All WSU classes now have text size indicators to help faculty understand how large projected or written text needs to be in each classroom in order to meet standards of accessible face-to-face presentation. Proper text size is important for all students, and ensuring that visual content can be properly viewed throughout the utilized areas of a classroom is part of the instructor’s responsibility.
These indicators are part of a coordinated, university-wide effort to comply with the agreement that Wichita State entered into with the National Federation of the Blind in July, 2016. This agreement extends to “all content presented visually in the classroom….”
But what do the text size indicators actually mean? Instructional Design and Access has compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help instructors understand how to use these indicators. Please send any additional questions to IDA@Wichita.edu.
- “How were these standards derived?” Wichita State has extrapolated these standards from the Americans with Disabilities Act’s sign-making standards. The standard is 1″ high lettering for every 10′ of distance, with no letters smaller than 2″.
- “How was the correct indicator chosen for each classroom?” Wichita State employees used a laser to measure the distance between the farthest useable student seat to the board or screen. Often, this distance is at an angle from the front of the room.
- “Do I have to write that big if my room isn’t full?” No. You should gauge the size of your writing to the student who is sitting farthest from the board of screen. In larger classrooms where students tend to sit together at the front of the room, you are welcome to adjust your text size to the farthest student using the 1″ per every 10′ rule as a guide. Each indicator has a “ruler” icon that accurately indicates inches.
- “What if I simply can’t write or project text as large as the standard indicates?” That’s very likely the case with certain kinds of content and certain size rooms. If you are unable to meet the text size needed for the room, you should plan ways to mitigate the issue so all students in the room have an equal access to material presented visually. For example, if you are speaking from PowerPoints, you can make those available digitally before or during class, and students can then use their devices to follow along visually. If you need other ideas for mitigation, please contact Instructional Design and Access, and we will help you come up with a solution to fit your needs.
- “Can you tell me before I get to my room what size font I need to use in my PowerPoint?” At this time we can’t but by next school year, we hope to be able to. The font size needed in any room is a dynamic result of the size of the room, the size of the screen, and the distance of the projector from the screen. This will have to be calculated for each room using a algorithm provided by Campus Media Services. This year, we focused on the installing in indicators first.
- “Can I ask a student with visual or other impairments to sit in a designated area in my classroom?” No. It is not appropriate to require a student with actual or perceived impairments to sit in a designated area of the classroom. At Wichita State we have the goal of providing the same information to all students at the same time, with maximum student independence and minimum othering. If you have any additional questions, please contact Christine Taylor in the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance at 316-978-3205.