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Faculty Information

Faculty play an integral role in providing accommodations for students in their courses. The Office of Accessibility Resources works in partnership with faculty to fulfill the required accommodation needs of our students while balancing curriculum expectations. Our webpage provides resources to assist with this balancing act. Faculty are encouraged to seek assistance with any questions or concerns by contacting the OAR at (828) 227-3886 or accessibility@wcu.edu. We look forward to working with you.

General Questions

Beginning Fall 2021, the OAR will be launching a new Accessible Information Management system (AIM). AIM is an online accommodation management portal that facilitates interaction with the OAR, faculty, staff and students. Students will independently coordinate their accommodations. The system protects confidential information about the students and allows for streamlined communication between students, faculty and staff. To access the AIM instructor portal, look for the AIM Faculty Portal button on the right of this page. For help, please contact the OAR office. 

AIM Faculty Instructions

Students registered with the OAR should send you their accommodation request through AIM. AIM will then email you the request. You will then need to sign into the AIM portal to access your students' accommodation request. Your students' accommodations will be clearly stated in AIM.

Students are asked to follow-up with you regarding their accommodation request.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our office. 

The OAR encourages but does not require students to meet with you at the beginning of the semester to discuss their Accommodation Letter. However, a student can register, receive and present letters at any time during the semester. Accommodations are not retroactive and you are under no obligation to allow a student to re-do exams or work for which they did not request accommodations in advance.

If a student request an accommodation, you are only allowed to ask them for the Accommodation Letter from the OAR. Documentation describing and supporting a students' diagnosis is considered confidential information. Faculty should not receive, evaluate or maintain documentation of a disability. When you recieve an Accommodation Letter from the OAR, the student's accommodation request has been completed and appropriately documented.

More information on our documentation guildines

The OAR does not provide testing or diagnostic evaluations. However, we can refer the student to on- and off-campus resources for assessment.

Talk privately with the student to discuss your observations. Do not diagnose or assume that the student's problems are due to a disability. Discuss your observations. Ask questions. If appropriate, refer the student to the OAR or other campus resources (such as Counseling and Psychological Services, the Writing and Learning Commons or the Math Tutoring Center).

Students with disabilities have the same rights as other students, including the right to fail. Work produced by a student with a disability should be of equal quality to that of their peers. Provision of accommodations is not a guarantee for success.

Talk to the student as you would any student who is struggling in your class. Discuss your observations. If appropriate, refer the student to the OAR or other campus resources (such as Counseling and Psychological Services, the Writing and Learning Commons or the Math Tutoring Center).

No. You are not required to provide accommodations without the Accommodation Letter from the OAR. Please refer the student to the OAR for assistance with their request.

No. Providing accommodations"levels the playing field" for students with disabilities by reducing or removing barriers to learning. Accommodations allow students with disabilities the same opportunities as their peers to learn and demonstrate mastery.

You will not be asked to lower standards or alter core academic requirements of your classes. Students with disabilities are expected to meet all course requirements.

Test Accommodations & Proctoring

Test accommodations level the playing field and mitigate barriers, allowing students with disabilities to demonstrate their knowledge of the course content. Accommodations may relate to the testing time limit but may also include changes in format or administration.

Testing accommodatons are a common request and assist a variety or students with differing abilities. Requests for assistive technologies, additional testing time and utilization of a distraction-reduced testing environment are all common accommodation requests provided by the OAR. However, we discuss each accommodation request with our students to ensure their requests for reasonable accommodations are provided. 

Ultimately, you as faculty are responsible for all student testing for your class, including accommodated testing. You may work with the student to administer the test with the student's accommodations. However, the OAR is available to proctor tests with accommodations for students.

The OAR makes every effort to maintain the integrity of exams. Students are requiered to leave all belongings and unapproved materials in our office during testing. All testing sessions are monitored and recorded. Exams are secured in a locked file until administered and completed exams are shredded once we receive faculty acknowledgement of receipt.

Any violation of the Academic Intergrity Policy will result in the termination of the testing session and our office will contact the faculty member regarding the incident.

