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Design for Inclusion, Accessibility, and Integrity

Whether you are delivering your course content synchronously or asynchronously, take into consideration the importance of digital accessibility/universal design, integrity, and privacy in the remote classroom environment. It is essential that the quality and care in which we provide accessible content, promote integrity, and ensure privacy remains uncompromised in the remote environment. Our students' access to the learning material, their trust in an honest, fair, and respectful classroom, and their protected rights to privacy, especially in the remote environment, will play a major role in their learning experience and how they perceive their remote classrooms.


Building an environment that is inclusive to all students requires anticipating the needs of diverse learners, facilitating open and respectful dialogue and discussions, and being clear with expectations early on.


Ensure your digital content and multimedia assets are accessible to all of your learners regardless of ability. Taking a proactive approach to designing accessible content encompasses digital text such as documents and visual content such as videos and images.

COVID-19 and OSD Accommodations

Academic Integrity

Promoting integrity in the remote learning environment is essential for establishing a foundation of honest, responsible, fair and trustworthy scholarly activity. Thus, the University expects that both faculty and students will adhere to its standards of academic integrity.

  COVID-19 Integrity Resources

Build in Equity and Inclusion

Practice Flexibility and Kindness

(to yourself and your students)

Remote instruction doesn't need to be perfect. Keep it simple and manageable, and create a structure that will work best for you and your students, while staying true to the learning objectives of the course. Be flexible and allow room for error and growth in this period.


Address Unequal Access to Technology

Both synchronous and asynchronous delivery methods have their advantages, but also come with certain considerations. Although synchronous delivery can be helpful for real time interaction and communication, keep in mind that your students may or may not be in the same time zone, may not have the required equipment or access to a stable network, may be adjusting to life circumstances due to this quick change, or may simply be adjusting to this new format. Delivering as much material asynchronous as possible gives students more flexibility to complete coursework, relieve some of the stress of remote learning, and remove barriers and challenges due to unequal access. 

  • Ask students about their level of access to technology. Use that information to inform the technology choices for your courses.
  • If you will be relying mainly on synchronous delivery, make important information available offline. Plan for backups in the event of internet or technology failure during live events. 
  • Set clear expectations about when students will be expected to be “present” for live events, and set clear guidelines for what active participation looks like in your classroom. 
  • Avoid requiring live delivery of high stakes assignments. For example, student presentations could be recorded offline and uploaded via Canvas, so students won’t be penalized for unstable internet access. 
  • During live Zoom calls, reserve bandwidth by avoiding unnecessary video (e.g. requiring students to have their camera on when an audio-only experience would suffice.)

Support Diverse Learners

Practice open communication with students, check in often to see what’s working and what could be improved. Leave space in discussions and lectures for students to check in - even something as simple as starting the conversation with an acknowledgement of the potential impacts the current events may be having on student’s personal lives creates a supportive environment. 

  • Add an inclusion statement in your syllabus.
  • Be approachable. Encourage students to come to your office hours, and give examples of how students might use this time with you. Students who feel comfortable with their instructor will be more likely to reach out early if they need support. 
  • Regularly collect and respond to student feedback
  • Create an explicit course structure. Making a clear schedule with consistent due dates for each week will help students stay engaged with material throughout the course. 
    • For example: Students know that each week in their course, they will have one assignment due Thursday, and one discussion post due Sunday. 
  • Check often for understanding. Concepts that you may think are understood may be lost during remote delivery. Some examples for gathering this information is to use anonymous polling, or create a weekly discussion that asks students what their “muddiest point” is.
  • Advertise campus resources available to help students
    • Keep Learning has strategies and support to help students learn remotely
    • The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Office has a compiled list of resources for students , including technology lending programs.


