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Reasonable accommodations

Metropolitan State will provide reasonable accommodation(s) upon request to an otherwise qualified employee or student as required by law. Reasonable accommodations ensure equal access to university employment, educational opportunities, programs, services, and activities in the most integrated setting appropriate to the individual’s needs. Accommodation(s) cannot impose an undue hardship upon the university, constitute a fundamental alteration to a program, or compromise academic integrity. It is the responsibility of the students and employees to make their disability status and subsequent need for an accommodation known. Reasonable accommodations do not guarantee success, but do guarantee access.

Faculty will know a student requires accommodations when they receive a student’s Semester Accommodations Letter via email and/or in person from the student. The form will identify the specific accommodations for which the student is eligible. Students are encouraged to discuss their accommodation needs at the beginning of each semester with their instructors. 

Information about the specifics of a disabling condition is personal and treated as confidential by the university. Some people may wish to keep specific disability information confidential, while others openly discuss their diagnoses. The decision to disclose disability information is up to the individual. In most cases, you can best accommodate a person by asking about their needs related to fulfilling the requirements of their work or a course. If you have specific questions about working with a person that has shared accommodation needs, please contact Center for Accomodation Resources (CAR).

Federal, state mandates and Minnesota State Board policy 1B.4 require that eligible individuals have equal educational and/or employment opportunities; accommodations eliminate or lessen the barriers a person experiences while participating in courses, activities and services offered by the university. Individuals who are registered with CAR are entitled to the accommodations listed in the accommodation letter. However, some accommodations do not fit with a particular course, i.e. providing a note taker for an asynchronous or independent study course. Providing reasonable accommodations is a shared responsibility between CAR, the faculty and all other university employees. If you have concerns about your ability to provide certain accommodations, please contact CAR (651.793.1549 or accessibility.resources@metrostate.edu) immediately. 

If a student asks for an accommodation and you have not received a Semester Accommodations Letter, which verifies eligibility for accommodations, please contact CAR immediately. Faculty are strongly advised to encourage students seeking accommodations to register with CAR and not provide ad hoc accommodations. Similarly, if a student asks you for an accommodation, and that specific accommodation is not listed in the letter, you are not obligated to provide it. If you believe a student has a disability they have not disclosed, it would be appropriate to refer a student to CAR, however students must contact CAR voluntarily. 

Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis and are based on the individual’s self-report, accommodation history and documentation from an appropriate medical, mental health, or other professional. CAR determines eligibility for accommodations after a careful review of the documentation and discussion with the person to determine which accommodations are reasonable and appropriate. Faculty will be consulted on a class-by-class basis to ensure the requested accommodations do not fundamentally alter essential curriculum components. All students, including students with disabilities, are expected to meet the requirement of each course. Supervisors will be consulted to ensure requested employee accommodations do not fundamentally alter essential job duties. All employees must be able to perform essential job duties with or without an accommodation. 

All students, including students with disabilities are expected to adhere to the university’s student conduct code. If disruptive behavior occurs, the instructor should give the student fair warning, if the behavior persists, contact the Dean of Students or a member of the Behavioral Intervention Team. Additionally, feel free to contact Student Counseling Services at 651.793.1528 or CAR if you have questions or concerns. 

Accessible transportation

Accessible vehicles must be provided for any university sponsored event or course. If you need assistance with this or have questions, please contact CAR at 651.793.1549 or accessibility.resources@metrostate.edu.

Attendance requirements

Students who believe that they cannot adhere to an attendance policy because of circumstances directly related to a disability may seek an accommodation.

As with all accommodations, the process for students to initiate a request for attendance accommodations is through CAR. All requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis and in consultation with the course instructor.

If you are contacted by CAR about possible flexibility in your attendance policy, we will be interested in understanding the role attendance plays in the design of your course.

Specifically, CAR staff will explore:

  • What is the course policy regarding attendance?
  • Is the attendance policy applied consistently? Are there exceptions to the policy made for extenuating circumstances, such as religious observation?
  • How much interaction is there between the instructor and students and among students during class?
  • Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process?
  • Does the design of the course rely on student participation as a significant method for learning?
  • To what degree does a student's failure to attend class compromise the educational experience of other students in the class? If an accommodation is determined to be reasonable, CAR will work with you and the student to clearly specify:
  • How and when the student should inform you when they will miss class
  • How the student will make-up missed work
  • The number of absences that would be reasonable
  • Whether a late drop or grade of incomplete would be appropriate should absences become unexpectedly excessive. 

