NUS online events guide for an inclusive and accessible conference

Monday 08-03-2021 - 12:00
Online conference

Guide by NUS Democratic Procedures Committee and Liberation Committees


From proposing potential policy ideas to creating spaces for conversations and debates to take place, we understand the importance of inclusivity and accessibility for all regardless of their backgrounds. This is why this year, regardless of us not being able to meet in person, we are considering all of our participants and the unique challenges that many may face as they log on to the virtual conference. Our goal is to ensure that all attendees feel included and can contribute to amazing policy ideas for NUS to consider or implement without any accessibility limitations. This guide highlights the measures put in place which will contribute to an inclusive and memorable conference experience.

Things NUS is doing to create a more accessible online conference space


We are keen to do everything we can to create an accessible and inclusive conference space and have committed to the below actions. 
•    We’re asking every attendee to tell us if they have any access requirements when they register or to let the staff member registering them know. If you’re worried you might have missed telling us something once you have registered just email 
•    For National Conference, we’re hiring Electronic-Note-Takers (ENTs) to support those who have requested captions throughout the conference. Zoom also provides auto-captions for everyone in the main sessions. To learn how to turn on captions use this link.
•    For Nations Conferences, Electronic-Note-Takers were provided upon request. 
•    For Wales Conference, a Welsh translator was in attendance so delegates could participate in the medium of Welsh and have that translated.

•    If requested we can also hire BSL interpreters or other kinds of interpreters.
•    Our website has Recite Me Website Accessibility Software. A guide on how to use the Read Aloud Tool can be found here. The 'ReciteMe' or 'Read me Aloud' button on the bottom right of our websites can change text, colours, read text aloud, change languages and more. 
•    Ensuring images on social media have Alt text available
•    Making sure that any speeches/script that can be available ahead of time is on the website and accessible.
•    Time constraints on candidate speeches will not change, but any requests for extra time will be accepted for access reasons.
We value the privacy of our delegates and speakers therefore NUS is unable to provide the full transcripts from our Electronic-Note-Takers after the event due to GDPR. However, we will make every effort to provide scripts for speeches beforehand where possible and provide captions.

10 key things to remember going into an online NUS Conference 


To ensure we have an inclusive and accessible conference season here’s 9 key things to remember…
•    Add your pronouns (e.g. He/She/They/Zie/Zim) to your name in Zoom, advice on how you add your pronouns or change your name can be found via this link. If you do not want to be identified, you can change your Zoom name to [name of union] delegate and turn your camera off.
•    Speak slowly and clearly, many attendees will be relying on Electronic-Note-Takers and/or interpreters, so it’s important you keep this in mind when speaking.
•    Don’t talk over each other – for the same reasons as above, speaking over each other makes it harder for Electronic-Note-Takers and interpreters to do their job. If you do, pause, and let the host invite one of you to speak.
•    Unmute your microphone when you are speaking, and mute it again when you are finished or if someone else is talking.
•    Only a certain number of videos will show to other users. This means waving may not get the attention of others.
•    If you want to ask a question, you can use the chat window to get attention, or use the raise hand function. How to use the raise hand function in Zoom link.
•    Join the meeting a few minutes before the start time to make sure everything is working.
•    If you have a lot to say that’s fantastic but be conscious of ruling the conversation – encourage others to speak.
•    If you agree with something whilst in a webinar, you can enter a '+' in the chat, but please only use one '+'  as too many don't work well with screen readers. Alternatively, you can say 'agree'.
•    Participants who display any harassing behaviour will be asked to leave the event immediately or will be removed from the event.
Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical
appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion, technology choices, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention. If you witness or experience harassment, please notify us immediately at or submit any complaints about harassment or other complaints here.

Set up your equipment and at home conference space


At our online NUS Conferences, we will be using Zoom. If you are using Zoom for the first time, take some time to get to know the software. Zoom has some very helpful videos on how to navigate their platform easily here.
•    Use a headset rather than speakers if possible, as this offers the clearest sound. You can also use devices like AirPods, Bluetooth headphones, or even the earphones that came with your smartphone if they have a microphone built-in.
•    Try not to sit with a very bright light behind you if you can, as people will struggle to see you and you may struggle to see the screen.
•    You may want to prop your laptop or tablet on some books or use a screen holder, so you are at eye level with the screen. This makes it more comfortable for your neck.
•    Make sure you’re sitting comfortably, grab some blankets and pillows! The benefit of an online conference is it’s a lot less formal. Wear whatever you like and get comfy. 
•    Take breaks! We’ve factored in a lot of breaks during the conferences, so make use of that time to chill out. 

NUS Events code of conduct


Attendees at our conferences are expected to undertake responsibilities in a way that is respectful of others, ensuring that NUS is accessible for all to participate. We’re committed to making an environment for delegates and members that is free from discrimination, harassment and prejudice. Our Code of Conduct guides the behaviour that we expect at our conferences.
All attendees, speakers, hosts and volunteers at our online events are required to agree with the following code of conduct. We will enforce this code throughout the event and we expect cooperation from all participants to help ensure a safe environment for everybody.
Read our full code of conduct: Code of conduct



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Liberation Committee, DPC, NUS-USI Conference 2021, Scotland Conference 2021, Liberation Conference 2021, National Conference 2021, NUS Conferences,

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