Inclusion, Equity, and Access While Teaching Remotely | Rice University

Hamraie, Aimi. 2020. “ Accessible Teaching in the Time of COVID-19 .” Mapping Access

Teaching Effectively During Times of Disruption | Stanford University

Inclusive Teaching Strategies to Help Students Navigate Fast-Paced Courses | Brown University 

Ensure Digital Accessibility with Universal Design

Communicate Course Expectations and Resources

  • Upload your syllabus early so that students can view your course requirements
  • List your Course Learning Outcomes and communicate clear expectations
  • List your course’s technology requirements and provide links to descriptions of accommodation features for any tools
  • Know how to arrange for accommodations. Solicit OSD documentation from students and consult with OSD for students that need extended assessment and exam times, note takers, or other services.


  • Provide information about Accessibility within Canvas including screen reader compatibility and keyboard shortcuts.
  • Organize your Grade Center columns in a relevant, coherent order
  • Use consistent names for assignments and assignment types


  • Title your files using clear, descriptive language such as "Course Syllabus" versus "co-syll.01."
  • Include the file extension type when hyperlinking to documents within Canvas e.g., (PDF)
  • Do not scan or save your text PDFs as images. Images cannot be read by screen readers. 
  • Use Structural elements in Word documents and PowerPoint presentations (e.g., headings, lists) and include alt text for embedded images.
  • Provide a text equivalent for complex tables (e.g., course calendar or due dates)
  • Do not use Color to convey meaning or emphasis (e.g., avoid “all items in RED are required”)


  • Enter descriptive Alternative text (Alt Text) for all images that are intended to convey meaning
  • Indicate decorative images that do not have meaning
  • Enter alt text for embedded graphics in tests in a way that doesn’t give away the answers


  • Edit all machine captions for accuracy
  • Use illustrative language in your videos to describe exactly what students are seeing or what you’re doing
  • Consider creating equivalent video alternatives for challenging content
  • Provide Captions or Transcripts for all videos. See How to Request Captions.
  • Provide text or audio description for visual elements on screen
  • Provide transcripts for all audio content


  • Allow for variability. Give students alternate options for expression, while sticking to the scoring guide and aligning to the expected skills.
  • Allow for flexibility and multiple attempts of low-stakes scaffolded assessments.
  • Offer regular feedback and corrective opportunities.


Digital Learning Hub: Digital Accessibility

Office for Students with Disabilities

UC San Diego Library: Guides to Improve Accessibility

UCOP: Electronic Accessibility

Thurlow, M.L., Johnstone, C. J., and Ketterlin-Geller, L.R. (2008). Universal design of assessment. Universal Design in Higher Education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. pp.73-82

Foster Academic Integrity

  • Include a quiz question with this Excel with Integrity Pledge:
    I will complete this exam in a fair, honest, respectful, responsible and trustworthy manner. This means that I will complete the exam as if the professor was watching my every action. I will act according to the professor’s instructions, and I will neither give nor receive any aid or assistance other than what is authorized. I know that the integrity of this exam and this class is up to me, and I pledge to not take any action that would break the trust of my classmates or professor, or undermine the fairness of this class.
  • Communicate expectations. A simple reminder to maintain integrity and produce authentic work goes a long way in setting the tone. Be clear about what is and isn’t appropriate when it comes to taking a remote exam or completing a remote assignment. In your syllabus, include this standard statement:
    "Academic Integrity is expected of everyone at UC San Diego. This means that you must be honest, fair, responsible, respectful, and trustworthy in all of your actions. Lying, cheating, or any other forms of dishonesty will not be tolerated because they undermine learning and the University’s ability to certify students’ knowledge and abilities. Thus, any attempt to get, or help another get, a grade by cheating, lying or dishonesty will be reported to the Academic Integrity Office and will result in sanctions. Sanctions can include an F in the class and suspension or dismissal from the University. So, think carefully before you act. Before you act, ask yourself the following questions: a: is my action honest, fair, respectful, responsible, and trustworthy, and b) is my action authorized by the instructor? If you are unsure, don’t ask a friend, ask your instructor, instructional assistant, or the Academic Integrity Office. You can learn more about academic integrity at”
    (Source: Bertram Gallant, T. (2017). Teaching for integrity. UC San Diego Academic Integrity Office.) 
  • Create a Group Code of Ethics. Have group work begin with creating a code of ethics they will abide by.
  • Offer choice. Provide multiple questions or options and allow students to choose which option to respond to.
  • Randomize questions and create question banks: Utilize the randomization settings and create question banks so that students don’t receive the same questions. See Quiz Settings to Maximize Security .
  • Require authentic and meaningful work. Ask students to build on their existing work in the course. This will allow you to evaluate improvements and gauge how students have received feedback on past assignments. You can also include a reflective component in the assignment, giving students an opportunity to examine their own work, reflect on their learning, or evaluate their own process.
  • Use Turnitin. Turn on the setting for running a Turnitin report.
  • Set up Proctoring services. If you are utilizing an online exam, you can set up proctoring services ahead of time, and inform your students of the requirements for proctoring. 

