Student Accessibility Services: New Accommodation Portal for Spring 2023 Accessible Information Management (AIM)
Student Accessibility Services (SAS) is launching a new portal called Accessible Information Management (AIM) to manage student accommodations beginning Spring 2023.
- All student requests for academic accommodations will be made through AIM.
- Faculty will receive an accommodation letter notification by email as well as access the letter in the Faculty Portal within AIM (this is in place of the past LOA process).
- The faculty portal will be accessed using your JCU single sign-on using this link: https://hunter.accessiblelearning.com/JCU/Instructor
- AIM video tutorials are available in the SAS Canvas classroom or learner support tab https://canvas.jcu.edu/courses/31972
Any other questions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or concerns.
Students seeking academic accommodations must first register with Student Accessibility Services (SAS).
If a student asks for accommodations and does not have a letter of accommodation (LOA) from SAS you are not to grant them the accommodations.
ALL students receiving accommodations must be registered. To register with us, they must complete an application, submit appropriate documentation to verify the disability, and meet with an SAS staff member. SAS reviews documentation and determines eligibility for services. Students approved for accommodations are encouraged to meet privately with course instructors to discuss their needs.
All students who are qualified for accommodations will present the instructor with an LOA. The LOA is written by SAS.
Students who request academic accommodations for disabilities but have not yet registered at SAS need to be referred to our office to complete the registration process before accommodations are arranged.
PLEASE NOTE: In response to COVID protocols this year, SAS is receiving an increased number of accommodation requests for exemptions to in-person learning expectations and mask mandates. All requests do undergo a thorough review process and are considered on a case-by-case basis with required documentation from a licensed provider. To date, SAS has not approved any exemptions to the campus indoor mask mandate nor any specific accommodations that would permit a student to attend all of their in-person classes as a remote student.
Satellite Testing Center (STC) and Student Accessibility Services (SAS) Testing Center:
STC and SAS (for specialized software/ equipment) Testing Center Process:
Students will schedule 3 Business Days (72 hours) in advance by emailing email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org (if the student is using specialized software and/or equipment such as a computer testing accommodation).
Faculty should receive the Exam Administration Form (Click Here for Fillable PDF/ Click Here for Word) , from the student and complete the faculty section of the form. Faculty should then submit the form via email to email@example.com for the STC or to firstname.lastname@example.org for the SAS testing center (if the student is using specialized software/equipment) prior to the test.
Faculty will need to send the test via email to email@example.com for the STC or firstname.lastname@example.org for the SAS testing center (if the student is using specialized software/equipment) prior to the scheduled test day.
Satellite Testing Center (STC):
**Please have all students arrive to the SAS main office prior to their scheduled quiz/test**
Fall 2022 Update
We are pleased to announce that Student Accessibility Services (SAS) will continue to provide the Satellite Testing Center (STC) to assist faculty in meeting student testing accommodations. Please note that the Satellite Testing Center has limited space, but has expanded operating hours.
Faculty should first try to meet a student’s accommodations in the classroom or the academic department. This may be accomplished through the continued use of a separate time in a classroom or academic department office. Feel free to consult with SAS if you have any questions or concerns.
If the accommodations cannot be reasonably met through these means, then the student may schedule their exam to be proctored in the Satellite Testing Center. The Satellite Testing Center will be staffed by Graduate Student Proctors. Students must schedule exams no fewer than 3 Business days in advance by emailing email@example.com. The student should also notify you by providing you with the time of their appointment and the Exam Administration Form for each test/quiz they plan to schedule. Faculty must submit exams and the exam administration form to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the scheduled test.
Note: If these times vary from your class times, then you will need to provide written permission on the Exam Administration Form for the student to take the exam at an alternate day/time.
Please note, for students who use specialized software (speech to text, text to speech, etc) and/or equipment (use of computer), these exams will continue to be proctored in the SAS office by our staff, not in the Satellite Testing Center. Students taking exams in SAS with specialized software should schedule exams 3 Business days in advance by emailing email@example.com. Faculty of students using specialized software should email their student’s Exam and the Exam Administration Form to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions or concerns please contact Student Accessibility Services at email@example.com.
