Faculty & Staff Corner
Welcome to the Faculty & Staff Corner! The Office of Accessibility Resources supports students, faculty, and staff seeking further information on the accommodations process at Stonehill College.
The purpose of this site is to provide resources to campus partners on the best practices in promoting accessibility and inclusion in all aspects of campus life at Stonehill.
Role of OAR
The Office of Accessibility Resources (OAR) supports Stonehill's unwavering commitment to providing a welcoming, supportive and inclusive environment for students with disabilities. Our goal is to create an accessible campus experience by providing a point of coordination, resources, and support for our students and the campus community. OAR is committed to leading the campus community in its mission to recognize disability as a valued aspect of diversity, embrace access as a matter of social justice, and ensure that all aspects of campus life are universally accessible.
OAR works with each student on a case-by-case basis to provide reasonable accommodations that foster independent, self-determined learners. Services and auxiliary aids are offered to students who qualify under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act. Students with temporary impairments may receive services on a short-term basis.
Registering with OAR
Students wishing to be considered for academic, housing, or meal plan accommodations must first register with the Office of Accessibility Resources (OAR).
The student and the Director of Accessibility Resources partner to identify strategies, resources, and accommodations, that can ameliorate disability-related barriers. An initial intake meeting provides the opportunity to understand the student’s disability experience and accommodations that have been successful in providing access. The process will be informed by the student’s self-report, the director's experience, and any documentation that the student presents. Based on an interactive discussion, the director may implement accommodations, set up provisional or temporary accommodations while waiting for additional documentation, or request documentation specific to establishing a connection between the disability and the barrier. A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to instructional methods and/or a course, program, service, activity, or facility that enables a qualified student with a disability to have equal access to programs, services, and activities. Equal access means an opportunity to attain the same level of performance or to enjoy equal benefits and privileges as are available to a similarly-situated student without a disability.
All disability-related information including accommodations letters, correspondence, and consultations are considered confidential and must be managed in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations. This includes electronic, paper, verbal, and any other types of communications. The College takes its obligation to protect confidentiality very seriously. Unauthorized disclosures of student information must be documented and can result in the College being in non-compliance with federal regulations. Additionally, such disclosures may violate state privacy laws and may subject the College and the individual to liability. We recognize that disclosures of information are generally inadvertent. It is important that anyone who has access to student information be vigilant and take steps to avoid unintentional but inappropriate disclosure of disability information. OAR offers the following guidelines for faculty, staff, and administrators to ensure that confidential student information is kept secure:
• All information that a student shares with a faculty member is to be used specifically for arranging reasonable accommodations for the course of study.
- Do not leave student disability information visible on your computer or in any printed format that others can see.
- Letters of accommodation should be filed in a safe place and disposed of securely at the end of the semester.
- Refrain from discussing a student’s disability status and necessary accommodations within a range of fellow students or others who do not have an “educational need to know.”
- Do not assume that students registered with the Office of Accessibility Resources are aware of other students’ disability status. If for some reason you feel it might be beneficial for students with disabilities to know each other, OAR is happy to discuss this further with you. However, the default action is to keep this information private.
- When sending emails to a group of students, even if they are all registered with the Office of Accessibility Resources, blind copy (BCC) students so they are not privy to other students’ information, or better yet, send separate emails to each student.
- At no time should the class be informed that a student has a disability, except at the student’s request.
- Discuss accommodation letters and logistics of implementing accommodations with students in private. Make yourself available by email, during office hours, or by appointment to discuss.
- Casual conversations with colleagues about a student’s disability status are prohibited. Confidential disability information, to which you have access, should be released to other faculty or staff based only on their need to know (e.g., they are a co-instructor in the course, they are arranging for exam space, they are assisting you to identify a note-taker in the course, etc.). In such cases, disclose only the necessary information.
- Requesting specific information about a student’s disability is inappropriate. Instead, faculty should focus any inquiry on how a student’s learning is impacted by their disability.
- Requesting a letter from the student’s physician is inappropriate. The accommodation letter is all that is needed to justify the accommodation and supersedes any letter from the student’s provider.
- If a student voluntarily discloses the nature of their disability to you, even if it is obvious, do not disclose it to others.
- If a student tries to provide you with their primary disability documentation, refuse to read or accept it and refer the student to OAR. OAR is the central repository of all disability documentation for students with disabilities.
