Indiana University is committed to providing an accessible and inclusive learning environment for all students. As you are aware, in an effort to combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), President Michael McRobbie announced Indiana University is suspending face-to-face classes and transitioning to virtual learning for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester. Below is important information on the accessibility of web-based content and disability-related accommodations for courses so that all students can fully participate in online learning.
Is the Office of Disability Support Services (DSS) open?
The DSS office is still operating by providing services remotely. All student appointments and consultations will be conducted via phone or video conference using Zoom.
Please contact Anne Drake at email@example.com or call 574-520-4256 to set up an appointment or if you have questions.
If I am registered and have not yet requested my accommodation letter for the semester, can I still do that?
Yes, please contact DSS as soon as possible. Please note that failure to timely submit documentation or request your memo may result in a delay in the implementation of your approved accommodation(s).
Will exams be administered by the DSS staff?
DSS is proctoring exams in person and virtually for spring of 2021. Please communicate with your instructor about how your exams and other evaluations will be handled. Online testing should allow for students to continue to receive their approved accommodations, including those for students requiring additional time. If you have an approved accommodation for a quiet or private test setting, that accommodation is met by taking the exam online at home.
Some instructors may opt for alternative assessments (i.e. papers) which would not require exam accommodations. If an instructor moves to untimed exams or extended time exams for all students (such as 24 hours to complete the exam), students are expected to allocate their time within that time frame to complete the exam. You will not be given additional time.
We recognize that, at times, specific accommodations may not transition equitably to an online format. The DSS staff is available to consult with instructors and students about any unique circumstances.
How do I extend time on Canvas in online exams?
Your instructor will extend the time for exams and quizzes through Canvas consistent with your accommodation memo.
I currently use a volunteer note-taker in my in-person class. Now that class is online, will I still receive a copy of the notes?
As each instructor determines how to adapt courses for virtual learning, please connect with your instructor about your needs. You may find that you no longer need a note-taker due to the course design changes. For example, lectures that are recorded can be watched at your own pace.
Does this affect my accommodation for disability-related absences ?
Complete disability-related absence agreements will be honored, though reasonable modification to the structure of the agreement may be needed with the shift to online instruction. Please contact your instructors to discuss any additional barriers presented by changes in the course format. Let DSS know if you need assistance.
With the switch to virtual instruction, I anticipate barriers and would like to request new accommodations. What are my next steps?
Accommodations are considered and approved on a case-by-case basis. If at any time your needs change, please contact DSS as soon as possible.
Many students have accommodations for hidden disabilities, often emotional in nature. Most students with mental health challenges have never requested or used accommodations. The uncertainty and change brought on by this situation may bring on new mental health challenges for students. Please note the following:
Even the best designed online classrooms can be disorienting and lonely for students that are used to face-to-face interactions. This can aggravate pre-existing mental health challenges.
Anxiety can impact all aspects of attention. Building in extended time for assignments/assessments and redundancy into messaging to students may be helpful.
Only the student can decide to disclose a disability, or to pursue information about services available from disability services.
If you suspect a student is struggling and might benefit from disability services, engage them in a private, inquiring, and supportive conversation. Do not assume nor ask if they have a non-disclosed disability. Instead, let students know of your concern and that many campus services are available to them and include the disability services office in the list you mention.
Any student requesting accommodations and has not presented an accommodation memo with those accommodation should be directed to the campus disability services office.