I have used Connect since its first iteration circa 2009 and I can honestly say that I have not had any issues of accessibility with the program at any point since then. Even one of the team members at Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at my institution commented on how accessible Connect is for students. That said, I have established ways in which I use Connect that accommodate a variety of learning preferences.

Assign activities in various modalities

Use Connect in a way that accounts for a variety of learning modality preferences. I tend to assign a mix of audio-based and written activities at both the utterance length and discourse length, multiple choice activities, drag-and-drop activities, paragraph comprehension, and assessable video tutorials. The feedback I receive from students is that they like the variety of activities and that it makes it more fun. I consider this feedback as reassuring to the level of student engagement with the course materials in Connect.

Meet with a team member at disability services

If you have questions about the accessibility of a particular type of activity, or all of the activities for that matter, set up a meeting with a member of the disability services team at your institution to discuss any types of activities that may present challenges. I am certain they will be more than happy to meet with you and look at the format of the activities in Connect. Meeting with them now will also help you in selecting Connect activities for courses you teach in the future, which ultimately will save you time.  

Establish a way to address any accessibility issues

We have all experienced technical issues at some point as have our students. It could be due to any number of reasons – perhaps a browser is out of date, perhaps the speakers quit working, or maybe there’s an internet outage. Regardless of the reason, one way to minimize student concerns over a few questions or a few activities is to add points back to Connect at the end of the semester. This will serve two purposes: 1) give students peace of mind and reduce their stress over a few points and, 2) reduce the number of emails you receive if students encounter an issue. I have found that adding points back to their Connect grade at the end of the semester, puts students at ease.

At the end of the day, Connect is a great resource for you and your students and you get to design your course the way you want it to be with your specific learning outcomes in mind.

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