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Accessibility

Overview

The Austin Community College (ACC) Teaching and Learning Excellence Division (TLED) works with ACC Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to help all faculty keep updated on processes, resources, and services available to make their courses accessible for all students.

Accessibility isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also the law. Accessibility is at the forefront of all of the technology decisions made by TLED. Features such as closed-captioning and accessible web design will improve the technology experience for all users, while assistive technology such as screen readers allows individuals with disabilities to experience content that would otherwise be difficult or impossible.

TLED strives to create content that is both aesthetically pleasing and accessible. For example, through the use of responsive web design, TLED ensures that all new websites are properly displayed whether you are using a PC, tablet, or mobile phone. TLED supports faculty and staff in making instructional materials accessible to students with disabilities.

Student Accessibility Services (SAS) staff are always available to answer questions and serve as a resource for faculty seeking assistance in providing accommodations to students. Contact us by emailing SAS@austincc.edu.

Getting Started with Accessibility

Learn the basics of accessibility at ACC. Hear what your faculty peers are doing to make their courses more universally designed. Questions are fielded by a panel of ACC experts about providing accommodations to ACC students.

Panelists:
Ginger Bennett, Director, Interpreter Services
Lauren Matthys, Advocate, Student Accessibility Services
Dr. Lauren Sebel, Director, Student Accessibility Services

Facilitator:
Courtney Grams, Director, Faculty Communications

The Top 10 Things SAS Wants You to Know

 

  1. The SAS information available on TLED’s Accessibility page is the best starting point for information on your responsibility when working with students with disabilities.
  2. Accommodating students is a shared responsibility between the student, faculty, and SAS. Based upon the fundamental principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, SAS approves specific accommodations based on the documentation submitted by the student, the student’s prior record of accommodations; the student’s expressed needs, and the professional judgment of SAS staff.
  3. Notice of Approved Accommodation (NAA). You should receive a notice of approved accommodation (NAA, or accommodation letter) from students in your classes who need accommodations. The NAA is a legal document and approved accommodations must be met so the college stays in compliance with the law. If you have questions about anything on the letter, please contact the advocate who signed the letter, or email SAS@austincc.edu.
  4. Academic adjustments versus approved accommodations: Students with disabilities may ask you for additional accommodations that have not been approved by SAS.  When this occurs, please refer the student to SAS or complete our SAS Referral. You can choose, however, to provide additional academic adjustments. If you do, you must offer the same adjustment to all students in your class.
  5. SAS is not the “enforcer.” SAS is here to ensure students have access to courses, course materials, and programs. We will advocate for the student when necessary. We will also advocate for you, when necessary.
  6. SAS does not make academic or instructional decisions. While we are happy to consult with you regarding a student with a disability in your class, we cannot make any decisions related to academics or instruction.
  7. SAS cannot assist you in managing your classroom or resolve academic challenges for students with disabilities. Students with disabilities, with or without accommodations, are expected to meet or exceed academic and technical standards. Students must still meet the essential requirements of a class or program and are required to follow the conduct standards of the college as all other students do.  That said, we are happy to work with you regarding strategies to help students with disabilities in your classroom.
  8. Not everything that happens with a SAS student is a disability or accommodation issue. Students with disabilities are students first and have the same responsibility as any other student in your class. Failing tests, not turning in homework, not participating in class, not attending class, being inappropriate in class, on message boards, or in a remote class, bears no relation between a student having a disability and *everything* being disability-related.
  9. It’s OK to say “no.” As hard as it may be, sometimes “no” is the right answer to give to a student. If you wouldn’t say “yes” to any other students, you shouldn’t say yes to a student with a disability.
  10. Testing with accommodations: You are responsible for ensuring that approved testing accommodations are administered. Students who require a test to be made accessible through SAS are required to make an appointment at least five days in advance. SAStest@austincc.edu will contact you for information related to the administration of your test. Please respond to these requests in a timely manner. Please see the following for additional information: SAS Proctored Exam Guide for Faculty, How to Extend Time in Blackboard, Online Testing Accessibility Information