Student Resources for Navigating Remote Classes

List of accessible technology apps  – free and for purchase: organization apps, class planner, reminder apps, voice recognition, etc.

7 Tips for Success When Taking Online Courses

Online Students Share Time Management Tips

Speech to Text software 

Resources for Deaf/hard of hearing students from the National Deaf Center

  • The following information is from an AHEAD resource, “Maintaining Access to Opportunity in the Face of the Coronavirus Crisis: A diverse compilation of ideas and resources from a wide variety of disability resource professionals.”  Link to the Word document  

*We have pulled out the following information we think is most pertinent to students.  

Strategies/Tips on How Students can Adjust to the Online Learning Environment

  • Order your courses in order of difficulty level or concern, and break down tasks into clear, manageable steps. That makes the pie a little easier to attack, one bite at a time. You can start a list of upcoming tasks for each course and put it all in one place, like a journal or planner or just a piece of paper. As you get information by email or from the LMS, you can add the to-do items to your central list to stay in control.
  • Communication is going to be lacking from some instructors who aren’t used to teaching online or who are just bad at communicating already! Know that this will happen and to anticipate it. In email correspondence, phrase questions to require only a brief response. Faculty members may be more likely to respond if they know they can answer quickly, plus this will keep down the back-and-forth emails with professors.
  • Create email folders for each course, and dump any communication into that folder, to manage the huge influx of digital information.
  • It can be isolating to go from an active college student on a busy campus to sitting at home with no one to interact with but email and the LMS. Anticipate this as well, so you make it a priority to stay engaged with family and friends through this stressful experience. You’re least at risk outside, so get outside for exercise and fresh air, if possible. This will be critical for those students who aren’t able to leave the campus due to international status or finances.
  • Engage in your courses EVERY day. Because the content may be delivered awkwardly, erratically, or not in the method you’re used to, will likely need to spend more time on learning the content than they usually require. More review of notes, more reading, and employing more active study methods to stay engaged while learning alone are important strategies.
  • You may be unfamiliar with taking tests online, elevating a stressful situation to a whole new level. Immediate communication is critical if you’re having trouble with an online test. Contact the instructor, of course, and use IT support as well, since that department is providing a lot of support to faculty. You must take an active role. It might take more than one email to the instructor to figure out how to solve a problem. Keep communicating!
  • Utilize academic support, even remotely. Academic coaches, tutors, learning specialists or accommodations coordinators would likely still be available to talk on the phone, Skype, Zoom, etc., to help you minimize overwhelm.

Strategies/Tips for Students and Taking Exams Online

  • Set up your space before taking your exam to minimize distractions.
    • Make the environment feel like a testing environment (in other words, don’t decide to eat your lunch while you are taking your exam or have your television on in the background).
    • Turn off phones. If you have a landline, set the ringer to silent or low.
    • Place a “do not disturb” or “testing in progress” sign on your door.
    • Inform family members (who might also be home) that you will be taking an exam for a specific span of time to minimize interruptions.
    • You might want to use a lock down browser if you're prone to surfing the internet.
    • Have all allowed materials available and organized before starting the exam.
    • At least 15 minutes before the exam, set up your environment to make sure you do not have any computer or internet access issues.
    • If fidget toys or music/sound help you, make sure you have these items available.


  • In General:
    • Know the rules and expectations of taking the exam online.
    • Is the exam open book/note, or are students held to the honor system?
    • Are you being proctored remotely by your professor or a computer program?
    • Can you start the exam at any time, or is the exam only available during a certain time frame?
    • If your accommodations allow for breaks during exam, is there a way to pause the exam? Before starting the exam, make sure you know how many questions are on the exam and how much time you have so you can plan accordingly.
    • Since instructors/proctors won’t be there to give a warning, you might want to set a timer to go off 10 minutes before your time is up. Have a clock or timer nearby so you can track how much time you have.
    • Have scrap paper so that you can note questions you want to revisit.
    • Questions may be presented one at a time. It may be more difficult to navigate an exam and go back to review questions. Jot down question numbers and note any questions you may have.
    • If you have clarification questions for your professor, will you be able to reach the professor? How will you do this? Find out before you take your exam.
    • You may have finally gotten used to the format of your teacher’s in-class exams and suddenly that format might be different as it shifts to an online platform. Reach out to your teachers and ask if the exams will be different. The more prepared you are with what to expect, the better.
    • If you are suddenly allowed to use notes or access your books during an exam, be careful not to use up all of your time and rely too heavily on these materials. It is better to put an answer down that you think is correct and then return to that question later if you have time at the end to double check than to spend time searching for each of the answers.