Disability Disclosure and Referral
Students who have a disability and would like to receive accommodations are expected to self-identify and submit a formal request for accommodations to OAR. Students can start the process by contacting the OAR directly at stonehill.edu/oar.
Occasionally, students may self-identify to a faculty or staff member. In these instances, faculty or staff should not assume that the student has already registered or has knowledge of OAR. Faculty or staff should inform the student about the OAR and refer them to email us directly; it is recommended to follow-up with an email to the student reiterating the presence of OAR and copying (cc) us. Faculty or staff should not accept nor read any disability documentation. This procedure protects both the individuals and the College from claims of discrimination or misunderstandings about the accommodations process.
The following excerpt is an email that faculty or staff could send a student as a follow-up to a disability disclosure.
Thank you for meeting with me today. Because you self-identified as having used disability-related accommodations in the past, I wanted to follow up with information about the Office of Accessibility Resources (OAR). Information about applying for accommodations can be found on the school website at Stonehill.edu/oar. I have also copied the Director of OAR on this e-mail, as you expressed interest in speaking with them. I encourage you to make an appointment to explore the possibility of using accommodations. I hope you find this resource helpful.
For an overview of reasonable academic accommodations please navigate to the examples of reasonable accommodations.
Accommodations Do Not Lower Standards
This is an essential tool for Stonehill College to educate students of their right to request reasonable adjustments if they experience barriers on the basis of disability. For many students, the accommodation process is brand new. They are unsure of what to do, and are concerned about stigma, or being treated differently.
OAR recommends the following statement:
Accessibility and Accommodations
Stonehill College is committed to creating a welcoming, supportive, and inclusive environment that meets the needs of a diverse student body. The Office of Accessibility Resources (OAR) provides a point of coordination, resources, and support for students with disabilities and the campus community. If you anticipate or experience barriers to your inclusion in this course, please let me know so that we can discuss options. You are also welcome to contact OAR to begin this conversation or to establish reasonable accommodations for this or other courses. For additional information email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the OAR webpage.
Proctoring Fall 2021
The Testing Center has been moved to the third floor of the library and is available to eligible OAR-registered students who require a distraction-reduced setting.
What is accessibility important? Accessibility is the right thing to do and it is required by law. By designing your course online to be accessible to those with disabilities you will benefit all students. A course is accessible to the degree that every student can easily access and navigate course content and assignments; submit assignments, and successfully use course tools.
Accessible course design is part of universal design for learning (UDL). Instructors should utilize as many components of UDL as possible when developing online courses and responding to specific accommodation requests. For online learning, low-stakes or alternative assessments are strongly recommended.
Creating Accessible Online Content
- Include an accessibility statement in the course syllabus, and reference it when presenting the course standards to students.
Stonehill College is committed to creating a welcoming, supportive and inclusive environment that meets the needs of a diverse student body. The Office of Accessibility Resources (OAR) provides a point of coordination, resources, and support for students with disabilities and the campus community. If you anticipate or experience barriers to your inclusion in this course, please let me know so that we can discuss options. You are also welcome to contact OAR to begin this conversation or to establish reasonable accommodations for this or other courses. For additional information email email@example.com, or visit the OAR webpage.
- When selecting new materials, find videos that are already captioned. Instructors should caption newly created online audio content that will be reused in the future.
- Create accessible PowerPoint presentations and Word documents by including alt text to visuals, meaningful hyperlinks, and accessible text format.
- Make scanned images from printed text accessible. Create and verify PDF accessibility using Acrobat Pro.
Because almost all classes this fall will have an online component, instructors will likely be changing the way they implement accommodations. Many accommodations that have been established for students with disabilities in the classroom can transition them to online courses with minimal modification. How accommodations are implemented in the online environment may need to be adapted or adjusted and will depend on specific course platforms, content, and assessments.
Some of the most frequently used accommodations include extended exam time, note-taking, audio recording of lectures, consideration of flexibility in class attendance (for synchronous coursework), and assignment due dates.
Other accommodations might require some adjustment or alteration when transitioning from in-class to online coursework. OAR will work with students and instructors to affect these modifications to accommodations to ensure equal access. Important considerations:
- Contact OAR at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions regarding the implementation of accommodations.
- Be flexible and adjust deadlines and pedagogical strategies to ensure an inclusive learning environment.
- Direct students who request accommodations but have not presented you with a Letter of Accommodation to OAR.