Student Accessibility Services
Students registered with SAS may require exam accommodations such as extended testing time, distraction-reduced testing environment, or adaptive software (such as speech to text or text to speech). Instructors should make arrangements to provide accommodations and the appropriate testing environment as specified in the student’s Letter of Accommodation (LOA). In the case where the student utilizes specialized software or equipment for tests, the student can schedule to take their exam at SAS one week in advance.
We encourage faculty to continue to use the same creative and effective methods you have developed over the past year for meeting these needs. This may be accomplished through the continued use of an online examination format, or you may proctor a student exam at a separate time in a classroom or academic department office if the student has the accommodation of a distraction reduced environment. Feel free to consult with SAS if you have any questions or concerns.
Extra Time on Tests/Quizzes Accommodation:
Students who have the accommodation of extra time on tests/quizzes should receive extra time on any test/quiz intended to be completed in a single session and is graded such as; quizzes, pop quizzes, exams, midterms and finals. The additional time is calculated from the total amount of time given to the class to take the test/quiz.
Some options include but are not limited to; before/ after class, utilizing the academic department, or instructors office. If there are conflicting schedules for students or faculty, (i.e. class before and after), faculty and students can discuss alternate times (i.e. the morning of, day before, day after, etc.).
- Extra time for online exams: If an exam is to be completed through an online learning management system, extra time can be added for an individual student. See Online Exam Resource Below
- Extra time for take-home exams: A take-home exam is an exam to be completed outside of the classroom over a period of multiple days. If a student has an attendance accommodation which includes flexible deadlines this may vary. Otherwise, no additional time is required.
Reduced Distraction Environment Accommodation:
Reduced distraction environment means that the student needs to take the exam in an area that is reasonably quiet with low stimuli, when compared to the classroom. The environment doesn’t need to be a silent private setting. The environment can include taking the test with other students and the room chosen must allow for students to start and finish their exams with limited interruptions. Tools that may help further reduce distractions for students may include: noise cancelling headsets, ear plugs, study carrels, etc.
- Reasonable locations include: a reserved conference room, office, or lounge with a door
- Unreasonable locations: a hallway, or a room that people frequent and can’t be reserved.
- Distractions that need to be avoided include, but are not limited to: ringing telephones, conversations, rustling of chairs/papers, excessive movement, typing, traffic, etc.
Specialized Software and/or Equipment Accommodation:
SAS will proctor exams for students that have the software accommodation or specialized equipment. (I.e. text to speech, speech to text software)
- Students should schedule their exams with SAS 1 week in advance
- Faculty should email exams to firstname.lastname@example.org in a word document 48 hours in advance
Other Possible Testing Accommodations:
Other possible testing accommodations include but are not limited to; scrap paper, basic calculator, use of computer, assistance with scantrons, food and drink, chunking (breaking the test up into smaller portions and delivering the portions one at a time). These testing accommodations could be carried out in the classroom or academic department. Please refer to the LOA for any additional testing accommodations.
Delivering a Quiz/Test Online- Resources and Tips for making an Exam more secure:
If a student has an extended test time accommodation, simply extend the time allotted for the test online. If a student has a reduced distraction environment accommodation, the online testing platform option usually allows students to find a reduced distraction environment to take the test in. (However, please make sure to discuss this with the student prior to the test to verify the student is still receiving a reduced distraction environment).
- Extending Test Time Online: Click Here for Step by Step Guide
- If you would like to distribute a more secure online test similar to closed-note testing, LockDown Browser is useful.
- Respondus LockDown Browser (RLDB): is a locked browser that prevents students from printing, copying, capturing screen content, going to another URL, or accessing other applications during an assessment. When the RLDB is enabled for a quiz or exam, students will be required to download and use RLDB to take the quiz or exam.
Q: A student in my class has asked me for certain classroom accommodations due to a disability. Whose job is it to make sure the student receives those?
A: Compliance with the law is all of our responsibility!
Students are responsible for providing appropriate documentation to SAS to receive a Letter of Accommodation (LOA) and communicating with their instructors in a timely manner about their accommodations. They are also responsible for completing the requirements of the course as specified in the syllabus, with modifications determined to be necessary by their LOA.
