EnglishFrenchGermanKoreanSpanish
Select Page
Students taking a stroll on campus
Disability Support Services

Student Accommodation Resources – Online Learning

Disability Support Services is available to discuss any concerns you may have about the implementation of your accommodations in an online environment.

We are available to discuss with students and professors, the impact online classes have on students with accommodations, ‪Monday through Thursday‬ from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and ‪Friday from 9:00 a.m. until noon‬ for the remainder of the semester.‬‬

To schedule an appointment, please email ‪lejohnson@oakwood.edu with your phone number and request. ‬

To aid a smooth transition to this new environment, we encourage you to engage with your instructors to identify how the course will be managed and designed and have conversations about how your accommodations will be implemented in the online environment.

Do not wait for your instructor to reach out to you. In our experience, we find that instructors respect all students that initiate contact, as it shows your involvement in the learning process. The Disability Specialist is happy to discuss any concerns you or your instructor may have. We urge you to also understand, for some of your instructors, this is a whole new approach to teaching and learning and they have questions as well.

Student Meetings and the Interactive Process

Disability Support Services will continue to connect with students and professors via platforms such video conferencing, phone, and email. We will resume in-person meetings when Oakwood resumes in-person instruction.

Prospective students and their families are welcome to connect with DSS virtually as well. To schedule a virtual meeting, contact DSS by email at DSS@oakwood.edu.

Taking Exams with Disability-based Accommodations

Because DSS is not administering in-person exams, students will not contact DSS to schedule exams and have them proctored with us. Students who have been approved for testing accommodations should continue to receive these accommodations regardless of the platform for administration.

Students will need to work with their instructors to ensure that test accommodations are in place within the online environment. In online instruction, instructors can schedule online exam times and extend time for students when appropriate without needing assistance from DSS. Ideally, students will be able to identify suitable spaces, whether they choose to reside on campus or elsewhere, to complete online assessments and other coursework remotely. If a student or instructor has questions or needs assistance related to testing accommodations, they should contact the Disability Specialist.

We encourage students to engage their instructors as soon as possible before taking an exam/quiz in the online environment. Students and instructors should have a mutual understanding of approved accommodations and how they will be delivered in the online environment. Proactive communication between students and their instructors is an essential piece of the accommodation process.

Extended Time on Assessments

  • Approved extended time is applicable when the exam has a pre-set limited amount of working time. The time allowed for a student with extended time accommodation is found on the Accommodation Letter. This will either be time and a half or double time.
  • If the exam is available for a period of time (such as a day or several days), but you have a defined amount of working time once the exam is opened, your extended time would be applied as is done for an in-class exam.
  • If the exam is available for several days with no specific amount of time given for the exam, then extended time is generally not applied when the working window is more than 24 hours. To clarify how your extended time should be applied, please contact the Disability Specialist as soon as possible.
  • Tests, quizzes, and exams given may be offered through D2L.
  • In this situation, the platform controls the amount of time and will shut down the exam when the allotted time expires. When the exam has a specific amount of working time, please confirm ahead of time with your instructor they have accounted for your extended time, as it will differ from your classmates who do not have this accommodation.
  • Your instructor may choose some other means to administer a timed exam. If so, please talk with your instructor to ensure that your start and end times account for your extended time so there are no questions about the amount of time you have to complete the exam.

Large print and Assistive Technology use on exams

If students have any concerns about the ability to utilize assistive technology on an exam, please contact your instructor and remind them this is one of your accommodations. Be aware that lock down browsers like RESPONDUS, can interfere with various types of assistive technology solutions. If there are questions about the implementation of Assistive Technology for your exams, please contact the Disability Specialist.

Flexibility with Attendance

For some students, moving to an online environment may greatly diminish their use of attendance accommodations. The accommodation should continue to be available and will most likely be used to address assignment deadlines and make-up exams in the online classroom format. Students should continue to inform the instructor and the Disability Specialist when you experience the need to use this accommodation.

Other Accommodations

If you receive other accommodations that will be impacted by moving to the online learning environment, please communicate with your instructor immediately to discuss options. Access barriers cannot be addressed if we do not know about them. The Disability Specialist is always available to assist as needed in conversations regarding the implementation of accommodations.

