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Resources

Classroom Accommodations

Accommodation plans are developed by Accessibility Specialists (formerly Counsellors) within Student Accessibility Services. The student’s medical documentation, self-reported disability related functional limitations and course objectives/learning outcomes are all considered when developing a student’s accommodation plan.

The following are descriptions of various classroom accommodations:

Absences due to disability related symptoms/medical appointments

For disability related reasons, a student may occasionally miss class (e.g., to attend medical appointments, chronic health related symptoms). Reasonable flexibility may be required, with respect to attendance requirements, should the student miss class on occasion to manage their health or attend related appointments.

Student Accessibility Services has encouraged the student to initiate a discussion with you if their disability related absences will negatively impact academic achievement or if you have an attendance policy for your class.

Academic Attendant

The student will be attending class with an attendant who will provide a variety supports, which may include:

  • Note taking
  • Assisting with organization and staying on task in the classroom
  • Assisting with conversations with the instructor when needed
  • Attending group project meetings outside of class when needed
  • Setting up equipment (e.g., laptop)
  • Assisting in carrying and moving equipment
  • Navigating to and from the classroom and navigating within the classroom
  • Providing a detailed verbal description of visual information being presented

All course material to be provided in an alternate format by instructor

To ensure access to course material, a student may require course material in an alternate format. Some examples of alternate format include accessible MS Word, accessible PDF and enlarged font. The specifics of what a student requires will be listed on their Letter of Accommodations. Student Accessibility Services is available to provide assistance if needed.

American Sign Language – English Interpreter

The role of the American Sign Language – English interpreter is to facilitate communication from English to ASL and from ASL to English. To ensure equal access for Deaf and hard of hearing students, the ASL – English interpreter will provide interpretation in classroom lectures, tutorials, shop/labs, meetings, presentations, graduation, conferences, student conversations, small/large group interactions and Red River College Polytechnic/Student Association functions.

Audio recording of class lectures

For some students with disabilities, audio recording of lectures is a necessary accommodation that will enhance access to your lecture. Permission to record is granted only through Student Accessibility Services based on documentation verifying the need for this accommodation. The student is responsible for bringing a recording device to class and for the operation of that device.

In some courses/programs, personal discussions and self-disclosure from students is encouraged. If you are concerned that the recording of classes will inhibit students from participating or that it will violate students’ right to privacy, please inform the student needing the accommodation that there may be some classes or portions of classes that are deemed inappropriate to record.

The student using this accommodation has signed an Audio Recording Agreement confirming that the recordings will be used exclusively for private study.

Frequently asked questions about audio recording:

  • Do we advise the entire class and do we need permission from every student to record them? I thought you cannot record people without their permission.

    We do not want to stigmatize the student who is being accommodated. However, if there are personal issues that may be recorded, then it is also fair to let the students know that this is occurring so that they can govern themselves accordingly. A simple statement at the beginning of class or a statement in the course outline stating that “Lectures will be recorded in order to comply with legal obligations” is recommended. That way everyone has notice, but no one is stigmatized.

    In Student Accessibility Services, students eligible for this accommodation are required to sign an agreement that addresses the student’s responsibility to turn off the recording device should there be any personal conversations/personal sharing occurring as part of the course. Originally, this was considered as a safeguard for more potentially personally haunting topics such as childhood trauma (part of Child and Youth Care and Early Childhood Education) and when personal processing in these areas is encouraged as part of the program. If Student Accessibility Services is made aware of other examples, we can also review this with the student.
  • What if classmates are not amenable to being recorded and do not want to be? What if students will stop participating if they know they are being recorded (which is very undesirable in a learning environment)?

    Our duty to accommodate the student with the disability trumps the preferences of other students in the class. If a student has legitimate concerns about being recorded, we would need to assess the competing interests. For example, if there is something sensitive being discussed we need to have the details so we can develop a proper plan of action. Aside from that, there is no issue.
  • Recordings introduce the opportunity for phrases or sentences to be taken out of context, especially if the recording is altered or edited in some way. It means people have to be more concerned with what exactly they say (instructor included) due to this possibility.

    The recording is only meant for one student, who will be in class, and will know the context of what was discussed. Therefore, this should not be an issue. However, as in the Audio Recording Agreement the student has signed, we indicate that the student will be subject to discipline should the recording be used inappropriately.
  • How are these recordings regulated? Who ensures their privacy and guarantee that they do not become public domain? Who guarantees the deletion of the recordings?

    Students eligible for this accommodation must sign the Audio Recording Agreement. Should they break the agreement, the accommodation will be removed and discipline may occur. If there is any particular reason for you to believe recordings have been misused, please let the student’s Accessibility Specialist know as well as your program Chair. We will work quickly to resolve the situation. Student Accessibility Services works with students so they understand their responsibilities (not only their rights) in receiving this accommodation.
  • There are times when I have a guest lecturer teach a class and they do not wish to be audio recorded. What happens then?

    If the guest lecture session is not optional for students (i.e. students are required to attend and will be responsible to know the content), the student with a disability with the audio recording accommodation has every right to record this guest lecture session. The guest lecturer should be made aware that a student with this accommodation will be audio recording the lecture. If they refuse to provide consent, by using this guest lecturer, RRC Polytech is in conflict with providing an accommodation that is legal and binding. If the guest lecturer does not provide consent to be audio recorded, the College should seek a different guest lecturer.