Faculty members are responsible for ensuring that a student with disabilities receives the classroom accommodations to which they are entitled under the law.
SAS is responsible for reviewing documentation to ensure that each registered student does indeed have a disability as defined by the law and is therefore a member of a protected class. SAS is also responsible for assessing each student’s need for accommodations and ensuring that the accommodations in their LOA are reasonable and appropriate to establish equity of access to educational opportunities at JCU.
SAS also serves as a resource center for both students and faculty who are navigating accommodations needs. SAS can (and does) help faculty learn how to provide accommodations in ways that meet the pedagogical requirements of the class, but does not serve as the provider of those accommodations.
Q: A student in my class has asked me to proctor their exam with extended time in a reduced-distraction environment. Isn’t it SAS’s job to proctor student exams if a student requires this accommodation?
A: As discussed above, SAS’s primary role is as a resource center for students and faculty, not a provider of accommodations. In the past, as a courtesy to our faculty and students, SAS provided or procured space for students at JCU who required certain accommodations (typically, extended time on exams and a reduced-distraction environment for taking them). SAS is no longer able to provide such options due to limited space and COVID-19 protocols.
Q: I appreciated being able to send my students with disabilities to SAS to have their staff proctor quizzes and exams in the testing center. Why has SAS stopped offering this service?
A: There are a number of reasons why this offering has changed over time.
1.) We do not have sufficient space in the SAS suite to permit all students who now require this accommodation to receive it here. The number of students requiring this accommodation now numbers in the hundreds, and if we continue to proctor all exams in our office we estimate that this would be over 1,000 exams each semester, with many of those occurring simultaneously. Our office can only safely allow 8 students at a time in our space under current COVID capacity limits. When those limits are lifted, the room will be able to accommodate 15 students at most. Even if we had more rooms available to us, we do not have enough staff to proctor multiple spaces at once.
2) We no longer have sufficient staff in SAS to manage the amount of testing sites needed to meet needs. The number of students registered with SAS has increased dramatically in recent years, while our staff has not. In addition, the accommodations needs of students have become more complicated in that time, requiring that our staff spend more time and resources on the work of reviewing documentation, assessing accommodations needs, and helping individual faculty members, staff members, students and their families navigate the complicated terrain of disability accommodations.
3) Our access to testing technology has improved. We learned many things during the past year of virtual and HyFlex learning; among these was the discovery that sufficient technological resources exist at this point to meet testing accommodations well without requiring a separate testing center. With the transition to remote learning during COVID, and later, during a semester using the HyFlex model, our testing space had to close. During the past year, our faculty adopted various methods for responding to accommodations needs, many of which involved the development of online testing using Canvas. Using testing technology now available in Canvas, it is possible to meet the extended-time accommodation with a simple adjustment of a student’s individual examination settings. It is also possible for a student to take responsibility for finding their own reduced-distraction environment in which to take their exam. We have seen that this method worked well for students and faculty, and we anticipate that many faculty members will continue to utilize this technology to simplify their exam procedures. It is understood that this may mean increased time investment by faculty to change the format and content of exams, but this is a part of our responsibility to provide accessible learning to ALL of our students.
4) Our students prefer to have their exams proctored by their instructors. The feedback we have heard from students is that they prefer to take exams in the classroom or with their instructors to have a similar experience to their peers, to stay in the same environment and have the same access as other students to ask questions.
Please note: SAS in collaboration with other offices on campus are continually seeking innovative solutions to meet the needs of our students and faculty and we will provide updates as we can should any additional solutions present themselves.
Q: What should I do if a student asks me to proctor an exam?
A: We encourage faculty to continue to use the same creative and effective methods you have developed over the past year for meeting these needs. This may be accomplished through the continued use of an online examination format, or you may proctor a student exam at a separate time in a classroom or academic department office if the student has the accommodation of a distraction reduced environment. Feel free to consult with SAS if you have any questions or concerns.
Q: I’m still supposed to include the Accessibility Statement in my syllabus, right?