Students are responsible for following the procedure for arranging accommodated testing through the OAR. 
LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS PROCEDURE

The student should request test proctoring three or more business days in advance by completing the Student Request - OAR Test Proctoring Services form. The OAR will then contact the faculty member via email with a notification of the request. Faculty will complete the Faculty Confirmation Proctoring form for each student taking the test.

The faculty can submit the exam via email at least one day prior to the exam date. You may also submit the exam via delivery to our office or via the form attachment. Exams can be returned to you by email, delivery or pick-up.

Once a student has completed the test, an OAR staff member will send you an email to confirm test completion.

Paper test may be scanned and returned via email, but you will need to confirm receipt. Also, you must acknowledge the legibility of the document before our staff shreds the original copy.

Other Helpful Faculty Information

Kurzweil 3000 is a program available by the OAR to not only support accessible features to students, but also to allow faculty the ability to support their classroom functions online (document sharing, testing, etc.)  Faculty and students can now register for an account.

Students and faculty who utilize Kurzweil 3000 will benefit from assistive technology tools that make documents, websites, and other platforms more accessible, including but not limited to: text to speech in 31 voices, text to speech in 11 languages, translations for 100+ languages, speech to text, note taking tools, word prediction, writing templates, accessibility for testing accommodations, text magnification tools, multiple dictionaries, synonym/thesaurus tools, multi-color highlighters, 7 color overlays, talking spell checker, read the web extensions for chrome and Firefox, integrated reading/writing/study skill tools, etc.

  1. Think through questions you need to ask and answer: What considerations and information will you use to answer the questions asked by students concerning their accommodations? Utilize on and off-campus resources.

  2. Work with campus technical support who specialize in the learning management systems you are using, with consideration of students who may also use assistive technology. Students with vision impairments, blindness, hearing impairments, deafness, and other processing and print type disabilities may be faced with new challenges with online instruction and changes to how content is now provided.
  1. Revisit student accommodation letters in your courses.
  2. Invite students to talk with you if they have a concern and reinforce their right to accommodations. Discuss possible changes to the accommodations (i.e., testing) in an online environment. Develop a plan and provide supportive communication with the students about their accommodation to know what to expect.
  3. Outreach and collaboration with campus partners. No one individual, department, or unit can be everything to everyone; use campus offices and colleagues established to address and support issues.

Some accommodations require helpful guidance and agreement between the student and the faculty. Typically, a student with flexibility with attendance/assignment accommodations has a disability which is a chronic condition with random or cyclical acute episodes having functional impacts on class participation. Flexibility with attendance/assignment accommodations should be established in advance, not retroactively. Documentation with this accommodation must be updated annually unless otherwise noted.

A special agreement and understanding between the student and faculty can be helpful as this accommodation is not intended to allow for unlimited absences, and does not alleviate the student from the expected course standards. It is recommended that the student and faculty use the Guidance and Agreement for “Flexibility with Attendance/Assignment”  form and questions #1-4 to clarify the student’s participation expectation in the course, process to notify the faculty of such absences, and procedure for turning in, and/or making-up related assignments and tests.

Test accommodations

  • Most learning management systems (LMS) have an option for setting extended test time. Work with the online support and technology staff to be sure that you know the necessary functions and accessibility features.
  • As noted in authorized student accommodation letters for students with test accommodations, the OAR provides a reminder:
    • as applicable, faculty and instructors add extended time in platforms used for testing/quizzes.
  • Consider students who frequently test with the OAR may need attention, and problem-solving as the method for how you provide timed tests to all students may need to differ for students with accommodations. For example, a discussion or plan may be helpful for students to take paper-and-pencil tests if an online test cannot be made accessible.
  • Remember the OAR uses and provides free Kurzweil 3000 accounts to all faculty, students, and staff. Kurzweil 3000 supports accessible features, testing accommodations, document sharing, text to speech, speech to text, and many other assistive aids that can help during this period of change. Faculty, students, and staff can access their personalized Kurzweil 3000 Account.
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