So many of us now meet through Zoom. It’s a convenient way to have class meetings, hold review sessions, and gather people who need to chat. With so many opportunities to meet online in Zoom, it’s important to keep accessibility in mind so that everyone who attends can equally participate. Here are some tips on making your Zoom sessions accessible!
Enable Live Captions
For attendees who may have trouble hearing the session, it is best to enable the live transcript in your Zoom meeting. Look for the “CC Live Transcript” button at the bottom of your Zoom window and click the “Enable” button under Live Transcript. These captions will be auto-generated as you and attendees speak. If it becomes distracting, each user can select to hide the subtitles. Click the arrow next to the CC Live Transcript button > Hide Subtitle.
Reduce the Extra Noise
Noisy backgrounds and noise from non-speaking attendees who leave their microphones on can be very distracting. Whoever is speaking should ensure they are in a noise-free environment and stay close to their mic. We recommend using Zoom’s built-in option to suppress background noise. This can be done from the Zoom desktop client settings or directly in a Zoom meeting. In a Zoom meeting, click the arrow next to the “Unmute” button and Select Audio settings to see your options to Suppress background noise.
Here are some additional options for muting attendees, which are all found in the Participants window in a Zoom meeting:
- Mute All Upon Entry: Found in More menu
- Mute All: Can still allow participants to unmute themselves
- Ask All to Unmute: Found in More menu
- Disable allowing participants to Unmute Themselves: Found in More menu and should be unchecked when disabled. If participants are not allowed to unmute themselves, you can allow certain individuals to speak by moving your cursor over their name in the Participants window and clicking Ask to Unmute.
Reduce Visual Distractions
It’s a good idea to tidy up your background or simply blur your background to avoid adding potential distractions. In your Zoom meeting, click the arrow next to the “Start Video” button in the bottom left of your Zoom window and select Blur My Background. Unless your students are having an engaging discussion, we recommend turning on the spotlight on your camera and any other speakers. Turning on the spotlight will make those attendees the primary speakers so that their video feeds are the only ones shown.
Use the Chat
Some students do better seeing content. Any questions you pose to the class, or questions you may receive in-person in case you’re teaching a hybrid course, should be posted in the chat as well. You may also consider using the chat to encourage student participation. Just make sure this does not become a distraction. You can always disable the chat (temporarily) if needed by opening the Chat window > click the 3-dot menu > select who Participants may chat with, if anyone.
When Zooming, zoom in if you’re sharing your screen! If the content on your shared window or app is too small, your students won’t see what you’re sharing.
Record and Update Transcript
In case any students may miss your session or need to review what was discussed, record your session and make sure to update the transcript. The captions will be auto-generated so you want to review and clean up anything it misinterpreted. Remember that Zoom Cloud recordings are automatically sent to UNC Panopto.
Learn more about accessibility in Zoom.