Additional Resources:

Academic Integrity Office: COVID-19 Resources for Educators

Academic Integrity in Digital Learning

Final Exam Strategies (UC Davis)

Protect Student Privacy

Protecting the privacy of our students' original work and grades, and securing the privacy of course content and learning materials is essential for academic success at UC San Diego. Privacy comprises: 

  1. Autonomy privacy and 
  2. Information privacy.

Privacy Considerations during COVID-19

Recording Synchronous Lectures and Meetings

  • Faculty who wish to record their remote classes should, at the start of each class session that will be recorded, announce to the students on air that the class will be recorded and made available to students asynchronously.
  • In addition to making an announcement at the beginning of each class session to be recorded, faculty should include a note on their Syllabi that class sessions will be recorded and made available to students asynchronously.
  • Finally, for documentation purposes, it is best if the oral announcement at the beginning of each class is itself recorded, so there is no question about whether the announcement was made for any particular class session.

 Zoom Record Notice

Online class and content delivery:

  • Instructors and staff should use the platform(s) selected and approved by the University. Platforms that have not been vetted by the university should not be used. 
  • Instructors are encouraged to provide other means of participation for students who do not want to be recorded (e.g., submitting questions and comments online). As a reminder, notice is required to all participants of a recorded class before recording begins.
  • Instructors should not require students who have placed a FERPA block on their directory information, or otherwise requested that the instructor not identify them in an online environment, to use their name or their camera during online classes.

Online exams and proctoring

  • Requiring students to turn on their camera to be watched or recorded at home during an exam poses significant privacy concerns and should not be undertaken lightly. Instructors are encouraged to work with the Digital Learning Hub in the Commons and the Academic Integrity Office to consider privacy-protective options that will uphold integrity and good assessment design.
  • During classes, students should be encouraged to use the virtual background feature of Zoom if they do not want their surroundings to be visible. However, the point of proctoring is to be able to assure that students are completing their exams independently and without assistance so students are encouraged to take their exam in a room that has no one else present.
  • Several proctoring services use machine learning, AI, eye-tracking, key-logging, and other technologies to detect potential cheating. If instructors are using one of these services during the COVID-19 measures, they must provide explicit notice to the students before the exam. Instructors are encouraged to consider other options that are privacy-protective and still preserve academic integrity, where possible. 
  • Instructors are encouraged to contact the Digital Learning Hub and the Academic Integrity Office to discuss privacy-protective alternatives, including how to use question banks (in Canvas). 
  • Students who have no computer to complete their final exams may take advantage of computers in most labs. Students must observe social distancing and wash their hands before and after lab use. Finals CANNOT be held in a lab, that is, instructors cannot be present nor can students from a specific class be asked to gather there for a final. This is only for those students who need a computer to drop in and complete their exam.

See COVID-19 and Privacy.

Additional Support