Additional Notes:

  • There are times when students who are eligible to receive audio recording as an accommodation, as per their documentation, choose not do so for various reasons. There may be courses this will be critical for, and other courses it may not be necessary (dependent on the format of the courses). This is the student’s choice since they are entitled to the accommodation should they wish to access it.
  • If a student that is not identifying as a student with a disability wishes to audio record, they would need to seek the instructor’s permission and that arrangement would not involve Student Accessibility Services. If a program wished to develop a permission form for this purpose based on the RRC Polytech G4 Recordings Policy, they would be free to do so.
  • A student who requests to audio record lectures based on having English as Second Language, would not be a considered a student with a disability based on language, and the discretion of audio recording would be at the discretion of the instructor or program.

Classroom Ergonomics

Student Accessibility Services will arrange for ergonomics in the classroom setting. Some examples include: height adjustable desk, varidesk, ergonomic chair, and padded chair without wheels.

Computerized note taker

The role of the computerized note taker is to facilitate communication for Deaf and hard of hearing students in the classroom. Everything that is heard is captured in real time using a laptop computer to ensure equal access for students. An edited copy of the notes is provided to the student. The computerized note taker will provide note taking services in classroom lectures, tutorials, shop/labs, meetings, presentations, graduation, conferences, student conversations, small/large group interactions and Red River College Polytechnic/Student Association functions.

Emergency Procedures Plan

The student possesses a mobility challenge that will require the implementation of a specific plan should an emergency occur (e.g., fire, active shooter). Student Accessibility Services will develop an emergency procedures plan in collaboration with RRC Polytech Safety & Health Services and the student. The student’s Accessibility Specialist will provide this plan, in writing, to each of the student’s instructors.

Extensions for assignments

For disability related reasons, a student may occasionally require extensions for assignments. Reasonable flexibility may be required, with respect to deadlines, should the student have a legitimate disability related reason for such a request.

The student will contact their instructor to negotiate extensions prior to the assignment due date.

Student Accessibility Services has encouraged the student to discuss this further with you should this accommodation negatively impact academic achievement or compromise learning outcomes for your course.

Instructor notes/Copies of PowerPoint slides (if not already posted in LEARN)

The student has some difficulty capturing all information during lectures, and therefore requires copies of your lecture notes, Power Points or overheads. If you already provide this information to all students or post notes online for your entire class, nothing more is required.

Some students require notes ahead of time as indicated on their Letter of Accommodations. This accommodation allows a student to pre-read notes to become familiar with course vocabulary and content.

The student using this accommodation has signed an agreement form confirming that these resources will be used exclusively for private study.

Medical Response Plan

The student possesses a medical condition (e.g., seizure disorder) that will require the implementation of a specific plan should a medical episode occur in class. Student Accessibility Services will develop a medical response plan in collaboration with RRC Polytech Health Services and the student. The student’s Accessibility Specialist will provide this plan, in writing, to each of the student’s instructors.

No class presentations

Students with this accommodation should be permitted to give class presentations one-on-one to the instructor.

Not required to read aloud in class

Students with this accommodation should not be called upon in class or put in situations where they are required to read aloud.

Participation

Students may require accommodation around class participation expectations, such as completion of group work. There are many variables to consider when accommodating for class participation, thus this accommodation is highly individualized. The student’s Accessibility Specialist will discuss the details of this accommodation with you.

Periodic change in positions from sitting to standing

The student will choose a work station in the classroom that will be minimally distracting to others (e.g., at the back of the room)

Permit student to take a photo of white board notes

This accommodation helps ensure access to course information and examples shared in class.

Read aloud or provide a verbal description of all visual information projected on overhead screen

This will help ensure the student can access all projected material.

Service Animals

A service animal may accompany the student to class. Class members should refrain from interacting with the service animal (e.g., talking to or petting the animal) unless given permission to do so by its owner.

Student may be delayed in arriving to class

For disability related reasons, a student may require extra time between classes. Students with this accommodation should not be academically penalized for arriving late.

Student may have difficulty independently opening classroom doors

Please keep classroom door open before and after class and during breaks to allow the student to be as independent as possible when arriving to and leaving the classroom.

Student may need to leave the classroom to take a break

Please permit the student to leave the classroom to take a break without academic penalty.

Student uses a mobility aid

The student uses a mobility aid, such as a white cane or walker. For safety reasons, please ensure walkways within the classroom are clear.

Textbooks in alternate format

Student Accessibility Services will provide textbooks in alternate format.

Verbalize all information written on whiteboard

This will help ensure the student can access all material written on the whiteboard.

Volunteer note taker

The student is eligible to receive assistance with note taking through a volunteer in the classroom. Student Accessibility Services has encouraged the student to seek out a volunteer on their own, but should this prove to be challenging for them, they will approach you for assistance. Should this occur, it would be appreciated if you, as the instructor, would help facilitate this by making an anonymous request for a volunteer note taker at the beginning of class as well as post the request in LEARN “Course News”, using a statement such as:

“A student in the class requires access to a classmate’s lecture notes due to accessibility related reasons. We are seeking a volunteer to share their notes. If you are able to assist your classmate, it would be appreciated. If interested, please contact (name and email address of the student’s Accessibility Specialist).”