EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY Disability Resource Center (DRC) Letter of Accommodation Effective: July 2011 – June 2012 Confidential Student: Student Name, # Date: February 16, 2012 Dear Professor/Course Instructor: Academic accommodations make educational experiences accessible for students when the design of the course poses barriers due to a disability. The Disability Resource Center (DRC) collaboratively works with both students and course instructors to ensure accessibility. While beneficial for many reasons, creating an accessible environment is also a requirement of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the 2009 ADA Amendments Act. It is ideal for the student to speak with the instructor during the first week of the semester or several weeks before an accommodation is needed. However, the student must discuss possible course accommodations with instructors at least one week prior to a course event (test accommodations, need for notes, paper deadline, etc.) in order to give instructors reasonable time to make arrangements. Course instructors contacted by students less than one week prior to an exam, deadline, etc. may use reasonable discretion to determine to what extent, if any, an accommodation can be arranged for the course event in question. If students or faculty have any questions about accommodations, please contact the DRC at 734-487-2470 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. DRC Staff: Adam Meyer, Ph. D., Director (email@example.com) J. Silva Goncalves, Ed. D., CSW, Assistant Director (firstname.lastname@example.org) Megan Rotar, M.A., LLP, Advisor (email@example.com) Jacqueline Wilson, Secretary (firstname.lastname@example.org) In list summary, the DRC has approved the following accommodations for the above-named student upon request via communication with the course instructor. For more detailed information on the listed accommodations, please review the accommodation information in the Appendix. Approved Accommodations Requiring Approved Accommodations Requiring Timely Implementation Discussion and Reasonable Consideration 50% additional time on traditional tests Quiet location for testing Attendance Accommodation Notes Suggestions to enhance student learning (but not required accommodations): Primary course instructor responsibilities include: Coordinate reasonable accommodations when timely students requests made; Assess appropriate action through discretion when students make accommodation requests less than one week prior to a course event; Consult with DRC as necessary when students make late requests or when concern exists about the reasonableness/appropriateness of an accommodation request; Be respectful toward the student’s situation and be available to speak with the student upon student request about accommodations for one’s course; Wait for the student to contact the course instructor -- Course instructors need not reach out to a student who has presented the letter but not yet made specific accommodation requests. It is the student’s responsibility to follow-up in a timely manner; Be prudent with regard to whom information is shared. While DRC may be contacted at any time to discuss matter, information with others should only be shared on an educationally need to know basis. Casual conversation with other instructors, including within department, may influence (perhaps adversely) future student-instructor interactions; Refer students to the DRC when they make an accommodation request that is not listed on this letter, as the DRC only supports requests specifically listed Primary student responsibilities include: Share the letter with course instructors and other relevant parties at least one week prior to the need for an accommodation in a course (may lose opportunity to use accommodation otherwise); Initiate a meaningful conversation (beyond simply forwarding this letter in an email) with the course instructor and others about reasonable accommodations for academic courses in addition to projects and assignments within academic courses or otherwise; Take the lead in coordinating the accommodation process for any course or otherwise Lead conversations reasonably prior to the event (test, paper, attendance policy, campus program, etc.) in question where accommodations are sought – once an event occurs, opportunity to use accommodations is often forfeited if no previous conversation took place with prior arrangements made Disclose any other academic, health, or personal concerns that may impact the student’s participation in courses or otherwise due to personal or environmental variables; Contact the DRC as soon as possible should any problems with the accommodation process arise, as delays in contact can limit resolutions possible. To determine a reasonable outcome may require consideration and input from the student, the instructor and the DRC. Timely coordination of reasonable accommodations is required from the day the student requests accommodations (letter plus communication) to her/his course instructor and forward. Any course events (tests, assignment deadlines, etc.) eligible for accommodation that took place prior to the instructor receiving the accommodation letter need not receive retroactive accommodation consideration. Rare exceptions for retroactive accommodations may apply on cases of unusual and extreme hardships (such as hospitalization) that impeded with the student timely addressing his/her needs. The DRC will carefully review those cases, as applicable. These adjustments are the minimum level of accommodations that need to be considered and coordinated when reasonable. Additional adjustments to presentation methods (such as closed captioned videos or providing copies of Power Points notes to all students prior to class) may benefit all students. Instructors and others are encouraged to consider specific adjustments that go above and beyond those provided on this list as long as the student understands that any additional adjustments are at the instructor’s or other’s discretion based on what would be considered reasonable for the specific course or situation in question. Furthermore, what happens in one situation does not automatically carry over to another situation, as each circumstance is unique. Appendix: General Definitions and Parameters of Approved Accommodations Approved Accommodations Requiring Timely Implementation For this student, the following accommodations are basic environmental adjustments that must be coordinated in most instances upon student request so long as the student has followed the reasonable and appropriate policies and procedures required to coordinate the accommodations as established by the DRC, the CATE Lab, the academic department and the academic course in question. Instructor and others uphold the EMU’s commitment to equal access by coordinating these accommodations as appropriate. Test-Taking Accommodations 1. 