Documentation:CTLT/Accessibility and Inclusivity Guidelines for Facilitators

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The CTLT strives to host inclusive events and services where all attendees are provided an opportunity for meaningful and full participation. CTLT events have diverse audiences with multiple, intersecting identities, including differences in ability, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, position, gender, and more. These differences can be visible or invisible; therefore, all events should be planned with an assumption that there will be participants with diverse identities and needs. To this end, facilitators are asked to follow the below guidelines around culturally and linguistically considerate communication and accessibility when designing presentations and presenting at CTLT events.

Land Acknowledgements

We encourage facilitators to learn more about the Indigenous lands and histories of colonialism where CTLT events are taking place, and to consider your own relationships to these lands and the Indigenous protocols therein. We encourage everyone to learn about land acknowledgements and build the confidence and skills to practice making a land acknowledgement. Here are some guidelines:

  • Acknowledging the land on which your workshop is taking place is a step towards building better understandings and relations with Indigenous peoples and communities. It is also an opportunity to make meaningful connections between the land and yourself/your event. Acknowledging traditional, ancestral, and unceded lands is a way to invite guests - particularly those who are not Indigenous - to listen and acknowledge their positions on this territory, and to understand that as guests they benefit from being situated on unceded lands and the resources that the lands offer.
  • UBC Indigenous Peoples Language Guidelines provides common ways to acknowledge territories on three UBC campuses—Point Grey, Robson Square, and Vancouver General Hospital (see page 12). However, consider extending and personalizing this given acknowledgement statement by integrating it into the context, in which you are speaking.
  • Before your event, learn about the land on which the event will take place, if you are unfamiliar with it. For example, if the event is going to be on UBC Point Grey campus, you can go to the "Musqueam & UBC" page in Aboriginal Portal to watch a video of a Musqueam Elder Larry Grant welcoming guests to Musqueam territory. Also, the UBC Aboriginal Centennial website provides the hidden history behind how UBC Point Grey came to be where it stands today.
  • To make your land acknowledgement respectful and meaningful, highlight the purpose and significance of your acknowledgement for learning. You can consider these guiding questions and use the answers to shape how you word your land acknowledgment:
    • How do you situate yourself on the land and its history? How does your positionality shape your relationships to participants and the content of your presentation, workshop, etc.?
    • How do you see the land, on which the event takes place, is related to the learning objectives and process of the event?
    • What would you like participants to think and learn by engaging them with land acknowledgements in the context of your event?
    • What prior knowledge or experience do participants have with territory acknowledgements? How would you explain why you make a land acknowledgement to those who are new to this practice?
  • Making land acknowledgements should be a starting place for a lifelong process in learning, not a final destination. To learn more and explore how you can develop your ongoing process, visit Considerations for practicing land acknowledgements in the classroom and the Land Acknowledgements in Teaching and Learning wiki.

Use of Language/Terminologies

Facilitators at CTLT events are expected to use inclusive language and refer to participants by the name and pronouns that they choose.

Chosen Names

  • Use name tags or introduction rounds to create an opportunity for people to share the name they want to use during the event.
  • Always call participants by the name that they have shared with the group. If you are unsure what name a participant prefers to be called, simply ask them, "What's your name?"
  • Ask a participant if you are pronouncing their name correctly if it is an unfamiliar name to you, instead of asking if there is an easier way for you to call them.
  • Visit the Equity & Inclusion website to learn more about chosen names.

Pronouns

People do not always use the pronouns that you may expect based on their name or appearance. By modelling the correct use of pronouns for participants, you can help create an inclusive environment in the room. Here are some tips:

