Skip to main content
  • Home
  • Announcements
  • Important Announcement Regarding the Transition to Online Classes and Disability Accommodations

Important Announcement Regarding the Transition to Online Classes and Disability Accommodations

Important Announcement Regarding the Transition to Online Classes and Disability Accommodations

Faculty

As classes move online, faculty may rely more on written content, online examinations, web meetings, recorded lectures, and other media content. For students with disabilities, this presents unique challenges. Therefore, it is important that instructors work with the Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) to ensure that those students receive equal access to course instruction.

The following recommendations apply to faculty members who have received an official accommodation authorization letter from OAS indicating that a student in their class receives accommodations.

  • Be aware that switching to an online classroom environment may require additional flexibility on the part of faculty when it comes to accommodating students. For instance:
    • Certain accommodations may need to be implemented differently in an online classroom, based on the nature of instruction
    • Certain accommodations may require additional communication
    • Some accommodations may not be appropriate/applicable to the online classroom
    • Some accommodations may already be built into the design of your online course
    • Some accommodations (such as, extended time on writing assignments, and use of assistive technology) can continue to be provided without making any significant changes to your current implementation practices

If you have questions about the implementation of a student’s academic accommodations in the online classroom, or if you need assistance, please contact the Office of Accessibility Services at 304-293-6700.

While accommodations may be requested at any time during the semester, they do not apply retroactively to past work.

If a student has been authorized to receive test questions verbally (rather than in writing), this accommodation can be provided via video call, telephone call, use of document reading technology, or by providing an audio recording of questions and any multiple-choice answers.

If a student has been authorized to provide answers to questions on tests, quizzes, or exams verbally, this accommodation can be provided via video call, telephone call, or audio recording. 

Faculty who plan to incorporate testing in their online classroom should reach out to students with information about how testing accommodations will be implemented, moving forward.

  • Synchronous Accommodation: Students who receive real-time transcribing and sign language interpreting can continue to receive those services remotely in an online classroom environment. Faculty should provide information to the Office of Accessibility Services about how to connect to these live lectures so that services can be provided.
  • Asynchronous Accommodation: Students who receive closed captioning accommodations rely on captions to provide them with equal access to course media. Faculty who intend to pre-record lectures or who plan to rely more heavily on YouTube and other video outlets should ensure that these students are provided with appropriate captions. YouTube automated captions do not meet the standard required for effective accommodation; however, the Office of Accessibility Services will work with faculty to ensure that appropriate captions are provided for asynchronous media.

Faculty are encouraged to reach out as early as possible with captioning requests and questions.

Faculty should avoid linking evaluative activities (e.g. quizzes, response papers, message board posts, etc.) to asynchronous instruction without first allowing ample time for captions to be created. 

As classes migrate online, faculty with questions or requests regarding captioning and interpreting are encouraged to contact Jason.Kapcala@mail.wvu.edu at the Office of Accessibility Services or to call 304-293-0458.

Our institution is required under federal law to provide equal access to students with disabilities, even in a pandemic. The Office of Accessibility Services is providing immediate assistance, including transcribing and interpreting services, for students who are currently being accommodated.

We anticipate that instructors will be creating a high volume of video and other content at this time. If you have not received a request for accommodation in your course, then you should make a note of the need to meet captioning requirements in future terms.

Please remind your students that they can request an accommodation at any time during a semester.

Students

As classes move online next week, faculty may rely more on written content, online examinations, web meetings, recorded lectures, and other media content. It is important that students with accommodations communicate with their instructors and to the Office of Accessibility Services (OAS) to provide feedback regarding their needs in the online classroom environment. 

Be aware that switching to an online classroom environment may mean that your accommodations change, as follows:
  • Certain accommodations may need to be implemented differently in an online classroom, based on the nature of instruction
  • Certain accommodations may require additional communication
  • Some accommodations may no longer be appropriate/applicable to the online classroom
  • Some accommodations may already be built into the design of the online course
  • Some accommodations will continue to be provided without any significant changes

If you have questions about the implementation of accommodations in your classes as they move online, or if you need assistance, please contact your Accessibility Specialist by email or contact the Office of Accessibility Services at 304-293-6700.

While accommodations may be requested at any time during the semester, they do not apply retroactively to past work. 

The following information pertains to accommodations generally, but all students should speak with instructors to see how their accommodations will be implemented specifically in the online environment.

  • Alternative Formatting of Readings: Students who need assistance receiving their alternative-format readings should contact WVU_Access@mail.wvu.edu if they need assistance using Kurzweil.
  • Testing Accommodations: Students who receive extended time for tests, quizzes, and exams should continue to receive this accommodation in the online classroom. Faculty have been provided information on how to implement this accommodation.

If a student has been authorized to receive test questions verbally (rather than in writing), this accommodation can be provided via video call, telephone call, use of document reading technology, or by providing an audio recording of questions and any multiple-choice answers. Please discuss these options with your instructor.

If a student has been authorized to provide answers to questions on tests, quizzes, or exams verbally, this accommodation can be provided via video call, telephone call, audio recording, or speech-to-text technology. Human scribes are not available for online classes. Please discuss these options with your instructor.

Provision of a reduced-distraction testing environment does not apply to online courses; however, students are encouraged to find a quiet place for study in their home environments.

  • Notetaking: Notetaking may be provided in a variety of ways online. For courses with live lectures, notetakers can continue to upload notes following class sessions. In other cases, instructors may elect to provide students with access to additional PowerPoint slides and other written notes. Please discuss these options with your instructor.
  • Transcribing: Students who receive real-time transcribing can continue to receive this service remotely, as applicable, in an online classroom environment. Transcribers will reach out with additional information.
  • Interpreting: Students who receive real-time interpreting can continue to receive this service remotely, as applicable, through Zoom. Interpreters will reach out with additional information.
  • Closed Captioning: Students who receive closed captioning accommodations for course media will continue to receive this service for videos and other media shown online.

Faculty will avoid linking evaluative activities (e.g. quizzes, response papers, message board posts, etc.) to course media without first allowing ample time for captions to be created. 

As classes migrate online, students with questions or requests regarding captioning and interpreting are encouraged to contact Jason.Kapcala@mail.wvu.edu at the Office of Accessibility Services or to call 304-293-0458.