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Guide to Hybrid & Online Teaching at JMU

Accessibility in online & hybrid teaching

Here are some easy-to-apply accessibility practices when designing online materials:

More content on this page:

Send a questionnaire to your students 

Sending a quick questionnaire to your students with the following questions can help you identify the optimal ways to reach and communicate with your students (Hamraie, 2020):

  • Do you have reliable internet and a computer at home in case we need to shift online?
  • Does your computer have a camera in case we need to do video conferencing?
  • Do you have any accessibility requests for me regarding online teaching (for example, readings available in a different format, transcription of conversations, specific approaches to discussion boards, or preference of video discussion vs. discussion boards)? Please let me know if you need help accessing any resources, including basic needs (food, shelter, medical care), psychological care and counseling, childcare, a ride, or access to technology.

Remember that not all students have a stable internet connection

Please refer students without internet access to our "Get Started" page for students, which lists several options for gaining internet access.  

Please remember that some students will NOT have a computer of their own, a powerful computer with a webcam, and/or a private place to use their computer and/or attend synchronous video-based lectures or activities.

You will want to review the Limitations for Students Using Chromebooks page if any students in your class use a Chromebook.

Accessibility information to share with your students

Consider adding an additional accessibility statement such as this to your syllabus, online course, or introductory email: 

“I am committed to making this course accessible. Let me know if you encounter any inaccessible elements as soon as possible so the problem can be remedied. James Madison University is committed to access, inclusion, and addressing diverse needs. If you have a documented disability and, as a result, need reasonable accommodations to participate in this class, complete course requirements, or benefit from the University's programs or services, contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) as soon as possible. To receive accommodations for disability in this course, please provide an Access Plan from ODS in a timely manner. The ODS works confidentially in partnership with students, faculty, and other University departments to ensure equal access through Universal Design and reasonable accommodations. You will find details about how to get started on the ODS website. ODS will work to address the needs of students with disabilities studying off campus. The office is located in the Student Success Center, Suite 1202. You may contact them by phone at 540-568-6705 or through email at"

Setting extra time in Canvas quizzes/exams for students with accommodations through ODS

Some students who have registered for accommodations through JMU's Office of Disability Services (ODS) may require extra time in Canvas quizzes, exams, or tests. As of now, there is no feature to apply extended time to one student for the entire semester. Rather, you must do so with each Canvas quiz/test for each student who has extended time. This means that if you don’t already have all of your tests for the semester populated, you will need to keep track of your students who have extended time and apply it to each test as you put them up.

ODS and the Libraries recommends, as a matter of universal design, that you include the (standard) test time in the description box of the test with your instructions. This accomplishes two things: (1) it makes it explicit to all students how long they have to take the test, and (2) it allows students with extended time to check and ensure that their extended time has been applied before entering the test, alleviating confusion.

To extend time for one student, go to a published Canvas quiz and find Moderate This Quiz:

screenshot highlighting Moderate This Quiz button and Published button

Change time and attempt options for students who have registered for ODS accommodations by selecting the pencil icon to the right of the student name:

screenshot highlighting edit button

Setting extra time for Canvas assignments for students with accommodations through ODS

Some students registered with the Office of Disability Services may have a disability that impacts their ability to complete assignments on time. If this is the case, they will have an accommodation related to assignment deadlines listed on their Access Plan letter. 

Here is the information from Canvas on how to assign an assignment to an individual student, which is one way to give a student with assignment accommodations a custom due date.

More resources for accessibility and hybrid/online teaching


Find more topics in this guide on the A-Z Page List or in the menu.