A: Yes! Instructors are required to to include the Syllabus Statement on Accessibility, Inclusion, Harassment and Bias in every syllabus. The full statement is available here: https://jcu.edu/about-us/values-and-jesuit-tradition/diversity/inclusive-excellence/syllabus-statement. (For courses posted to the Canvas learning management system, this statement is automatically incorporated into the “Learner Support” tab for all student users and need not be reproduced in full in the syllabus itself.) During the first week of the semester, instructors should encourage students to familiarize themselves with this statement and to seek accommodations support from SAS as soon as possible if they are needed. Please contact SAS if you have further questions.
Q: How should I respond to a student who requests remote access to my in-person class due to COVID concerns? Or a student who says they have an accommodation that exempts them from having to wear a mask?
A: In response to COVID protocols this year, SAS is receiving an increased number of accommodation requests for exemptions to in-person learning expectations and mask mandates. All requests do undergo a thorough review process and are considered on a case-by-case basis with required documentation from a licensed provider. To date, SAS has not approved any exemptions to the campus indoor mask mandate nor any specific accommodations that would permit a student to attend all of their in-person classes as a remote student.
For students with an accommodation for an audio recording device or the Sonocent/Glean app, please allow students access to their laptop or mobile device.
Students have been informed that any material captured using this software is for personal use only and should not be shared with anyone.
SAS has audio-recording agreements available upon request of the instructor.
For more information about the Sonocent/Glean app click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbzOsXHlmlg
Instructors are required to to include the Syllabus Statement on Accessibility, Inclusion, Harassment and Bias in every syllabus. The full statement is available here: https://jcu.edu/about-us/values-and-jesuit-tradition/diversity/inclusive-excellence/syllabus-statement. (For courses posted to the Canvas learning management system, this statement is automatically incorporated into the “Learner Support” tab for all student users and need not be reproduced in full in the syllabus itself.)
During the first week of the semester, instructors should encourage students to familiarize themselves with this statement and to seek accommodations support from SAS as soon as possible if they are needed. Please contact SAS if you have further questions.
It is the intent and practice of the office of Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to have all notifications and letters of accommodation to students within the first two weeks of class, thereby allowing the students sufficient time to notify their professors. However, LOA’s (letters of accommodation) may at times be delayed due to late receipt of documentation or delayed request by the student.
We are aware that the tardiness of notification may be disruptive and therefore ask for your patience and cooperation in assisting with appropriate accommodations as necessary.
Please be advised that accommodations are NOT retroactively applied. All accommodations are to be implemented upon receipt of written notification of disability from the SAS office.
Faculty and staff have the right to:
- Hold all students to the same essential course requirements and grading standards.
- Request verification of a student’s eligibility for any requested accommodations. Such verification will be in the form of a letter (Letter of Accommodation) written by SAS and delivered by the student directly to you. (Note: SAS is the only office designated to review disability documentation and determine eligibility for appropriate accommodations. Faculty should not view this documentation)
- Consult with SAS staff regarding alternative accommodations.
- Expect all students to observe academic standards and code of conduct as outlined in the course syllabus and University policies.
- Expect the student to initiate accommodation requests.
Faculty and staff have the following responsibilities:
- Identify and establish essential functions, abilities, skills, and knowledge of their courses and evaluate students on this basis. Students with disabilities should meet the same course essential functions as their peers.
- Provide accommodations only to students who are registered with SAS. It is NOT your responsibility to provide accommodations to students who aren’t registered with SAS.
- Use a syllabus statement and class announcements to invite students to disclose their needs.
- Act immediately upon getting a student’s request for accommodations by providing the service or by contacting SAS (if unsure about request).
- Work to ensure that all audio-visual materials used in class are accessible (e.g., that videos shown are captioned for students with hearing impairments, etc.)
- Treat and protect all disability-related information as confidential medical information. For example, keep printed items, LOAs or emails regarding student disability-related information in a protected location.
- For exams and quizzes given in person, proctor and provide testing accommodations, as specified in the student's LOA, in the classroom and/or academic department.
- Consult with students with disabilities and SAS in providing appropriate accommodations.
