COVID-19 and Disability Services Operations
Q: Is Disability Services still open?
Yes, Disability Services is still operating Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. All appointments and services will be conducted via phone or virtually until further notice. Disability Services will be unable to proctor exams while remote teaching is in place at North Dakota State University.
If you have a question or concern, please contact Disability Services at 701-231-8463 and leave a voicemail or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Q: What happens now that exams are online? How do I get extended time for an online exam?
Disability Services will not be able to proctor exams while the University’s instruction remains online only. Please communicate with your instructors to discuss your exam accommodations in their courses. Disability Services is available to instructors and students to consult about unique circumstances.
- Some instructors may opt for alternative assessments (e.g. essays, untimed exams) which would not require exam accommodations.
- If your instructor is creating online timed exams, please notify your instructor if you will need extended time. Academic departments are responsible for setting up extended testing time in Blackboard. Instructions for instructors on extending times on Blackboard can be found here Blackboard Test Availability Exceptions.
Q: I currently have a volunteer note-taker assigned in my in-person class. Now that the class is online, will I still receive a copy of the notes?
Once you have learned from your instructor how they will adapt the course for remote teaching, please let Disability Services know if you would like to continue receiving notes.
You may find that you no longer need a note-taker due to the course design changes. For example, lectures that are prerecorded videos can be watched at your own pace. On the other hand, some instructors may still opt for scheduled class meetings with real-time communication.
Regardless of your decision to continue receiving notes, all established note-takers will receive compensation for their notes.
Q: Does this affect Absence Extension Agreements?
Completed Absence Extension agreements, supporting occasional absences and extensions, will be honored, though reasonable modifications to the structure of the agreements may be needed with the shift to remote teaching. Please contact your instructors to discuss any additional barriers presented by changes to the course format. Please contact Disability Services if you have any questions or issues.
Q: With the switch to all-virtual instruction, I anticipate barriers and would like to request new accommodations. What are my next steps?
If you are not currently registered with Disability Services, please click on the link for Application Process and register with Disability Services. Once you have uploaded your documentation, you will get an email requesting you to set up a virtual meeting with a Disability Specialist. Please be aware that because of the increased support requests that there may be an increased wait time before we can set up your meeting.
If you are already registered with Disability Services, please contact Claudia at 701-231-7323
and leave a voicemail or email us at email@example.com
Q: As I am adapting my course materials for remote teaching, what should I be considering with regard to accessibility? How do I best support my students?
We acknowledge the significant effort required to quickly adapt your courses to remote teaching. We want to collaborate with you to ensure that access for students with disabilities is maintained through this transition. Some students may encounter disability-related barriers with remote teaching or assessment (e.g. students who use assistive technology, students with medical limitations on screen usage). Disability Services staff are available for consultation regarding best practices and accessibility. Please call us at 701-231-8463 and leave a voicemail or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have students in your course who are utilizing accessible media, please notify Disability Services of any added materials by contacting email@example.com . Disability Services is working proactively with instructors of Deaf/Hard of Hearing students to ensure captioning for prerecorded videos and/or arranging interpreting/transcribing services for real-time classes. The team is also working proactively with instructors of our visually impaired students to discuss accessibility strategies for course lectures, documents, activities, etc.
Below are some tips to keep in mind as you are creating remote teaching content (adapted from DO-IT):
- Use clear, consistent layouts and organization schemes for presenting content, and make instructions and expectations clear for activities, projects, and assigned reading.
- Offer outlines, scaffolding tools, and adequate opportunities for practice to help students learn.
- When selecting new materials, try to find videos that are already captioned, and articles that are available in a text-searchable format (meaning you can highlight and search the text within the document; click here for an example).
- Images can be made accessible to blind and low-vision students by providing captions or inserting alt text into the image. Use large, bold fonts on uncluttered pages with plain backgrounds and color combinations that are high contrast.
- Provide flexibility and understanding as this experience may cause disruption to the student’s home life and available resources – which may negatively impact a student’s disability symptoms.
Q: How will exam accommodations work? Will Disability Services proctor online exams?
Extended time on exams as an accommodation generally only applies to traditional, time-limited exams. If you decide to offer alternative means of assessment (e.g. non-timed exams, project work), then a student’s extended time may no longer be applicable. We encourage you to speak with registered students if that is the case.
Disability Services will not be proctoring exams while the University’s instruction remains online only. All exams should be administered online or through other remote assessment methods by faculty. Academic departments are responsible for setting up extended testing time in Blackboard. Instructions for extending exam times in Blackboard can be found here Blackboard Test Availability Exceptions.
Please communicate with your students to discuss their exam accommodations in your courses. Disability Services is available to consult with instructors and students on exam accommodations.
Q: Does this affect Absence Extension Agreements?
Completed Absence Extensions agreements should be honored, though reasonable modifications to the structure of the agreements may be needed with the shift to online instruction. Students with Absence Extension agreements should be contacting you to discuss any additional barriers, if any, presented by changes to the course format. Disability Services is available to instructors and students to consult.
Here are a few tips on how you can make your content more accessible.
Critical Accessibility Supports for Remote Teaching