Please note:

  • An accommodation in attendance is not reasonable if regular attendance is essential to the course and/or curriculum or the number of accommodated absences becomes excessive.
  • You should never waive essential academic components of the course.
  • Students who receive an attendance accommodation are responsible for all course work and do not have blanket permission to miss class. 
  • It may be determined that a grade of Incomplete is an appropriate accommodation if a student has completed substantial course work, but is unable finish the course due to their disability. 
  • Requests for flexibility in assignment deadlines will be discussed separately and may or may not be determined to be reasonable. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Center for Accessibility Resources.

Assignment deadlines

Students who believe that they cannot meet assignment deadlines because of circumstances directly related to a disability may seek an accommodation.

As with all accommodations, the process for students to initiate a request for assignment deadline accommodations is through the Center for Accessibility Resources. All requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis and in consultation with the course instructor.

If you are contacted by CAR about possible flexibility in your assignment deadlines, we will be interested in understanding the role these deadlines play in the design of your course.

Specifically, CAR staff will explore:

  • What is the course policy regarding assignment deadlines?
  • Is the deadline policy applied consistently? Are there exceptions to the policy made for extenuating circumstances, such as religious observation or illness?
  • Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process, for example do students provide feedback on assignments such as through online discussion posts?
  • To what degree does a student's failure to complete assignments by the deadline compromise the educational experience of other students in the class?

If an accommodation is determined to be reasonable, CAR will work with you and the student to clearly specify:

  • How and when the student should inform you when they will need an extension for a specific assignment.
  • How the student will make-up missed work
  • The number of additional days that would be reasonable
  • Whether a late drop or grade of incomplete would be appropriate should requests for extensions become unexpectedly excessive.

Please note:

  • An accommodation in assignment deadlines is not reasonable if these deadlines are essential to the course and/or curriculum or the number of accommodated extensions becomes excessive.
  • You should never waive essential academic components of the course.
  • Students who receive an assignment extension accommodation are responsible for all course work and do not have blanket permission to not turn in work or turn it all in at the end of the term.
  • It may be determined that a grade of Incomplete is an appropriate accommodation if a student has completed substantial course work, but is unable finish the course due to their disability. 
  • Requests for flexibility in attendance will be discussed separately and may or may not be determined to be reasonable. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Center for Accessibility Resources.

Document conversion

As an instructor there are several things you can do to assure all your students have access to course materials in a format that is accessible with assistive technologies and mobile devices. It takes time to create an accessible version of printed textbooks that can be accessed by screen readers and text-to-speech technologies. With the time factor in mind, consider:

  • Select and order your books early -- the sooner you post your materials the sooner we can start working on this.
  • CAR may reach out if your materials have not been received by the bookstore when we begin working on semester-related materials. Ask the publisher if an accessible, electronic version of the text is available. Additionally, check with vendors about accessibility of pre-packaged/third-party software used for homework solutions, assignments, assessments, etc.
  • Prepare your course syllabus early. Be sure to include dates and pages for required readings so CAR can provide course materials in time for class
  • Assist in locating print materials for conversion
  • Your student or CAR may contact you for a copy of your book, syllabus or online materials in order to scan them and create accessible electronic files
  • Post accessible information on D2L
  • CAR Staff may be added to your D2L course site in order to convert inaccessible course content into accessible electronic files.

More resources are available on creating accessible course materials and content.

Contact Center for Accessibility Resources at 651.793.1549 or accessibility.resources@metrostate.edu if you would like additional information about the document conversion process.

An accessible, electronic, version of a printed textbook is acquired by either requesting an electronic copy directly from the publisher or by scanning and converting the book manually.

Exams and quizzes

Instructors can create exams and learning assessments that are flexible and rarely require accommodations. However, when exams pose disability-related barriers, effective accommodations must be available.

Various testing accommodations can be arranged. CAR encourages students to discuss with their instructors possible ways to provide their testing accommodation. Most students prefer to take their test in the CAR testing room. However, faculty can arrange with students to take their test at other locations, only if the accommodation requirements are fulfilled. Please be mindful of confidentiality of the student when making such arrangements. Students who take their test with the class have the advantage of being able to ask questions and to learn about exam changes in a more timely manner. 

