The purpose of this post is to help you to understand how student disability access requirements are supported within the online learning environment and where to get more information and assistance.
UTS’s approach to supporting students with access requirements will mostly be business as usual during the current period, but there will be some changes to the way services are delivered. While online learning can resolve access barriers for some students, it can also increase difficulties for other students.
The following information provides a quick overview. With technologies and systems developing rapidly, this information will be updated as required and located at LX Resources.
The Accessibility Service is the central contact point for students who have a disability.
- Academic staff who become aware of access issues should refer students to register with Accessibility Service to ensure students are briefed on the range of support available. Check this page for information on who we assist. Students can register with the Accessibility Service here.
- To refer students email Accessibility or your Academic Liaison Officer (ALO).
Assistance for subject coordinators
- Academic Liaison Officers (ALOs) are the link between Accessibility Service and the Faculty and a good contact for Academic staff to consult about access responsibilities / processes within Faculties. ALOs determine approval of recommended adjustments such as exam provisions.
- If Academics receive requests directly from students registered with Accessibility, they can be referred/forwarded to their assigned Accessibility Consultant who can consult with the student and send clear requests to Subject Coordinators. Academics are welcome to discuss requests with Accessibility Consultants.
- LX.lab provides online resources about digital accessibility and if you need further assistance can advise you on how to convert your teaching materials into a more accessible format. Book a consultation via ServiceConnect.
- The Centre for Social Justice and Inclusion can provide advice and assistance about equity related policy and systems matters and assist with queries about reasonable adjustments and discrimination.
2. Provision of accessible online learning
- Deliver accessible zoom classes: Accessibility: Facilitate online classes (opens LX site).
- Consider structure and organisation of subject information on UTS Online/Canvas: consider students with cognitive / learning disability impacts who can miss critical information and waste time trying to locate subject materials. Create accessible digital content (opens LX site).
- Develop accessible learning materials: when subject resources are designed / sourced using a universal design approach it enables students to access information independently, using their assistive technology.
- Accessibility Service Student Appointments: with Accessibility Consultants are via phone or zoom.
- Additional consultation for individual needs for online learning: ALO Referral and Information to Academics communications have been updated to include access requests for online learning.
- Notetakers from the Notetaking Service will be provided access to UTS Online/Canvas via the “student” role (staff ID), to access learning materials for notetaking. The Student role is an interim solution until a Notetaker role can be developed. See a list of subjects with Notetaker access.
- Please provide Zoom links for live classes via Announcements on UTS Online / Canvas to enable access by Notetakers.
- Check instructions on how the Notetaker can follow a student in zoom breakout activities.
- There has been a reduction in Notetaking requests – students who continue to require the notetaking service for online delivery are likely to be more reliant on this service.
- A very small number of captioning requests are anticipated.
- LX.lab staff can assist with the implementation of closed captioning requests for videos / pre-recorded audio material. Request assistance via ServiceConnect. Accessibility Service can arrange external providers for live captioning requests for Zoom classes.
- Please email Accessibility Services if you plan on implementing students exam provisions using this report, rather than relying on the individual student requests.
- The Exam Provisions Approval process is available on the UTS site.
- Faculty-conducted exams will continue as usual. Students may not require all of their approved exam provisions for online exams.
- Implementing Approved Exam Provisions – go to Approved Exam Provisions (StaffConnect).
- The most common query for online exams is adjusting the extra time variations for particular students. Get help moderating quizzes in Canvas, or creating test availability exceptions in UTSOnline (Blackboard). Alternatively, book a consultation via ServiceConnect with the LX.lab for help.
- Accessibility Service continues to provide Scribe and Reader as well as assistive technology provisions for exams.
- Your faculty ALO may be able to guide you on arrangements for providing exam provisions specific to your faculty.
- Subject Coordinators are informed about students requiring exam provisions for faculty-based exams via email from Accessibility Services. Alternatively, approved faculty admins can run a Needs Extra Provisions (NEP) report from CASS.
- Each faculty has allocated administrative staff who can assist in advising Academic staff on arrangements for implementing faculty-based exam provisions, specific to their faculty area. Each faculty’s administrative assistance will vary. See list of Faculty Administrative staff who can run NEP reports.
- Centrally-Conducted exams – new process of online exam delivery is currently being developed by UTS, including the management of exam provisions.
Feedback and requests for further information
Feedback on this post and suggestions for additional information or information gaps is most welcome. Please provide your feedback to email@example.com with the Subject line: Accessibility.