Episode 5-Accessible Presentations
0-0:12 Orthotonics Accessible as Gravity plays and fades out
0:13 Hello and welcome to Accessagogy a podcast about accessibility and pedagogy. I’m your host Ann Gagné and this podcast is recorded on treaty 13 on the traditional land of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.
0:28 Welcome to episode five! In this episode we are going focus on some things to think about when you are presenting information and this will be on use when you are presenting on campus, virtually, and both in teaching and learning but also in conference situations.
0:50 I am recording this episode on the last week of March 2023, and before I start I would like to note that this episode is dedicated to Arley Caruthers, whom we lost last week.
1:13 Arley, was someone who was very active in the open learning community, as well as a strong accessibility and disability advocate. In the show notes I will be linking to a Professional Communications open access textbook that she helped create that has been a very useful resource to the professional communications students that I teach and to many others since it was posted in 2021.
1:44 I am also going to link to a GoFundMe that Arley’s family has started for her young daughter Dottie. Those of you who followed Arley on Twitter have been so lucky to hear slice of life stories that Arley would share about Dottie, and if you can anything you can share to support Dottie and her future education would be very appreciated.
2:14 Arley was someone who worked very hard to make sure that information sharing was accessible and did not believe in gatekeeping information or anything else for that matter. We will miss her greatly and therefore, today I’ll be talking a little bit about some strategies that could help support accessible presentation and accessible communications and I hope that they’re helpful to you in your teaching and learning practices and your spaces, including if you are facilitating a workshop or giving a conference paper.
2:57 In today’s episode I will be giving six tips for how to support accessible presentations. And in some situations I will note if this is a strategy that can be used both on site or virtually, but in general these are things you should be thinking about regardless of where or what you are presenting.
3:21 So Number one, use the microphone. Yes always. Please. This strategy applies to on-site presentations, virtually on Zoom or if you’re using Teams for example, or if you are at a conference. No really, I mean it, use the microphone. No more of this I am teacher I’ll just project my voice stuff that happens and you see a lot at conferences especially during question and answer period.
3:55 There are many folk who are hard of hearing who need you to use the microphone. Using the microphone also in virtual meetings can help with the captions and using the microphone in a classroom space will help students in all corners of the room.
4:14 If you’re teaching in a classroom without a microphone, maybe ask your IT department about the possibility of getting one; the worst they can say is no, and then you can make a case for why that’s important by using maybe your institution’s strategic plan or any sort of legislation that may be in your part of the world, like the AODA or ADA for example. So please use the microphone.
4:43 Number two, Lights. When presenting on site, look at how the lights are affecting what you’re trying to project on the screen or write on the board and adjust accordingly. Keep in mind that the people at the front of the space as well as the people at the back of the space will have different lighting. If the lights in the room that you’re in do not adjust, please note this to the audience so they can maybe move to a seat, or change where they’re sitting to someplace different to help with any glare that may be happening due to the lights in the room.
5:24 Number three, make sure your slide deck, if you’re using one and you know it’s always great to use one, is shared with participants or students if you’re teaching ahead of time. This will allow folk to follow along and give them somewhere to add notes as you are talking.
5:46 There also many ways that people do this, many ways that people can share this slide deck and this information. Some may email the slide deck ahead of time. For teaching and learning situations sometimes you can post that slide deck up on the learning management system. For virtual presentations you could upload a copy or a link to the slides in the chat. Or for on site or online presentations something that I use and I’ve seen other people use is QR codes to link to a folder where the slide deck and other information like maybe the script that you’re reading from or the notes that you’re reading from may be found. And that you know the information that the audience may be interested in can also be found. So QR codes can be useful that way as well.
6:42 So that’s number three, make sure your slide deck is available ahead of time and it doesn’t have to be weeks ahead of time either, but you know ahead of time, before you start talking.
6:53 Number four, outline what you’re going to speak about and refer to that outline as you’re talking so that the participants know where you are and what is coming next in terms of the topics. This is something that we should do for all presentations because whether on site or virtually. It’ll help remind folk where you are especially if they had to leave or mute the presentation for a bit because something is going on in the space that they’re in, for whatever reason, just reminding them, you know where you are, summarizing what you have already talked about, and what you are going to be talking about next really helps situate your presentation.
7:36 Number five, make sure that you describe what’s on the screen or if you’re using slides, what’s on the slides that you’re sharing. If you’re showing a chart or a graph, describe that chart or graph, do not just say, as you can see from this chart, because they may be folk in your audience that may not see from that chart. This is something that you should do for both types of presentations, both onsite or virtually.
8:04 Another an accessible practice is also when presenting both on site and virtually to describe your physical appearance. This helps those participants in your space who are blind, or have low vision, and to help situate you as the speaker.
8:25 Number six, and finally if you’re presenting at a conference either on site or virtually, ask accessibility questions before you agree to present. And there are many things you can ask, but here are a couple of things. Ask them what sort of captions are going to be available, ask them if they have ASL, BSL, LSQ or any other sign language interpreters that’ll be present.
8:54 Ask if CART or Communication Access Realtime Translation that will be available. Ask them what they have in place for immunocompromised folk who may be interested in the session or presentation. Ask them if they have scheduled break times for people to rest and reflect.
9:18 If you ask these kinds of questions up front and make it clear that these are things that those that organize the space should be thinking about in their planning to make the space more inclusive and accessible, chances are they will put those things in place if they can. I’ll be doing a whole episode on conferences in the future, so these are just some things that I want you to keep in mind to start.
9:45 So those are the six tips but also remember that these six tips are only some of the things that you should keep in mind when presenting. It is not a comprehensive list that I’m giving you here, but it’s hopefully a starting point to have things in place when you are presenting in a classroom, at a conference, or virtually.
10:06 So that’s it, that’s episode 5 of Accessagogy with a quick overview and six tips of a few accessible presentation strategies that you can keep in mind to help support accessible information sharing both on site or virtually.
10:22 Remember that I also want this to be a space where we can ask questions and share concepts that you would like me to discuss as well. So if there’s anything that I mentioned here about presentation strategies that you would like me to clarify or more resources that you need about this, please ask.
10:39 As well if you have ideas or aspects of your pedagogy that you would like me to address in this podcast, please feel free to send me an email at Accessagogy that’s acc e ss a gogy at gmail dot com. I will try to include as many suggestions as possible in the podcast because ultimately this podcast is for you. So that’s it, that’s episode 5 of Accessagogy, thanks so much for following along and asking how can I make my space more accessible today? Have a great week!