Accessible Lectures, Tutorials, and Sessions

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Online sessions

Before the session or event

Managing the session or event


Use of captions

Captions are particularly helpful for participants with a hearing impairment or D/deaf participants but also help those who don't have English as a first language and are generally of benefit to all.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meetings offer automatic live captioning. In Teams, this needs to be turned on by and for individual participants, so advise participants of this at the start of the session. In Zoom it is controlled by the host or co-host but individual participants can choose to show or hide them once they are activated. It is good practice to enable closed captions and show participants how to hide them if necessary.

How to turn on captions as the meeting host


Sign in to Zoom, click Settings, scroll down to In Meeting (Advanced), and enable the Close captioning setting. Tick the box beside Allow live transcription service to transcribe meeting automatically and Allow viewing of full transcript in the in-meeting side panel.


To use live captions in a meeting, go to your meeting controls and select More options; click Turn on live captions.


To have subtitles for a Slide Show presentation, from the top menu select Slide Show > Always Use Subtitles to turn this feature on for all presentations.

Other captioning options

Participants who require captioning may wish to use an app on their smartphone or tablet to provide speech to text functionality. Below are some suggested apps that can be used:

Further information

In-person sessions and events

Before an in-person event

If your event has attendees that are new to your venue it is important to highlight facilities that usual visitors may well be aware of. This includes signage for bathrooms, and this would preferably be printed on yellow paper with black writing, rather than white. It would also be appropriate to have a designated space for service animals so the visitor can tend to the service animal's basic daily needs, with appropriate signage. This would also include water bowls being provided.

Lecture theatres, classrooms etc.

Use a microphone

If the room has a microphone, use it! Microphones are provided to ensure that everyone can hear what is being said clearly. Not everyone will be comfortable to admit that they cannot hear the speaker clearly or ask for speakers to wear the microphone.

There are a range of microphones available in teaching spaces. If microphones are stored in a docking station, please return them to the docking station after use, this will ensure that they stay charged and available for other users.

Repeat questions

If you are asked a question from the audience, repeat the question. This is important if the lecture is being recorded as it will ensure that both the question and the answer are clear on the recording. Also, it provides other members of the audience with an opportunity to hear the question clearly.

Say what you are doing/writing/drawing

If you are making use of a visualiser or adding additional annotations to presented materials, talk through what you are doing. This is important if the lecture is being recorded as it will provide additional information for those who may have a visual impairment.


Further information

The University of Edinburgh have produced some good practical guidance for creating accessible lectures/tutorials. In addition, there are also key guidelines to making face to face sessions accessible.

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