Resources for Online Accommodations
If the exam is available through eLearn, instructors can adjust the time for each student according to the time extension indicated in their Letter of Accommodation.
- There are students who because of distractions in their living environment might benefit from taking assessments at time when they can secure a more distraction-reduced environment.
- If your exams require a student to take it at a specific date and time, the student may need flexibility in order to locate a space that will meet their needs.
- On campus, OAR-registered students are welcome to reserve a seat in the Testing Center Duffy 264 to satisfy this accommodation. Limited seating is available at any one time and reservations must be made in advance with OAR.
- If you proctor exams using Zoom, it may be necessary to have the student in a separate breakout room so they will not be distracted by the video and audio feeds of other students.
Note-taking should continue without interruption for both synchronous and asynchronous recorded lectures. OAR will request assistance in identifying a volunteer note-taker.
Another consideration is collaborative note-taking through Google Docs or wikis.
Audio recording should continue without interruption for synchronous, lecture-based courses. Video recording is not an approved accommodation.
Instructors may consider using Panopto to record lectures or enable recording features in Zoom and Powerpoint and share with students to expedite this accommodation.
Presently, we do not have any students who require live (real-time) captioning. Should a student require real-time captioning or remote interpreting, OAR will coordinate services and communicate needs to the instructor.
For students requesting captioned pre-recorded videos, there are several options.
- Instructors are encouraged to caption newly created online audio and video that will be reused in the future.
- Panopto offers automatic captions, or captions can be uploaded manually.
- Zoom recordings can be captioned via Panopto editing tools.
- Microsoft Powerpoint offers a robust real-time captioning feature.
- Microsoft Teams has a live captioning feature as well.
For questions about other platforms/software, please contact Information Technology at 508-565-1111.
This fall, all exams typically proctored in our Testing Center will need to be proctored using remote technology. There will likely be issues as we work through these changes, but OAR is available to consult. For technical assistance, we may need the expertise of IT as well.Instructors and students should have a discussion about what accommodations are needed for each assessment. Most exams can be proctored with minimal extra effort by the student and instructor.
Option: Automated Remote Proctoring
Respondus LockDown Browser is a specialized Web browser that secures a student's computer by preventing access to other browsers, chat programs, and other applications during an online exam. Respondus Monitor is used to capture the audio and video of students while they take their exams and requires the use of Respondus Lock Down Browser. Some assistive technologies such as literacy readers, screen readers, and dictation software are incompatible with LockDown Browser.
Option: Live Remote Proctoring via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Blackboard Collaborate.
College leadership is requesting that we all operate from a place of understanding, and extend grace, relaxing some of our typical policies in light of the need to respond appropriately to this public health crisis.
Accessibility Resources has a Flexible Attendance and Assignment Deadlines Agreement contract that faculty can use for students with eligibility for flexibility to be extended in the context of unexpected flare-ups for chronic health conditions. While these agreements can be used as needed, we hope, that to the degree possible, flexibility is being afforded to all students.
Captioning Overview & Institutional Obligation
Planning for the accessibility of your course materials should include providing captions for all videos. Captions are on-screen text descriptions that display a video product's dialogue, identify speakers, and describe other relevant sounds that are otherwise inaccessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Captions are synchronized with the video image so that viewers have equivalent access to the content that is originally presented in sound, regardless of whether they receive that content via audio or text. Captions are either open or closed. Open captions always are in view and cannot be turned off, whereas closed captions can be turned on and off by the viewer.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) require post-secondary institutions to ensure an opportunity for people with disabilities to access services and benefits, including all aspects of academic offerings and student life. The opportunity must be equal to the opportunity provided to others.
As part of this guarantee, institutions are to ensure “effective communication” with people who are deaf or hard of hearing. This means that, when necessary and not an undue burden, a post-secondary institution must provide “auxiliary aids and services” that are appropriate for the individual and the particular situation. Those situations include in-person interactions (whether one-on-one or in groups), classes, web-based learning, and other online communication.
