Resources for Faculty and Staff

Responsibilities

Recognizing its moral and legal duty to provide accommodation to the point of undue hardship, the University is committed to providing equal opportunities for students with disabilities, within a supportive and challenging environment and consistent with academic principles. The provision of academic accommodation is a shared responsibility between the University and the student.

The University recognizes the shared responsibility of students, course instructors, departments, schools, faculties, Accessibility Services, and staff in exercising flexibility and creativity in the provision of academic accommodations.

Sharing in the responsibility to provide students with reasonable accommodations faculty and course instructors are expected to:

  • Comply with Human Rights ‘Duty to Accommodate’ legislation
  • Regularly check their UPEI email for students’ accommodation letters
  • Review accommodation letters and take note of students’ approved accommodations
  • Implement accommodations and testing procedures
  • Maintain students’ right to confidentiality
  • Follow UPEI’s Accommodation Policy and Procedures and Guidelines

Course instructors are encouraged to:

  • Include an accessibility statement in all syllabi
  • Refer to the Accommodation Glossary or ask the student’s case manager if there are questions regarding the student’s accommodations or whose responsibility it is to implement the accommodation(s)
  • Contact the case manager immediately if any accommodation could compromise the essential academic requirements of the course
  • Consult with the student’s case manager to resolve any challenges related to the student’s accommodation plan
  • Provide information to students about Accessibility Services and refer students for supports and services as needed: Accessibility Referral

*Faculty and course instructors are not expected to implement accommodations not listed in the students’ accommodation letters.

Examples of the Duty to Accommodate

  • Providing accessible PDFs to be used with a screen reader for students who experience barriers accessing text
  • Wearing an FM system to support students who experience barriers processing verbal input
  • Allowing students who experience barriers with handwriting to use a word processor during a test or exam
  • Allowing a student who experiences barriers with communication and social skills to use the support of an educational attendant in the classroom

Additional Resources

Guideline on Accommodation Students with Disabilities in Post-Secondary Institutions - this document was created by the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission and looks at how Human Rights legislation is applied and interpreted in the post-secondary setting.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Resources for instructors - this MyUPEI page includes resources that support instructors' understanding of how to better incorporate the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion into their teaching.

Test and Exam Accommodations

In-person tests

Booking tests - Students are to book tests through AccessDeck at least one week in advance.

Email from Accessibility Services - We will email the professor to request a digital copy of the test, as well as the following: test start time, test duration, permitted material, contact information for questions during the test.

Providing tests - Tests must be sent to accessibility@upei.ca no later than 24 hours in advance.

Alternate test times - Accommodated tests typically run during the scheduled class time. However, we may have to request an alternate test time for class conflicts, medication schedules, and other reasons warranted by the student’s medical documentation.

Outside materials in a test - Students require permission from their professors to bring any outside material into a test. Unauthorized items will be confiscated. We will inform the professor and they will decide how to proceed.

Questions during tests - Proctors will attempt to contact the instructor. If it’s not possible to reach the professor, students will explain their question on the test and do their best to answer. Proctors will also note on the test paper how they attempted to contact the professor (phone, email, etc.).

Test returns - Since the beginning of September 2020, completed tests are scanned and emailed to professors twice per week. The days are determined based on student assistant availability.

Online tests

Booking tests - Students are to book tests through AccessDeck at least one week in advance.

Email from Accessibility Services - We will email the professor to let them know which students in their class have requested accommodations.

Providing accommodations - Professors will need to provide additional time. The Moodle Quiz Accommodations is available to show how to set up time extensions in Moodle. Providing alternate formats may need to be discussed with case managers depending on the individual’s needs.

If you have any questions regarding exam accommodations, please contact accessibility@upei.ca.

Accommodation Statement for Syllabus

Students may request accommodation as a result of barriers experienced related to disability, or any characteristic protected under Canadian Human Rights legislation. Students who require academic accommodation for either classroom participation or the writing of tests and exams should make their request to Accessibility Services as soon as possible. Please visit upei.ca/accessibility for more information or contact:

Nicole Wadden Garland
Coordinator, Accessibility Services
902-628-4364
nwadden@upei.ca

Supporting Students with Disabilities

Universal Design for Learning

According to UPEI’s Strategic Plan, the University is dedicated to providing all students with an inclusive learning environment and to further incorporating Universal Design (UD) practices to remove barriers that may limit students’ full participation in learning. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a pedagogical practice that optimizes teaching and learning for all students.

UDL has three guiding principles:

  1. Multiple Means of Engagement
  2. Multiple Means of Representation
  3. Multiple Means of Action and Expression

In today’s highly diverse classrooms, incorporating the principles of UDL can reduce the need for retrofitted accommodations and improve equity for students with disabilities.

Examples of Multiple Means of Engagement:

  • Clearly defining course expectations and learning outcomes on the course syllabus
  • Providing checklists and rubrics for assignments
  • Providing choice of topics for writing assignments
  • Make learning relevant by connecting to real world uses
  • Provide consistent and ongoing feedback
  • Provide opportunities for collaboration

Examples of Multiple Means of Representation:

  • Provide accessible PDFs
  • Make use of videos and images
  • Provide slides with audio
  • Make use of images or symbols
  • Use illustrations or diagrams to show connections
  • Use mind mapping
  • Provide digital glossary with hyperlinks

Examples of Multiple Means of Action and Expression:

  • Provide choice in assessments (oral testing, written tests, writing a paper, creating a video)
  • Provide project planning templates and checklists
  • Chunk assignments and give intermittent due dates
  • Provide opportunities for reflection and self-monitoring

UDL involves planning ahead for students who have diverse learning needs. Through the incorporation of flexibility into course design faculty can reduce barriers and create meaningful learning experiences for all students. The following resources are designed to support the implementation of UDL in higher education:

UDL on Campus - this site provides resources for applying the UDL framework to course design.

ACCESS UDL Checklist - this simple checklist can be used to assess the implementation of the 3 UDL principles into course design.

Rhode Island Modified UDL Educator Checklist – Version 1.2 - this in-depth checklist can be used to access the implementation of the 3 UDL principles into course design.

Accessibility Online

While online learning creates many opportunities to reduce barriers experienced by students with disabilities, it also creates new challenges for accessibility. The Accessibility Checklist for Online Learning outlines criteria to consider when designing for accessibility online.

Assistive Technology

Assistive technologies play an important role in removing barriers for students with disabilities, and creating equitable experiences in education. Popular assistive technologies like text to speech require students to have access to accessible PDFs and slideshows. The Robertson Library also provides support with scanning.

Accessible Tables/ Ergonomic Chair(s)

Please note that your classroom may contain specialized accessible furniture and equipment. It is important that these items remain in the classroom, untouched, so that students who require their usage will be able to fully participate in the class. Specialized accessible furniture and equipment will be labelled and collected by Accessibility Services at the end of each term.

Understanding Disabilities

Supporting Students with Disabilities - This site has been designed as a resource for postsecondary education faculty and Accessibility Centre/Disability Services Office support staff, tutors, and mentors, particularly in New Brunswick, Canada, but is offered free of charge to anyone, anywhere who has an interest in the subject area. You can consider this a course made up of 11 modules including an introduction, up-to-date content, case studies, videos of students and instructors talking about their accommodation experiences, and reference material.

Receiving Disclosure

Students may want to discuss their learning needs directly with their course instructor. When students disclose their status as a student with a disability it is important that the instructor’s response is supportive and encourages students’ willingness to self-advocate in the future. The Guide to Disclosure provides faculty with advice on supporting students through the disclosure process.