Who We Serve

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the definition of disability includes any person who, “…has a physical, emotional or mental impairment, which substantially limits one or more of life’s major activities, has a record of disability, or is regarded as having a disability.” As per this law, Oakwood University is committed to providing Reasonable Accommodations for students with disabilities through the Disability Support Services Office. Disabilities can include but are not limited to the following:

● Acquired or Traumatic Brain Injury
● Attention Deficit Disorder
● Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
● Autism Spectrum Disorder
● Chronic Health Condition
● Deaf / Hard of Hearing
● Learning Disability
● Mobility Impairment
● Neurological Condition
● Psychological Condition
● Visual Disability

What are Reasonable Accommodations?

A reasonable accommodation in the university setting is a modification or adjustment to a class or program that will enable a qualified person with a disability to have equal access in participating in that class or program. Reasonable accommodations allow students with known, documented, and validated disabilities to enjoy the rights and privileges offered by the university. Additionally, the university is not required to provide any aid or service, or make any accommodation or modification that would result in a fundamental alteration to the nature or rigor of a specific course of study.

Register Online

New to DSS Registration

https://forms.oakwood.edu/Forms/NDR 

 

Disability Support Services Consent

https://forms.oakwood.edu/Forms/DSSC

Disability Support Services Renewal

https://forms.oakwood.edu/Forms/DSSR 

Accommodation Process
  1. The STUDENT must initiate the process by calling, visiting, or emailing the Disability Specialist and by submitting a registration form along with documentation of a disability
  2. Schedule an interview with the Disability Specialist
  3. Once ALL documentation is received and an interview has taken place, it will be evaluated by Disability Support Services.
  4. If approved, accommodation letters will be generated and sent via email directly to professors and the student. Students are encouraged to schedule a meeting with professors to discuss specifics such as testing accommodations or the use of assistive technology in class.

Students must self-identify as needing accommodations at the beginning of EVERY semester. Letters produced in the Fall semester are also used in the Spring unless the student requires an adjustment.

Confidentiality Policy

Disability Records are confidential, maintained in the DSS office, and are protected as an educational record under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Students registering with the Office of Disability Support Services must sign a Consent Form outlining who, if anyone, may receive disability-related information outside of the university. Within the university, disability related information may be disclosed on a limited, need-to-know basis in order to provide accommodations and services with the permission of the student or as otherwise permitted under the university’s student records policy. The Disability Specialist does not disclose information about a student’s specific diagnosis. An exception is only made in unusual circumstances, such as the case of health and safety emergencies.

Documentation Policy

Documentation is essential in determining whether a student is eligible to receive accommodations at Oakwood University under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and ADA Amendments Act of 2008. Any documentation provided will assist in the determination of appropriate accommodations.

A diagnosis of a disorder/condition/syndrome does not automatically qualify an individual for accommodations under the ADA. Students are required to provide current and comprehensive documentation of their disability justifying a need for accommodation.

The DSS office reserves the right to request additional documentation in order to determine appropriateness of reasonable accommodations. Documentation relating to disabilities will be regarded with the highest confidentiality and is maintained by the office of Disability Support Services.

Qualifications of the Evaluator

Any documentation submitted must be from a qualified licensed professional such as a doctor, psychiatrist, counselor, therapist, psychologist, or psychometrist that is dated within the last three years. The credentials of the licensed professional should be included in the documentation and the professional should be an impartial individual who is not a family member of the student. Below are specific documentation guidelines.

Physical Disabilities & Chronic Health Impairments

The following elements must be included in the evaluator’s report in order for a student to be considered for appropriate accommodations:

1. A clear statement of diagnosis
2. A history of presenting symptoms, date of onset, duration and severity of the disorder, relevant developmental and historical data, and prognosis.
3. A description of the diagnostic criteria and/or diagnostic test used. This description should include the specific results of diagnostic procedures and diagnostic tests utilized.
4. A description of the functional impact of the disability. The current functional impact on physical, perceptual, and cognitive abilities should be described, including medical information describing the degree to which the current functional limitations restrict the condition, manner, or duration under which the student can perform a major life activity as compared to the average person in the general population.
5. Recommendations for academic accommodations
6. Statement of current impacts and limitations of the disorder on one or more of the student’s major life activities.
7. Description of any past disability services or accommodations received.
8. Statement of current impact and limitations on student’s academic performance with description of how these limitations were assessed.