Auxiliary aids and services include a broad range of devices, services, and other methods of making aurally delivered information available to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, such as:
- qualified interpreters (on site or through video remote interpreting services [VRI]);
- speech-to-text services, for example Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART);
- captioning of online and in-class videos;
- notetakers and class notes, other written or printed materials;
- assistive listening devices (ALDs) and systems;
- telephone handset amplifiers, telephones compatible with hearing aids, closed caption decoders;
- voice, text, and video-based telecommunications products and systems, including text telephones (TTYs), videophones, and captioned telephones, or equally effective telecommunications devices;
- printed materials, keyboard systems, or the exchange of written notes (in limited situations), telecommunications relay services; and
- accessible information technology and electronic technology, in classroom settings and online.
- The choice of the auxiliary aid is made on a case-by-case basis, after an individual’s request.
- Institutions are to consult with the person and take into account their usual or preferred method of communication.
- The post-secondary institution has flexibility in choosing among methods, as long as the one chosen is effective.
- In some settings, such as large open meetings or graduation ceremonies, auxiliary aids and devices such as interpreters, captioning, and ALDs should generally be provided without requiring that individuals request them.
- For smaller group gatherings/meetings and classes, the post-secondary institution can require that requests be made a reasonable amount of time in advance.
Faculty teaching students requiring real-time captioning or translation services as an accommodation will be notified in advance and receive support from the Office of Accessibility Resources to ensure needs are met. Students requesting captioned-enabled content will notify faculty directly via a Letter of Accommodation.
Although captions are mandated primarily for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers, it is a best practice to provide captioning for all of your web and course videos. Studies estimate 70% of all students use captioning to help them learn. Captioning videos are also beneficial to multiple audiences in different circumstances:
- Individuals with learning disabilities and ADHD
- Individuals with cognitive and psychological disabilities
- Non-native speakers
- Video or audio presenting new or unfamiliar vocabulary
- When the speaker is using an unfamiliar dialect or has an accent
- When audio is not clear or audio is not available, including instances when audio quality is poor and instances when a person cannot listen to audio because of conditions in the environment.
There are two general approaches to captioning video:
Stonehill College has a limited contract with Panopto for immediate captioning needs, and will contract with other third party vendors that provide captioning and translation services.
There are several options for do-it-yourself captioning of videos. Most options include two steps:
- Create the caption file or purchase a caption file.
- Upload the caption file to your video. Once you have a caption file, the final step is to add this file to your video. How you do this, and the types of caption file supported, depends on where your video is hosted.
Listed below is information on some of the more common methods. Most video creation software addresses captioning in some way, so if you are looking for help with a specific tool not listed below, start by searching the help guides of that software for "captions" or "accessibility.
Panopto environment within Blackboard allows for live webcasting, capturing lectures, presentations, and related materials through audio and/or video.
Vimeo is a video hosting site similar to YouTube. Steps for adding captions manually can be found at the Vimeo captions and subtitles page, as well as a list of resources and vendors who can caption longer videos for a fee.
The YouTube captioning support page offers a free and easy method of adding captions to your videos if you host them at YouTube. You may also use the guidelines on how to caption YouTube Videos from the National Center on Disability and Access to Education.
YouTube gives the option to generate automatic captions. Automatically generated captions are often not accurate, but users can review, edit, or unpublish automatic captions.
YouTube Video Privacy
If you wish to constrain the visibility of your videos, you can identify individual videos as private or unlisted, or place videos in a playlist that you have identified as private or unlisted. See, How to Create YouTube Unlisted or Private Videos and Playlists.
Zoom recordings can be captioned via Panopto editing tools.
PPT has a real-time captioning feature.
Microsoft Teams has a live captioning feature as well.
For support with the above mentioned platforms or questions about other platforms/software, please contact Information Technology at 508-565-1111.
There are no exceptions to the requirement to wear cloth face coverings at this time. When there is a direct threat to the health and safety of our community, such as during our current pandemic, we cannot make any exception that would potentially put others at risk.
For students who rely lip reading for communication access, this requirement can present a challenge. As such, the Office of Accessibility Resources has purchased FDA approved masks with a clear panel for distribution by students to faculty and staff as needed. While the masks are marketed to be single-use, our colleagues in the health care community note they are reusable if both sides of the panel are wiped with an alcohol pad. To minimize or prevent fogging and moisture build up, a few drops of liquid dish soap or baby shampoo can be spread on the inside surface and wiped with a tissue.
The Office of Accessibility Resources (OAR) supports Stonehill’s unwavering commitment to providing a welcoming, supportive and inclusive environment for students with disabilities. Our goal is to create an accessible campus experience by providing a point of coordination, resources and support for our students and the campus community.