NOTE: Faculty do NOT have the right to ask students if they have a disability. For those students registered with SAS, faculty do NOT have the right to ask about the nature of the disability. If students choose to disclose their disability, this information should be treated confidentially.
For those faculty who are teaching courses offered on the course schedule as online, hybrid, or Hyflex, the following are a few frequently asked questions about accommodations in those formats:
1. What should I be considering when adapting my course to an online format, so I can continue to support students with disabilities?
With respect to course web pages, documents, images, and videos: .
- Use clear, consistent layouts and organization schemes for presenting content
- Structure headings (using style features built into the learning management system (Word, PowerPoint, PDFs, etc.) and use built-in designs/layouts (e.g., for PPT slides).
- Use descriptive wording for hyperlink text (e.g., "DO-IT Knowledge Base" rather than "click here").
- Minimize the use of PDFs, especially when presented as an image. Make sure the text is accessible by testing to see if you can copy and paste it, or offer a text-based alternative.
- Provide concise alternative-text descriptions of content presented within images.
- Use large, bold fonts on uncluttered pages with plain backgrounds.
- Use color combinations that are high contrast and can be read by those who are colorblind.
- Make sure all content and navigation is accessible using the keyboard.
- Caption or transcribe video and audio content if requested as an accommodation.
With respect to instructional methods:
- Assume students have a wide range of technology skills and provide options for gaining the technology skills needed for course participation.
- Present content in multiple ways (e.g., in a combination of text, video, audio, and/or image format).
- Address a wide range of language skills as you write content (e.g., spell out terms rather than relying on acronyms alone, define terms).
- Make instructions and expectations clear for activities, projects, and readings.
- Make examples and assignments relevant to learners with a wide variety of interests and backgrounds.
- Offer outlines and other scaffolding tools to help students learn.
- Allow adequate time for activities, projects, and tests (e.g., give details of project assignments in the syllabus so that students can start working on them early).
- Provide options for communicating and collaborating that are accessible to individuals with a variety of disabilities.
- Provide options for demonstrating learning (e.g., different types of test items, portfolios, presentations, discussions).
- Assume that all academic activities will require some sort of accommodation (e.g. tests, visual and audio content, note taking).
2. How does my role in providing online accommodations change when I offer an online course?
You are still legally obligated to provide online accommodations to students registered with SAS. However, the delivery of accommodations will require special attention and look different than in-person class accommodations. Please follow the SAS letter of accommodation provided to you by the student. If you have a concern about an accommodation being delivered, further consultation with SAS may be necessary by emailing email@example.com.
3. How do exam accommodations work in an online exam format?
- Students will be accessing their exam accommodations remotely with typically 50% extra time as stated in the student’s letter of accommodation. You are able to set the extra time on Canvas. (Please visit this link for guidance on extending the time in Canvas.) If you need assistance or have questions about how to set up extra time contact Jay Tarby at firstname.lastname@example.org. For general questions regarding accommodations or questions regarding specific students’ testing accommodations, contact email@example.com. Please refer to the student's letter of accommodation for specific exam accommodations provided for the student.
- Please see "How to Administer Testing Accommodations" for more detailed steps in setting up testing accommodations online
4. How is the accommodation of recording classroom lectures handled?
- If you receive a letter of accommodation with recording of lectures listed as an accommodation, you are legally obligated to provide this accommodation. Not recording in-person classes and synchronous sessions in Zoom creates a major barrier for students with disabilities, as well as students who are ill and students who cannot come to campus.
5. How is the attendance accommodation handled?
- If a student has a letter of accommodation with an attendance accommodation listed and has completed an SAS attendance agreement, you are required to provide this accommodation. This may mean the student will not participate in synchronous class meetings and may need alternate participation or course activities if agreed to by the student, faculty member and SAS.
6. What if a student joins a class remotely but synchronously; should I have them turn their cameras on?
- It is conceivable to imagine an accommodation related to trauma or anxiety to leave the camera off. SAS will consult with the student and instructor on reasonable alternatives to video recording for students with documented disabilities, such as using audio or text instead of video. If faculty choose to invite students to use their video cameras during class, they are encouraged to recognize it may not be possible for all students.
7. Where can I access additional online learning resources?