Deaf inclusion on zoom

Sadly Zoom does not even have a FAQ on ASL or deaf inclusion

Here are my notes based on what I have discovered recently:


Invite captioner & ASL interpreters as panelists
Set webinar settings to default gallery view (so there is a brady bunch view for students & the recording)
Have other presenters turn off video so only current presenter(s) & interpreter float to top & are visible to class
Theoretical viewing order: account holders, panelists, alphabetized participants with camera on, alphabetized participants with camera off, callers

Promote captioner to cohost on arrival & assign captioner role
Ask everyone but current presenter/interpreter to STOP VIDEO so interpreter is always visible & included in the gallery view main recording. NB cohosts do not float to the top like panelists in a webinar unless they are the only ones with active cameras
Occasionally an interpreter will not sort to the top visible six thumbnails so the deaf students will need to PIN her video during a screen share. During screen share, if students have 2nd device/monitor/zoom login they can watch slide show separately or pin both interpreters.
Make sure every deaf student is in the same breakout room as an interpreter and ask HOH if they need or would like the captioner in their room.
Theoretical thumbnail sorting order: account holders, speakers, participants with camera on in random order, participants with camera off randomly, smartphone users? linux users? callers

Find out if any deaf registrants & names
Email tip sheet to deaf students
Invite students 5 mins prior to orient w/interpreters via separate zoom
Doublecheck recording settings: SPEAKER, SCREENSHARE, GALLERY or various combos
Invite captioner/interpreters to tech check 30 mins prior to class
Remind teacher to give interpreters a vocabulary list & agenda
Tech check: remind teachers to enable CC on any streamed videos & pause frequently for interpreters
Ask deaf/HOH participants to identify themselves to the host via chat
Tech intro: students may want to view captions by clicking on CC on the main controls (which can help hearing folks also if you missed something)
Include ASL track & captions in upload to MN platform & delete unnecessary recordings
Teachers remind students to use View options/zoom or manually resize during screenshare & deaf students must use SIDE BY SIDE as presenters only float up when vertical.
Email interpreters/captioner/students day after first class for troubleshooting

You can download the CC separately in

click into the files you want
click on the download icon
The transcript can be edited & re-uploaded.
NB camera logic has been failing since zoom security upgrade 6/2020. If any of the presenters or interpreters arrive late, restart the recording to make sure they are captured. There may be failures in the camera logic if the host’s internet is disrupted even briefly.
The best recording option for interpreters–Screen share w/gallery view is not supported for cloud recording currently so you have to choose to record it locally. Stop the recording & restart to get the choice of local vs cloud. You must HIDE ALL NON-VIDEO PARTICIPANTS and choose your view carefully as it will be the only recording. You cannot minimize your zoom window during the entire recording. The CC will be a separate file. You will need to host the video elsewhere (eg youtube/vimeo) to post it since it will not be in your zoom cloud.

Many workarounds require an additional license, or students/interpreters having an additional device or monitor. Running simultaneous instances of videocalls can be taxing in low bandwidth environments. This can also separate deaf participants from the wider group.
To have a separate ASL recording in a meeting, interpreters can record ASL from a separate device but this requires editing two videos into one, additional bandwidth and potentially post production edits. ,
Set up a simultaneous webinar for the class & a zoom meeting or another platform for breakout rooms

Speak slowly & clearly.
Pause frequently especially around transitions.
State your name when you begin speaking.
Address the student (not the interpreter, which can take some discipline as we naturally gravitate to the interpreter).
Avoid using third person language (eg “tell her this”) just speak directly as you would in a normal conversation.
Realize that the interpreter will transmit everything that is said. even is you ask them not to.
Try to be gracious, patient and your best self even when you feel confused or challenged.

Generic deaf videoconferencing tips

1 Like

These are some great resources! Thanks a lot for compiling this post. Not a fan of Zoom, but it is forced upon people these days. I’ll include the links you provided on our awesome-humane-tech curated list.