Documentation must include a diagnosis and reflect the student’s present level of functioning in regard to the major life activity that is impaired. Additionally, the documenting professional’s recommendations for reasonable and/or recommended accommodations should be included.

Learning Disabilities

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 plan is sufficient in most cases, but we reserve the right to ask for more documentation such as a physician’s notes or psychological evaluation, etc. Documentation verifying the learning disability must include:

1. A clear statement of disability according to the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders diagnosis and description of severity
2. An assessment of the individual’s present level of functioning in relevant achievement areas, areas of intelligence, and processing skills
3. Statement of current impacts and limitations of the disorder on one or more of the student’s major life activities.
4. A description of any past disability services or accommodations received
5. Recommendations for accommodations.

Psychological Disabilities

The following elements must be included in the evaluator’s report in order for a student to be considered for appropriate accommodations:

1. A clear statement of disability according to the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders diagnosis and description of severity.
2. Past and present symptoms that meet criteria for diagnosis.
3. Prognosis of the disorder.
4. A summary of evaluation results, including standardized or percentile scores.
5. Statement of current impacts and limitations of the disorder on one or more of the student’s major life activities.
6. Statement of current impact and limitations of the disorder on the student’s academic performance with a description of how these limitations were assessed.
7. Recommendations for academic accommodations

Testing Services

Testing Services Lab

Cunningham Hall, Room 232

testing@oakwood.edu

Phone: 256-726-7149

Hours:

Monday-Thursday: 9:00am-5:00pm

Friday: 9:00-12:00

Extended Hours during Midterm and Final Exams

Testing by Appointment Only

The Testing Services Lab provides testing accommodations for students registered with Disability Support Services. All tests are proctored to ensure academic honesty.

Services include:

  • Extended Testing Time
  • Reduced Distraction Testing Spaces
  • Noise Cancelling Headphones
Faculty Accommodation Resources - Online Learning

Faculty Accommodation Resources – Online Learning

Disability Support Services (DSS) is your partner in the educational process for students with disabilities. The information provided here was created to assist you in understanding your role and our shared responsibility in working with students with disabilities.

Please review your students’ Accommodation Letters that have been sent directly to your emails. These accommodations remain in effect, though the implementation of accommodations may change. If you have questions about how to implement specific accommodations, please feel free to reach out to the Disability Specialist at DSS@oakwood.edu.

Our objective is to build a collaborative relationship with you and the students enrolled in your courses to ensure that approved accommodations are in place for students who register with Disability Support Services.

Testing Accommodations

Disability Support Services (DSS) will no longer be proctoring exams in our testing center as a result of moving to an online teaching platform. The majority of testing accommodations can be fulfilled by the course instructor in D2L. The most common testing accommodation is extended time.

Students who have testing accommodations listed on their Accommodation Letter should continue to receive these accommodations. The one exception would be that students will be able to control their test taking environment when it comes to a distraction-reduced accommodation.

  • Approved extended time is applicable when the exam has a pre-set limited amount of working time. The test time should be multiplied by what the Accommodation Letter states, either time and a half or double time.
  • If the exam is available for a window of time ( such as a day or several days), but there is a defined amount of working time once the exam is opened, the student’s extended time would be applied as is done for an in-class exam.
  • If the exam is available for several days with no specific amount of time given for the exam, then extended time is generally not applied when the working window is more than 24 hours. To clarify when extended time should be applied, please contact the Disability Specialist as soon as possible.
  • Tests, quizzes, and exams given may be offered through D2L.
  • In this situation, the platform controls the amount of time and will shut down the exam when the allotted time expires. When the exam has a specific amount of working time, please confirm ahead of time that extended time is set for students with this accommodation.
  • Instructors may choose some other means to administer a timed exam. If so, please ensure the start and end times account for correct amount of extended time.