Administer your own exams with accommodations

If you plan to provide test accommodations yourself, ensure that they are effective. This means:

  • All accommodations identified as reasonable are provided.
  • The test space is appropriate for concentrated effort.
  • Students clearly understand when they need to finish the exam.
  • An effective strategy is to note the start time, required end time, and completed exam time on the test.

You may provide extended test time by:

  • Allowing the student to test in a quiet, uninterrupted office or conference room
  • A staff member can proctor the student in this location
  • When the classroom is available, asking the student to take the majority of the test with the class but begin early or stay late
  • Testing the student with the class, but allowing him or her to finish the exam in your office or another appropriate location
  • Instructions for extending the time allotted when using D2L or other online tools to administer exams or quizzes.

If you plan to administer your own tests with accommodations, let CAR know, 651.793.1549 or accessibility.resources@metrostate.edu. We will discuss your plan with you to ensure that it meets the needs of the particular student.

Online exams

Setting Extended time in Learning Management Systems (D2L)

If you need assistance or have questions about how to do this, please contact Institutional Effectiveness and Technology (IET). 

D2L - Disable Right Click option

Disable right click prevents participants from right clicking in a quiz window, inhibiting (but not completely eliminating) the participants' ability to cheat by limiting their options. However, enabling this limitation also creates a barrier for students using assistive technologies such as text-to-speech software. To provide access, remove the "Disable-Right Click" check mark or contact IET to discuss additional options.

CAR exam administration procedures

Scheduling

Students who wish to take their exams in CAR initiate the process by completing the Test Accommodation Request form in person at the CAR suite, or online at the CAR webpage. Students must request accommodations online at least 4 business days prior to each exam during the regular semester when requesting an appointment Monday through Friday during regular business hours. Additionally, appointment requests for Monday - Friday with a start or end time of 6 pm or later and Saturdays are needed 10 business days prior to any the requested date.

Instructors are under no obligation to accommodate students who do not meet the CAR deadline.

Once the form is completed and submitted, CAR contacts you for exam administration instructions. Instructors have the right to choose the date and time the test should be administered. Keep in mind that there may be other factors that limit availability of students as well as CAR staff. 

Receipt and delivery

Exams can be sent to CAR, preferably by emailing them to accessibility.resources@metrostate.edu with a completed cover sheet. They can also be sent by messenger/drop off to the CAR office (New Main, room L223). Completed exams will be returned electronically via email completed exam to instructor. Additional options include:

  • Instructor picks up completed exam from the CAR office
  • Interoffice mail the completed exam
  • Student hand delivers to instructor (not available during Final Exams)

Administration

Exams taken at the CAR are scheduled as close to class time as possible unless there is a conflict.

Exam Integrity

All tests received at CAR are treated confidentially and stored securely.

Students:

  • Identify themselves with a picture ID;
  • Are instructed to leave all non-exam materials outside of the testing area, including backpacks, cell phones, and smart watches.
  • Are monitored while testing; including remote monitoring of computers, if the test warrants.

Academic Dishonesty Procedures:

  • Questionable materials are confiscated.
  • CAR provides the instructor with details of what was observed and any confiscated materials.
  • Student is directed to follow up with the instructor.
  • Sanctions are up to the instructor. CAR may contact the Dean of Students office to report a Code of Conduct violation if requested by the instructor or department.

ASL interpreters/CART captioners

CAR employs certified and licensed ASL Interpreters, and certified CART Captioners (Communication Access Realtime Translation) to provide services to individuals who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. These services are available for all university sponsored activities (classes, meetings, workshops, performances, etc.).

Shared responsibility

Interpreters and captioners are working for you as well as the Deaf person. Both of you share the responsibility for requesting services. Typically, the student begins the process by requesting accommodations for classes and CAR schedules those services. All other requests for services may come from either yourself of the Deaf person. You may want to ask the Deaf person who will initiate the request.

Requesting interpreters, CART captioners, and captioning of videos

  • If you are a Deaf or Hard of Hearing student, make your request via email at interpreting.services@metrostate.edu, or in person in the CAR office. If you have questions or problems using the form, please contact Julie Bauch, 651.793.1539 or julie.bauch@metrostate.edu.
  • Interpreters and Captioners follow a Code of Ethics that includes strict confidentiality of all person and assignment related information. They will introduce themselves and answer any questions about their work. All personal questions should be directed to the Deaf individual. The interpreter or captioner is only present to facilitate communication. Of course, the interpreter and captioner are human too, and may be willing to talk before or after the assignment.
  • The interpreter or captioner will discuss with you and the Deaf student regarding the location in your classroom where they can best provide their service and any lighting issues that may occur during your presentation. They may also request technical vocabulary and other preparatory materials to allow them to provide the best services possible.
  • IET will grant the interpreter or captioner access to class information posted to D2L by virtue of its relationship with D2L. CAR may also contact you to request access to other online course content.