50% additional time on traditional tests: Instructors may choose to proctor the exam personally, within the resources of the course department, or by referral to the CATE Lab in the Porter Building. This accommodation refers to traditional pencil-paper assessments. Timed hands-on, practical, and/or lab-based tests do not necessary warrant additional time and should be evaluated on an individual basis based on the purpose of the test. Discussion early in the semester well prior to these tests is required. The student and instructor ideally agree upon the accommodated exam location. If disagreement exists, the student should contact the DRC for assessment of situation. The DRC and the CATE Lab respects that the testing activity is ultimately between the student and the instructor. However, it is not appropriate for the instructor to propose/sway the student to try the exam initially without accommodations by taking a wait-and-see approach. As long as this accommodation is reasonable, it must be provided at the first practical opportunity following student request. When CATE Lab is to be utilized, students are responsible for providing instructors with a CATE testing form to be signed, which the student then delivers to the CATE Lab. This form must be on file at CATE five business days prior to the exam. CATE Lab will contact instructors two days prior to a scheduled exam with further instructions. Please note that all tests taken at CATE are limited to 3 hours, no matter the length of the class. Specific testing dates are required for exams to be administered at CATE. If the dates of course exams are not known or if scheduled exam times are not within CATE Lab hours of operation, the exam accommodations should be made within the department or adjustments should be made to allow CATE Lab to be a viable resource. For questions about the CATE referral process, please contact Jenny Clark at 487-1419 or by email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. For courses that utilize EMU-Online to deliver exams, instructors can contact Extended Programs at 734.487.1081 or email@example.com to assist with coordinating extended time for these exams. 2. Quiet location for testing: A more accurate assessment of the student’s exam performance can occur when the student can test in an area without distractions. The course instructor should coordinate this accommodation personally, within the resources of the department, or by referral to the CATE Lab. Classroom Accommodations 3. Notes: There are two options for notes as an accommodation. One option is for the instructor to ask a student in class to act as a note-taker for a “fellow student who needs assistance.” These requests usually come in the form of an in-class announcement or via an email or eCompanion request. The request/ announcement should be made in a confidential manner without specifying the student’s name. Once a note-taker has been identified, the instructor should connect the two students and allow the two students to coordinate the note exchange. The other note option is for the instructor to provide a copy of her/his notes (such as PowerPoint slides) to the student, but instructors need not specially create notes that are not readily available. DRC can provide, upon request, special carbon papers to facilitate note-taking by someone else assisting the student. To fulfill the notes accommodation, the central question is “Are the notes provided a reasonable, average collection of important information discussed in class?” No collection of notes will have ALL critical elements (natural human error) so the accommodation is met as long as the notes provide an appropriate overview. The DRC defers to the judgment of the course instructors, who have the right to review notes and to determine whether the content facilitates necessary course learning. Content does not equate to layout/style of notes. Students using the notes accommodation are encouraged to transfer copied/obtained notes into a format conducive for individual learning and cannot require that the notes be captured in a specific manner. The content is the focus. Approved Accommodations Requiring Discussion and Reasonable Consideration Accommodations on the following list often require assessment of the environment (course written policies, course goals and objectives, possible physical variables, and other considerations) to determine the extent to which an accommodation is reasonable. As a result, implementation of these accommodations cannot be defined outright by the DRC but rather warrants additional consideration that will vary from one course to another based on its essential components. The role of the DRC is to both ensure that the student maintains a voice in this process while also facilitating course instructor input in order to identify an equal access outcome. Through discussion, consideration and reasonable implementation as appropriate, EMU upholds its commitment to equal access. Decisions made in one course do not automatically carry over to other courses. If the student and the instructor cannot agree on what constitutes an appropriate academic adjustment that would not drastically alter the course as it is designed, the student and the instructor have a mutual responsibility to contact our office for assistance to ensure that EMU’s responsibility toward equal access is sustained. Please note these accommodations are not optional. However, there is not a standard means of implementation, as is the case with some accommodations such as extended time for exams. These accommodations require assessment of a reasonable outcome and there are times when a reasonable adjustment is not possible beyond that already in place for all students. 4. Attendance Accommodation: The DRC has enough information to suggest that meeting course attendance requirements may be difficult for this student because some course meetings may be missed specifically because of the student’s medical condition. However, since the expectations and circumstances of attendance policies vary greatly by course, the DRC cannot dictate how this accommodation should be implemented or even if it would be reasonable in every course situation. Thus, course instructors are required to consider whether or not adjustment to the designed attendance policy would be a reasonable accommodation for the class in question. For example, if the course attendance policy imposes a grade penalty after three missed classes, could a student with this accommodation be allowed to miss five class sessions before the grade penalty comes into effect? Students who believe they may need consideration of this accommodation are encouraged to present this letter and talk to the course instructor about their situation within the first two weeks of the semester. If the student initially receives the letter from the DRC after the first two weeks, the student is advised to give the course instructor the letter within 3 business days of obtaining the letter. Students risk losing the opportunity to use this accommodation when requests are not made within the timeframes mentioned. Course absences that occurred at any point prior to instructor receipt of this letter need not be considered in the consideration of an accommodation plan and can be subject to the written course attendance policy. Regular attendance may be a critical and necessary outcome for a course relevant to the course objectives and may make reasonable attendance adjustments impractical. A course lab is one example where attendance is generally essential to overall performance. Instructors who do not believe an attendance policy adjustment is reasonable should consult with DRC before making a final decision. Students should also contact the DRC if they have concerns with the instructor’s decision. This accommodation only asks instructors to consider the reasonableness of adjusting the course attendance policy as an individually defined measure. What should happen if a student misses class on the day of an exam, an in-class presentation or when a paper is due must be discussed as a separate outcome at instructor discretion. Students and instructors are encouraged to discuss options and possibilities prior to a missed class event. For more detailed guidelines pertaining to this accommodation, please contact the DRC for an information sheet.
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