a room (see for example)

5. A USB speakerphone for use with Zoom.