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Supporting your students

As an instructor, take the time to plan the ways you can limit and remove barriers to ensure that you are creating an accessible learning environment for all students.

UVic’s policy requires all members to share the responsibility to:

  • promote equality
  • remove barriers
  • create a respectful and inclusive learning environment

Types of barriers

In your courses, you may have students with barriers to:

  • reading and reviewing speed
  • concentration and organization
  • planning and deciding
  • memorizing and recall
  • problem-solving and understanding consequences
  • maintaining sustained body postures for sitting and stamina
  • seeing, hearing, moving, holding, typing, speaking, etc.
  • coping with and responding to change

Course design & delivery

To minimize and remove barriers, design your course and delivery with the following in mind:


  • try to speak by facing students directly to ensure that those who rely on lip-reading can understand you
  • annunciate and speak clearly for students who are hard of hearing and are recording lectures


  • plan for an alternative method of participation when using online class forums or online labs/tutorials, which are not accessible for screen-reading software
  • consider the timing of exams that occur outside of regular class hours and how this may affect a student who takes medication in the late afternoon and evenings
  • provide students the opportunity to discuss their concerns or needs with you and be open to questions and feedback

Classroom setting

  • ensure that a workspace or classroom is well-lit for students with low vision
  • do not block seating, entrances or pathways in the classroom for students with low mobility

Course material

  • create presentations using sans-serif fonts
  • keep lines short and limit the amount of text on screen
  • do not rely on colour to convey meaning, as not all students see colour equally
  • consider providing captions and transcripts for all audio and video materials


  • consider extra time to complete lab components to reduce barriers in writing fluency, fine motor coordination for typing, writing or low vision
  • students may need to use a computer with assistive technology software to complete written portions (i.e., to enlarge or read aloud text for a student with low vision)
  • if a lab has a specific time deadline, discuss options with students who have an extra time accommodation


  • a student's disability or chronic health condition may impact their attendance
  • inform students about class attendance policy in your course syllabus
  • establish clear expectations of handling classroom attendance, missed quizzes/exams, assignment deadlines and instructor notification due to medical absences
  • take the time to meet with students who wish to discuss attendance accommodations

Syllabus statement

The following is an updated accessibility statement to include on your syllabus to demonstrate your willingness to provide academic accommodation and to inform your students about the Centre for Accessible Learning (CAL).

The University of Victoria is committed to creating a learning experience that is as accessible as possible. If you are registered with the Centre for Accessible Learning and anticipate or experience any barriers to learning in this course, please feel welcome to discuss your concerns with me. If you are a student with a disability or chronic health condition, you can meet with a CAL advisor to discuss access and accommodations.

Accommodating students

Even when accessibility issues are addressed in course design, some students may still need specific academic accommodations, such as:

  • extended deadlines for assignments
  • assistive technology in tests and exams
  • accommodating absences
  • recording lectures
  • calculators/computers in exams
  • electronic devices in class
  • extra time on tests
  • lab accommodations
  • notetaking accommodations
  • spell check for exams
  • writing exams on an alternate date or time