Every semester, students are given the opportunity to complete anonymous instructor evaluations to give feedback about their teacher and the course in general. These forms are notorious for being inaccessible for students with vision impairments, so I use any of the following methods to complete my instructor evaluations every semester.
Why no large print?
I don’t receive these forms in large print because they are designed to be anonymous, and everyone would know who wrote on the only large print form. I remember one time in high school, my teacher gave me a special large print form, and then was confused when I wrote very vague feedback. I didn’t have the same opportunity as my peers to give anonymous feedback.
Pencil vs pen
My school allows students to complete evaluations in either pencil or pen, which is awesome because I can’t read pencil due to the low contrast. I strongly recommend bringing both a pencil and a pen though just in case- even if you don’t regularly use pencil.
Use a video magnifier
Using a video magnifier is a great way to stay with the rest of the class while completing evaluations, and helps to increase the likelihood your form will not stand out. One downside to this is if students need to bubble in information- I have always found that difficult to do regardless if I have a video magnifier or not. Technology also might not be permitted, so check before using.
Ask for a scribe
Requesting a fellow student to assist in completing the form can further help protect your identity, however not all schools allow students to use scribes on evaluations like this. Also, there is no way to confirm if they write what you are saying. However, if you have a trusted partner and teacher permission, a scribe can be a quick way to complete an evaluation.
Complete forms with Disability Services
Students can complete all of their teacher evaluations at the same time at the Disability Services office using their assistive technology. They will put the evaluations in with the rest of the class. I did this and found that it worked really well, though I got a bit scrambled trying to remember information from each class.
Request that everyone receive large print
If the professor creates their own evaluations, request that everyone receive them in large print. If one student gets it, the rest of the class can get it too. I have had professors do this many times and I always made sure to let them know how much I appreciate it.
Put the evaluations online
Many courses make their evaluations available online, which I have found to be the most helpful, since the evaluation is compatible with the zoom feature and screen readers. I also find it easier to type than to write out information.
Can I write about my disability accommodations?
I always thank my professors for following my disability accommodations, though I am never very specific about what those accommodations were. Since we have several students that receive accommodations for various disabilities, I like to make sure that the professor knows I felt included, without disclosing my disability even further.
Sharing negative experiences
On one of my (online) teacher evaluations, I decided to share a more negative experience I had in the course, so that the course could be improved in the future. I strictly wrote out the facts of what had happened as well as times/dates it had taken place. I tried not to include any identifying information again to protect my privacy.
If a class experience was extremely positive or negative, I would follow up with the department and make sure my comments are known. I have more often done this for positive experiences than I have negative ones, but hearing about both is important.
I hope this information on instructor evaluations is helpful for students with vision impairments and dysgraphia. Good luck with finals!