Q&A Week 3: Questions Answered

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ReFocus Online Q&A Week 3 - Round 1 (7-1-20)

Below are the synthesized questions and answers from the ReFocus Online Q&A that happened July 1st, 2020.


We recommend that you reach out to our friendly Simpson Library staff for assistance with securing accessible scanned materials.  

A screen reader is a machine, but its set-up is managed by a person. The point made during the presentation was referencing that the machine is only as effective as its set-up.

All videos and recordings uploaded for a class must be captioned. Captioning is not only an accommodation for students who receive support through ODR. Captioning provides access to information that may suddenly not be available due to technical difficulties (e.g. audio issues while recording is running) and environmental conditions (e.g. the ability to read information if a room or setting is too noisy or audio cannot be played at certain volumes). Also, some people process information more effectively and efficiently when it is provided via text or print (or in multiple modalities). 

Yes, a screen reader will read a slide deck in order (i.e. from slide 1 to slide 10 in chronological order). However, you will need to pay attention to how information is ordered on individual slides to make sure a screen reader follows the correct ‘pathway’. 

You can create alt-text to describe the school logo (e.g. The University of Mary Washington school logo is in the right corner.). Because the school logo is more of a ‘decorative’ element and not integral to the content, you do not need to provide a full description of the actual school logo. 


Yes, that is correct. Google owns YouTube and it is one of the applications you have access to through that account. 

YouTube also allows for the creation of playlists so that would be an option if you wanted to use YouTube.  


We do not recommend streaming a Netflix documentary during a synchronous Zoom class meeting. There are copyright considerations as well as a diminished viewing experience for students. Better options include: 

  • Checking to see if the documentary is available for streaming via Simpson Library. Again, our friendly library staff can help you if the documentary is currently not available. By using a legally obtained and streamed documentary, you can insert a link into your Canvas site for easy access to all students. 
  • If all of your students already have Netflix accounts, you could do a ‘synchronous viewing party’ where the class watches the documentary together on their own screens, but using chat or another messaging platform (like Twitter) to share thoughts and ideas. 


If you plan on recording Zoom meetings to make them available you’ll have to find a workflow that includes uploading and storing those in a place that is accessible for students. Right now we recommend OneDrive or YouTube. If you haven’t used either one of these services you can see our getting started guide for OneDrive or getting started guide for YouTube.  



To keep your Canvas site manageable and accessible, we recommend only having items on the navigation menu that are necessary for moving through the course. Each course is different, so there are no standard ‘keep these, remove those’ recommendations. Do consider, however, how you are pacing through students a course and whether access to a navigation menu item impacts that pathway. For example, if you only want students to access specific content after completing prerequisites, be aware that by using Files students may be able to obtain the content early unless specific settings are set when material is uploaded to Canvas. Reach out to the Center for Teaching or DLS if you need help imagining course pathways and access. 


Canvas pages, while useful for co-creating content in a shared space, is not the same as building a website or using a blog. If you are interested in building a public facing website or exploring blogging we recommend you reach out to DLS to talk about Domain of One’s Own and UMWBlogs.