Working with a Deaf individual

  • Speak directly to the Deaf person (do not say "tell him/her").
  • Encourage appropriate turn taking by having only one speaker at a time.
  • Due to the nature of the interpreting process the Deaf person receives the spoken message a little later than others in attendance. You can help accommodate this delay by allowing more time for questions and transitions.
  • The Deaf person needs to watch the interpreter of the computer screen for CART in order to access the information. You can accommodate this need by allowing additional time to look at visual materials.
  • Projecting materials on the screen when possible allows a Deaf person to follow along when materials are being read aloud in class. Other students appreciate this as well.

Working with an interpreter

  • Speak directly to the student and not to the interpreter.
  • The interpreter may be several words or sentences behind you. Therefore, when you ask a question or take class comments, allow time for the interpreter to finish conveying information.
  • Interpreters work in teams to control for fatigue and support accuracy. While they are in different roles, both interpreters are working at all times.

Working with a CART captioner

  • CART captioners send a copy of the lecture text to the student after each class.
  • The transcript is only for the deaf student and not shared with other class members.
  • For more information on using Interpreters or CART Captioners, Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP)has a series of module you can access by setting up an account.

Lecture content

Course design, instruction and delivery of content is ever changing. As an instructor, you may utilize technology, supplemental resources and other innovative strategies to foster learning and engagement in your classroom.

Instructional Strategies to make your class more accessible:

  • Provide lecture notes in electronic format. Text in electronic form can be paired with screen-reading software, which makes printed material accessible for students with various learning disabilities, visual impairments, or limited mobility. Additionally, students who qualify for use of note-takers can access electronic notes independently, instead of relying on classmates to make copies of notes. 
  • Provide clear copies of handouts. When handouts are copied clearly, they can be easily converted for use with screen-reading software. 
  • Include information about obtaining accommodations on your syllabi.
    • It is Metro State University’s obligation to inform students of CAR. See list of sample statements for options. 

Consider students’ diverse abilities and learning styles when developing lectures and assignments. Any or all of your classes may include students with learning disabilities, visual or hearing disabilities or other functional limitations or weaknesses. You can contribute to the success of your students by imagining the obstacles an assignment may present to a student with a disability. 

For most students, having access to quality notes as a study aid is an integral part of their learning. CAR encourages you to consider instructional design techniques that minimize the need for an individual "note-taking" accommodation by providing notes and resources to all students.

Consider providing instructional and supplemental materials for all students to minimize the need for individual accommodations and so that all students benefit from your good course design:

  • Post PowerPoint slides or lecture notes on a course website or D2L.
  • Use lecture capture or podcasting your lecture, inclusive of PowerPoint slides.
  • Assign students to teams and rotate responsibility each week for the team to create a complete set of notes to be shared with the class.
  • Use a workbook to summarize information covered in class and provide classroom time for students to collaborate in completing it.
  • Allow and encourage students to use recorders, laptops and other smart technology apps to capture important lecture content. When access to lecture content is still a barrier for a disabled student, CAR encourages the student to meet with us to discuss options.
  • You will be notified if CAR determines that an accommodation is necessary.

You may be asked to:

  • Find a volunteer note-taker from your class to share notes with this student individually or via a secure location. Volunteer note-takers will receive formal recognition for their work by filling out the Note-taker Registration form.
  • Provide a copy of your complete notes to the student.

Additional Notes to Consider:

Most students with disabilities prefer to have the same academic experience as their peers. It can be embarrassing to ask for anything that appears different, and students report feeling their instructors think they are less capable if they use accommodations. The desire for a similar experience means students may experiment at the beginning of the semester, taking a test without accommodations or taking their own notes to see if they will be successful. They will then only request accommodations when their general access or ability to demonstrate their learning is negatively impacted by the course design or requirements.

If you’ve designed your course in ways that incorporates flexibility and supports for all students, you may find that fewer of your students need to use accommodations. For example, if you grade students based on take-home exams or projects, they will not need to request test accommodations, and if you post class notes to a website, note-taking as an accommodation won’t be necessary.