Strategies/Tips for Students about Migraines and Eye Strain

Prolonged computer usage can cause a strain on your eyes. If you are prone to migraines or have other visual issues, you will want to take extra steps to minimize the impact as much as possible by adding some adjustments to your computer monitor and workstation.

  • Your desk setup can trigger a migraine.
    • Make sure your monitor is placed directly in front of your face to reduce neck strain. Your monitor should be 20 to 40 inches away from your face at eye level.
    • Adjust the refresh rate of your monitor to its highest rating.
    • Adjust the display settings of your computer to help reduce eye strain and fatigue.
  • Brightness: Adjust the brightness of the display so it's approximately the same as the brightness of your surrounding workstation. As a test, look at the white background of this page. If it looks like a light source, it's too bright. If it seems dull and gray, it may be too dark.
  • Text size and contrast: Adjust the text size (enlarge) and contrast for comfort. Usually, black print on a white background is the best combination for comfort.
  • Color temperature: This is a technical term used to describe the spectrum of visible light emitted by a color display.
    • Blue light is short-wavelength visible light that is associated with more eye strain than longer wavelength hues, such as orange and red.
    • Reducing the color temperature of your display lowers the amount of blue light emitted by a color display for better long-term viewing comfort.
    • To reduce your risk of tiring your eyes by constantly focusing on your screen, use the “20-20-20 rule.” Look away from your computer at least every 20 minutes and gaze at a distant object (at least 20 feet away) for at least 20 seconds.

Strategies/Tips for Remote/Online Learning

Online learning may be a new experience for you, but don't worry... here are some tips we've put together to help you make this experience a positive one. Your courses will be the same, just with a different format.

  • Claim a Study SpaceThe first for effectively managing online classes is to look around your dorm room, house, or hotel room and find a place to claim as your own study nook. Find a place where you are comfortable but will keep you alert. Try to avoid doing your coursework in bed!
  • Manage Distractions:  Get rid of all the distractions - physical and digital - and just have the resources you need to study. As the classes are going to happen through your computer, it is much easier to get distracted; however, there are some tools and Chrome extensions (StayFocusd, RescueTime, StayfocusD) that might help you manage your distractions and get through your coursework.
  • Stay motivated:  Do not underestimate the effort needed for online classes! Make sure you stay motivated and engaged in your online learning experience. Take the week of online classes as seriously as you would if they were held in person: the topics you study and readings and assignments you do are not busy work... they build upon your previously seen class material and are fair game for future assignments and assessments. Self-determination is a key factor to success!
  • Cooperating with Your Professor:  Apart from structuring their classes online, professors also have a task to finish covering all the topics required for the class. So, it is better to cooperate with your professors; the easier you make it for them, the more you are going to learn and the better this experience will be. Having good communication with them is also important. If you are confused or have suggestions, send them a polite email and be patient when waiting for a response.
  • Time Management:  With classes happening remotely, it is very important to find time to get the things done. Schedule time for each class. Especially with the freedom that comes with online classes, now it is crucial to manage time better and get through all the resources and assignments put up by the professors. One way to help with this is to make a list of assignments and readings to do and keeping track of due dates, progress, and other things as they come up.

*Source:  Beloit College


Additional Resources

Professional Resources

For DAS and SWD

  • JAWS, ZoomText and Fusion Freedom Scientific has release special, free, short-term licenses of these three softwares for individuals with a personal email address in Canada or the United States
  • WordQ Quillsoft has an Extended Access Request form for a trial to use for remote work or online learning. Once you fill out the form, they'll email you with your trial information within 24 hrs
  • Kurzweil 3000 Kurzweil education is offering a free subscription for all during COVID-19
  • Internet Archive has opened it's repository as a National Emergency Library
  • TextHelp offers free trials of their products, including: Read&Write, and EquatIO. Current customers have free access to any of the other tools in their product suite until the end of the academic year

Accessible Remote Teaching 

Working from Home

Articles about SWD Concerns

General Equity and Inclusion

Software Accessibility