1. It is ok if you don’t know everything.
This is a challenging time for everyone. Variability in the presentation and consumption of information will vary from class to class. If you have questions about how to best serve students with academic accommodations contact G.L. Wallace (glw3) and Jean Grant (jmg4).
2. The Office of Accessible Education is still operational. Use it….
OAE is still operating Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. All appointments and services will be conducted via phone or virtually until further notice.
You can also contact GL Wallace via text or phone (413 200 7997) REACH OUT ANY TIME YOU HAVE A QUESTION OR CONCERN.
3. Academic Accommodations will continue during online instruction. Provide Guidance to students on how to request assistance.
Existing accommodations provided for in-person instruction will continue during online instruction, though modifications may be warranted in some cases. Please contact OAE to discuss any concerns or questions you may have related to the provision of accommodations in your online course.
4. Asynchronous Learning Environments are more accessible.
If you are using forms of synchronous (real-time) instruction, you should also provide an asynchronous option.
5. Provide clear and preferred avenues of communication.
Communicate clearly where assignments should be submitted, how and when students should make contact.
6. Provide a text equivalent for everything.
Provide image descriptions for photos, graphics, etc. Avoid images of text. Captions on videos, and transcripts for audio is preferred. You are encouraged to write scripts for anything you are recording.
7. If giving tests, make sure you know how to add time and 1/2 and double time.
The good folks in IT can provide assistance in this area when necessary.
8. Relax (or eliminate) participation and attendance policies.
Many students may be dealing with health issues for themselves or their families.
9. A note taker may be essential.
Many of our courses have a note taker assigned. You may consider requesting this support for your entire class (particularly if there is some form of synchronous learning). We would recommend a student to take notes for the class in Google docs. This will help others focus while one person documents what was said. If you have someone designated to take notes , you can enable closed captions, which allows your notetaker to transcribe what’s being said in real time.
10. Be aware of the ongoing emotional needs of your students.
Many students using accommodations have hidden conditions, often emotional in nature. Many more students with mental health challenges have never requested or used accommodations. Finally, the current uncertainty and change may even precipitate new mental health challenges in your students. We encourage you to be aware of the following: a. Remote classrooms under the best of circumstances can be disorienting and lonely for students who are used to face-to-face interactions. This can amplify pre-existing mental health challenges. b. Be mindful of social isolation and ask students how they are managing and what you can do to help. c. Anxiety can impact all aspects of attention. Consider building time and redundancy into your remote curriculum, assessments and messaging to students.