  • When introducing yourself, you can share your name and your pronouns. This lessens gender assumptions and increases self-determination and identification.
  • To learn your participants' pronouns, you could:
    • Invite participants to share their names and pronouns during an introduction round and explain why this practice is important (we want to make sure we respect people's identities). It is a good idea to model what that looks like if you are presenting to a group that may not be familiar with the practice. (e.g., "Hi, my name is Alex, and my pronouns are he and him. Would you please go around to share your name and the pronouns that you'd like use in this workshop?")
    • Use name tags to encourage people to share their pronouns.
    • Review participants' pronouns provided in a registration list (When participants register for a CTLT event, they are asked to choose their pronouns).
  • When fielding questions or comments from the audience (e.g., at an event that is too large for you to know each participant's pronouns), don't assume one's gender. Instead, you could say, "Yes, the person in the red sweater."
  • When you get someone's pronouns wrong, apologize briefly, correct yourself, and move on (instead of making it about you by being overly apologetic). Most importantly, try to practice so you get it right next time.
  • While it is good to ask for pronouns and normalize that practice, remember that people may use different pronouns in different settings, and that some people may change what pronouns they use over time. Some people may prefer not to share their pronouns.
  • Visit the Equity & Inclusion website to learn more about pronouns.

Inclusive Language

Inclusive language is constantly evolving and context-dependent, rather than being fixed and universal, but you can take the following into consideration:

  • When you refer to participants or others, use person-first language to place the emphasis on the person instead of on the disability or condition (e.g., say “a woman who is blind” rather than “a blind woman”).
  • Honour the dignity and autonomy of the person you are referring to (e.g., "a person experiencing a drug problem" rather than "a drug addict," “a person who uses a wheelchair" rather than “a person confined to a wheelchair").
  • Be specific to avoid broad generalizations or stereotypes (e.g., “Dominicans” rather than “Hispanics”).
  • Consider the implications or effects of word choice for a diverse audience; how that word choice may exclude, offend, or stigmatize some people, even inadvertently (e.g., “that was crazy” or “hey guys”).
  • Be transparent and provide context when you must use language that would otherwise seem ill-advised.
  • When you make a statement about "we," question if that statement would really reflect everyone in the room, or be specific about whom you are referring to.
  • Assume everyone has good intentions. Accept that you will make mistakes too and acknowledge when you do!
  • You can visit the following websites to learn more about terminologies to refer to some groups of people or certain conditions that some people have in a respectful way:

Cultural Considerations

Facilitators at CTLT events are expected to incorporate cultural considerations in their presentations and workshops:

  • Provide a range of examples and case studies that reflect diverse backgrounds, cultures, identities, abilities, and perspectives.
  • Be transparent about who is included in data and who isn’t. Identify the possible implications of those parameters.
  • Use images, graphics, and visual aids that represent diverse representations of people (e.g., people with disabilities, people of diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds).
  • In selecting images, be careful not to perpetuate or reinforce stereotypes or a status quo (e.g., images of instructors are predominantly white, able-bodied people).
  • Avoid culturally specific idioms (e.g., “quit cold turkey”).
  • Indicate whether the resources highlighted in your presentation are available in different languages.

Accessibility

Facilitators at CTLT events are expected to make their presentations accessible so that everyone who might be in the room can understand and access the content of the presentation.

People in the audience come from all different backgrounds and have a variety of different abilities, some of which are obvious and some which are not. Presentations that have a lot of visuals, small text, or complex charts may not be able to be understood by an attendee who is blind or has low vision or is color blind. Presentations that use a lot of acronyms or so packed with information that the presenter rushes may not be able to be understood by someone with a limited understanding of English or who needs a slower pace. Presentations that use uncaptioned videos may not be able to be understood by someone who is deaf or hard of hearing.

Spoken and Audio Presentations

Individuals who are blind, deaf, have low vision, or hard of hearing may be present in your audience. Follow the guidelines below to ensure everyone can follow your presentation.

  • Presenters should describe slides and graphics briefly. For example: "This slide covers these three key points..." "This graph illustrates these key points."
  • Avoid referring to items using words like "this, that, these, and those", unless you indicate what "this" means. People who can't see you pointing to a slide don't know what "this" refers to unless you tell them. For example: "This map shows..., *These graphs indicate..."
  • Presenters should speak directly into the microphone. Do not cover your mouth when speaking.
  • Presenters should speak clearly at a moderate pace.
  • If a presentation includes a video, that video MUST be captioned.

Slides and PowerPoint Presentations

PowerPoint presentations are commonly used among session presenters as an effective way to display ideas and data. Because PowerPoint is a visual medium, presenters should be sure to make presentations accessible to all audience members.