Large print and Assistive Technology use on exams

Our office recommends providing students with accommodations that fall under this heading, an exam in a Word document. This format provides a maximum amount of flexibility whether it be access through screen reading technology, or the need to enlarge the font. Be aware that lock down browsers like RESPONDUS, can interfere with various types of assistive technology solutions like: screen readers, screen magnification, etc.

Flexibility with Attendance

For some students, moving to an online environment may greatly diminish their use of this accommodation. This accommodation will continue to be available and will most likely be used to address assignment deadlines and make-up exams in the online classroom format. Students should notify their instructor and the Disability Specialist when they experience the need to use this accommodation. If faculty have concerns about this accommodation, please contact the Disability Specialist.

Accommodations for Students who are Blind/Low Vision

Generally, accommodations for this group of students needs to be thought of, and planned for based on the way they gain access. The DSS is actively working with many of our Blind/Low Vision students who have expressed concern about the online course environment. If a student notifies you that they are having a difficult time engaging with the online course because of a visual disability, please put them in contact with the Disability Specialist immediately.

Creating Accessible Material

When creating and uploading documents to your course, think about if the content is accessible. If your students request that your documents be made accessible, look at these sites for guidance in Word or PowerPoint. DSS would suggest Word documents as much as possible as this format provides a maximum amount of flexibility whether it be access through screen reading technology, or the need to enlarge the font.

If you have a large amount of visual material (graphics, photos, etc) in documents and have a student utilizing Assistive Technology, we may need to work with you to design Alternative Text Descriptions.

The Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) has a resource dedicated to considering accessibility in online teaching emergencies. This document is under active development and will also include other information relevant to addressing the needs of students with disabilities.

Frequently Asked Questions

I have a documented disability. How do I receive academic adjustments? What will I need in order to receive academic accommodations?
In order to receive academic accommodations, you must present appropriate documentation to the Disability Support Services (DSS) office. You will also need to complete a registration form. The DSS team will determine what services you may be eligible to receive. Services will be determined based on documentation, discussions with faculty, if necessary, and the course in question.

What if I require academic adjustments during a test?
If appropriate documentation has been presented that demonstrates a need for academic testing adjustments, there are a couple of options. They include: possible testing accommodations, extended time and/or a distraction-reduced environment in which to take the test. Before the test, the student will need to consult with either their professor or the DSS office to find out where the test will take place. If tests are to be taken in the Disability Support Services, the student is responsible for setting up the test time. We require two days’ notice to schedule an exam. A class syllabus can be used to schedule the entire semester’s test dates with the DSS office. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure they are ontime for the test and cancel if needed. We are an extension of the classroom and their rules do apply. The professor is responsible for making sure the test arrives at the testing place before the appointed time.

I think I may have a learning disability or Attention Deficit Disorder. Where can I go to get tested?
There are several private psychologists and psychiatrists who can do this type of testing. Ask your doctor if they can recommend one, or look for a local doctor who will suit your needs. If, however, you are unable to locate professionals in your area, there are a number of psychiatrists/psychologists in the Huntsville area that will be able to assist you. Please note that testing will be at your expense.

If I have a disability or temporary injury that makes it difficult for me to take notes, can you provide a note taker?
It will be your responsibility to discuss with your professors possible accommodations to address your limitations and also to make arrangements to get notes from a classmate. In the event that this is not possible, DSS will communicate with the appropriate professors to make accommodations that will be in your best interest. It is also your responsibility to make sure that documentation addressing your injury or disability is received in our office no later than 48 hours so that the necessary steps can be put in place in a timely manner.

What if I have broken my leg and just need accessible parking on a temporary basis?
In this case, a letter from a doctor may be sufficient to get a temporary accessible parking permit. If a permit is needed for more than one semester, you will need to get a placard or license plate from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Self-Identification Policy
According to the National Association of American with Disability Act (ADA) Coordinators, “To be eligible for services, students with disabilities must identify themselves and present professional documentation to the Disability Support Services”.

Unlike in high school, where it is the responsibility of the administrators and educators to identify students with disabilities, in higher education it is the student’s responsibility to self-identify.

Contact Us

Linelle Johnson, M.S.
Disability Specialist
Phone: (256) 726-7668 or
(256) 726-7149
DSS@oakwood.edu
studentsuccess@oakwood.edu