Zoom and Zoom Accessibility

Zoom is a Web conferencing tool with combination of video, voice, content sharing, and chat functions for online meetings or courses.  

Rutgers now has a university-wide license for Zoom.  Rutgers Information Technology Services, ITS has created a Zoom Home page with information on Creating a Rutgers Zoom Account, a Quick Start Guide, Zoom FAQ's, and video tutorials. 

If you don't find what you need on this resource guide or on the Technology Resources for Remote Instruction site, Rutgers Access and Disability Resources and the IT Accessibility Team are prepared to answer any questions or concerns related to creating accessible content during the COVID-19 or any other time. Please feel free to reach out at: radr@echo.rutgers.edu or accessibility@rutgers.edu

Zoom Accessibility

While Zoom is tauted as one of the most accessible web conferencing tools out today, the information and tips below will greatly enhance the accessibility of Zoom meetings for all participants. 

You may wish to record a Zoom session, especially for participants who cannot attend or who don’t have a good internet connection. 

  • Choose where to store the recording: You can either record a meeting and save it to a cloud storage (e.g., Box at Rutgers) or save the file to your computer. One reason to store to the cloud is if you want your media transcribed. See the “Closed Captioning” and "Automatic Transcripts" sections below for more on this. 

  • Choose how to share the recording: Consider selecting a platform to ensure adequate data security for the information contained in your video materials. Additionally, consult with the person you are sharing the media with to ensure they are comfortable using whichever platform you select.

    • If you chose to record in Zoom Cloud, you can share a direct link with anyone who needs access to the recording. Each Zoom account at Rutgers will have 500 megabytes (MB) of cloud storage per account. Zoom recordings will be deleted after 180 days. After that, you can record on your own computer and share content via the Kaltura video platform

    • To share local Zoom recordings with students, it is best to upload them to Kaltura in Canvas. 

    • To share local recordings with faculty or staff, you can use the campus’s Box storage service, Google Drive, or other similar media storage services.

Closed Captioning

Capture every word said with closed captioning. Zoom integrates seemlessly with 3rd party closed captioning providers using the Closed Captioning REST API.

Automatic Transcripts

Facilitate your understanding with automatic transcripts (external hyperlink). Transcripts are automatically generated and synchronized to make it easy to search and review meetings recordings.

Setting up American Sign Language Interpreters with Zoom

This page provides an overview for professors and vendors to ensure that ASL can be utilized by our students successfully within Zoom.  Professors who have a student with this accommodation in their course will be contacted by the Office of Disability Services and we will work closely with you to ensure you have the information necessary to set this up appropriately in your course.  

Keyboard Accessibility

Accomplish all major workflows with ease using a keyboard. Zoom supports Keyboard Shortcuts for easy navigation of Zoom features.

Video

Some attendees may not want to turn on their video in a meeting for a variety of reasons. These reasons can include medical privacy concerns, concerns about the ways in which the use of video may reveal or highlight disabilities, the anxiety or distraction that video can cause, and more. If you are encouraging participants to turn on their video, it is important to keep in mind that some participants may have good reasons for not wanting to do so. This is true in the classroom setting as well as in business meetings.

Chat

In-meeting chat can be very useful during meetings, including as a participation channel for people who are working in noisy environments. There are just a few things to keep in mind.

  • Share chat content through additional channels. Some participants may be unable to access or fully utilize chat. Participants who are calling in to a meeting will not be able to see or contribute to chat. Assistive technology users can access, read, and contribute to chat, but may be unable to activate links in the chat window. Finally, all users run the risk of losing important links or content from the chat if this information is not saved in some way.

    Recommendations:

    • If chat comments are being incorporated into a meeting, read the comments aloud as part of the meeting.

    • Send links from the chat to all participants by email before or after the meeting. 

    • Optionally, you can save the entire chat to your computer or the cloud, for your own reference or to share with others.

Screen sharing

Sharing your screen is a good way to display PowerPoints or other media, pull up an editable whiteboard, or walk participants through a process step-by-step. 

  • Verbalize what is on the screen. Participants who are calling in or have bad internet connections may be unable to see the screen. People who are blind or have low vision may also be unable to see the screen, and cannot read the screen-share contents using assistive technology. For the benefit of anyone who may be unable to see your screen, verbalize what is seen and the actions you are taking. 

  • Share materials ahead of time. Send any materials you plan to display through screen sharing to your participants ahead of time. This allows everyone to access the materials and follow along even if they cannot see the screen share during the meeting.

Polling

There are creative ways to use the polling feature for participation during meetings or to survey participants. Hosts should keep these best practices in mind:

  • Ensure everyone can participate. The polling feature is accessible to people who use assistive technology. It is not usable, however, by people who are joining a meeting by phone. If you have participants joining by phone, offer an alternative way for them to send in feedback.

  • Alert participants when launching a poll. Notify participants verbally when you are launching a poll. This is especially helpful for assistive technology users as well as anyone who may not be looking at their screen. 

  • Give enough time. Allow plenty of time for participants to find and participate in the poll.

Breakout rooms

Breakout rooms can be used for small-group discussion and collaboration. 

  • Plan ahead for technical difficulties. Some devices and technical set-ups do not allow participants to join breakout rooms. See Zoom’s breakout room guidance for more information. Participants who cannot join breakout rooms can use the main room as an alternative space for discussion.

  • Pay attention to accommodations. If live captionists or ASL interpreters are present, make sure to assign them to the same breakout room as the participant receiving the live captioning or ASL interpreting.

  • Give participants the ability to record. If the Zoom session is being recorded for later review or captioning, the host will need to give participants the ability to record if the host will not be in the breakout room that needs to be recorded.

Resource Category
Student Resources
Faculty Resources
Faculty Resources for Online Courses
Audience
Faculty
Staff
Students
Campus
New Brunswick
Off Campus Locations
RBHS
Newark
Camden