  • Use clear formats for presentation materials — easy-to-read slides using large, sans serif fonts or arial and good colour contrast with white or pale yellow as a background and black text for the print.
  • Use simple colours, avoid bright contrasting colours.
  • Align text to the left and build simple and consistent layout.
  • Utilize graphics in conjunction with text only to enhance the meaning of your slide content.
  • If graphics are included, add an explanation of their meaning in a subsequent text-only slide. The meaning of the graphic is what’s important (e.g., “this chart shows…”), not a description of the graphic itself (e.g., “a chart with blue and red bars”).
  • Use WAVE (http://wave.webaim.org/) to ensure maximum accessibility of websites.

For more information on creating accessible PowerPoint slides, please see this Microsoft guide: Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible to people with disabilities

UBC Brand and marketing also has PowerPoint templates you can use.

Handouts

Individuals who are blind or have low vision may not be able to read standard sized print on your handouts.

  • Write in plain language.
  • Avoid small caps, italics, or all caps.
  • Break up content with headings and sub-headings.
  • Left justify, avoid columns, and use 1-inch margins.
  • Unless landscape orientation is necessary, use portrait.
  • Make lines heavy/thick in charts and graphs.
  • Use grayscale or high black/white contrast, rather than colours (especially green and red) for options or emphasis.
  • Omit decorative graphics that do not add any meaning, but use images and diagrams to support text (dyslexia).
  • Keep content short, clear and simple.
  • Make important information clear.

Be sure to bring appropriate numbers of your handouts in one or more of the following formats to ensure full participation in your session:

  • Large Print - Large print should be printed on single-sided 8.5" by 11" paper and stapled at the top left corner. Use 18-point font for all text, including body text, footers, page numbers, references, disclaimers, and labels on charts and graphs. Larger fonts may be used for headings. Individual users may request fonts larger than 18-point as an accommodation.
  • Digital version - Meeting participants who are blind or have low vision may prefer to copy text files of your presentations and have their screen readers or other computer software convert the materials. Let users change the contrast between background and text. For more information please see this guide from Microsoft on making Microsoft Word documents accessible.

Poster Presentations

Poster presenters should consider all possible audience participants when creating the poster, including those who are blind or have low vision, those who are deaf or hard of hearing, and those with mobility or physical challenges.

  • Keep the floor free from sharp objects or other obstructions.
  • Bring a flash drive file of your poster in text or descriptive PowerPoint format for attendees who are blind or have low vision.
  • Offer to describe your poster to attendees who are blind or have low vision.
  • If you have access to a laptop computer with voice output software, prepare a brief description of your poster for listeners who are blind or have low vision.
  • Consider modifying your poster font and layout to make it accessible to attendees with low vision.
  • If your poster includes video of any kind, you must have captions available for that video.

Washrooms

When you introduce your event and explain logistics to participants, include the information about the closest washrooms, including gender-inclusive and accessible washrooms.

  • Gender-inclusive washrooms
    • Check the location of the closest gender-inclusive washroom to your event site ahead of the event. UBC offers single-user as well as gender-inclusive washrooms available at both UBC Vancouver and the UBC Okanagan, as well as multi-stall gender-inclusive washrooms in the Life building at UBC-Vancouver. (The maps need to be updated to include information that indicates which of these single user washrooms have gender-specific signage and which ones may be locked. Information that shows the type of fixtures and equipment that are present in washrooms are to be added.)
  • Accessible washrooms
    • Please check with the CTLT Events team for information on the nearest accessible washrooms to your event.

CTLT Support

During your event, if you have need of support around accessibility or inclusion, please connect with one of our Event team members directly.

Additional Resources

Checklist

☐ Have you consulted resources for making a land acknowledgement, and made a plan for how you will approach opening your event?

☐ You are prepared to refer to participants by the name and pronouns that they choose and use cultural appropriate language.

☐ Presentation materials, including slides and handouts, have been developed following accessibility guidelines.

About These Guidelines

These guidelines were developed by the Equity and Diversity Standing Committee at the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology at the University of British Columbia. Some parts of these guidelines were adapted from the following resources: