Resources for Faculty and Staff

DAC Letter to Faculty for AY 2022-23

Fall, 2022
Dear Faculty and Staff:

In spring 2022, DAC was serving 860 students with disabilities. Of course, several students graduated, but we anticipate our number of students actively using accommodations will continue to remain at 20-25% of the student body. As such, managing academic accommodations will continue to be very prevalent, and important to keep in mind.

Your faculty portal to myDAC is an invaluable resource to help you keep track of each of your students’ individual accommodations. The tutorial for using the faculty portal can be found here.

Additional things to remember this fall:

  1. General Reminder on Accommodations: If a student requests you to make an accommodation for them and you haven’t received an official accommodation letter from Disability and Access (DAC) please refer the student to DAC to set up reasonable accommodations. If the student qualifies and accommodations are determined at that point, you will receive an official Accommodation Letter from DAC staff, as well as have access to the information through the myDAC Faculty Portal. If any accommodation listed in your letters would result in a fundamental alteration of your course, please contact the DAC Specialist immediately! Together, we can determine a better way to accommodate the student which does not change the essential elements of your course.
  2. Consider moving away from in-classroom exams: This may not be possible for all disciplines, but with up to 20-25% of students in the class requiring extended time and a reduced distraction testing room for a traditional exam, many professors are finding it more sustainable to set their exams in a take-home manner, or using other ways to assess students than the traditional in-classroom/timed exam.
  3. Moodle exams: If giving timed exams in Moodle, please ensure that the time allocation for the exam is changed to accommodate 1.5x or 2x time for appropriate students when designated by the student’s accommodation.
  4. Recordings: Even though St. Olaf College is no longer providing online classes, recordings are an excellent way to make sure students who are in isolation, or are experiencing a disability-related illness can still have equal access to your course as non-disabled students. If you can create recordings for class, please consider using Panopto and turning automatic captioning on.
  5. Deadline Extension Consideration: Extensions to due dates can become necessary per students’ accommodations. Students with this accommodation are instructed to contact you in advance to determine a new due date. If you cannot consider extensions to deadline in any instance, please contact the student’s DAC Specialist.
  6. Scanning and uploading PDFs to Moodle: For students to make use of screen reader/text-to-speech functionality, any material you scan and upload to Moodle needs to be oriented such that the words read left to right (no sideways orientation!), and they must be clear and easy to read. Software (used by students with an E-Text/Alternative Formats accommodation) cannot interpret and read text that falls in the shadows, appears wavy on the page, or are otherwise obscured with highlights or underlines that cross into the letters. Sometimes, the only version of the text you have falls into one or more categories above. If this is the case, DAC can “repair” and make accessible any scanned/photocopied readings you plan to upload. Please email them to dac@stolaf.edu. We will email the copy to you after repair for you to upload to your Moodle page.

If we can be of further assistance, please email your student’s Access Specialist, as listed at the bottom of their Accommodation Letter: Kristen Dobosenski (dobose1@stolaf.edu), Laura Knobel-Piehl (knobel@stolaf.edu), Terri Rosen (rosen4@stolaf.edu), or Kendra Weinrich (weinri1@stolaf.edu). Or, by emailing our general alias: dac@stolaf.edu.

Additionally, we are available for virtual appointments by using our calendar link:
stolaf-dac.youcanbook.me

Thank you, and best wishes for the year!

Kristen Dobosenski
Laura Knobel-Piehl
Terri Rosen
Kendra Weinrich

myDAC Faculty Portal

(View myDAC Faculty Portal video)

Instructors may access myDAC (Accommodations Management System) through a faculty portal to access accommodation information specific to the students in your sections: https://teton.accessiblelearning.com/StOlaf/instructor/

Here you can fill out your section’s Testing Agreement Form, review the students’ accommodation letters, and upload your course syllabus. Please watch for detailed instructions on how to use it. If you’d like a quick demo over the phone, please call Laura, Terri, Kendra or Kristen at 507-786-3288.

Accommodation Letters

When a student with disabilities is approved for academic accommodations, you will receive an Accommodation Letter from the student’s Access Specialist in Disability and Access (DAC). This letter is valid for the current semester only. All accommodation letters can be viewed in one place for your courses in the Faculty Portal of myDAC. Students are asked to check in with you shortly thereafter to learn if there are any logistics they’ll need to know when using the accommodations. You are also welcome to invite your students in to discuss the accommodations. Accommodations should never impact the fundamental nature of your course. If you foresee any issues with meeting accommodations as stated in a student’s letter, please reach out to the Accessibility Specialist on the letter. Alternate ways to accommodate the student’s disability can be discussed and determined at that time.

Syllabus Statements

Please consider using these suggested statements from the student life committee’s page in your syllabus to encourage students with disabilities to notify you of their academic accommodations in a timely manner.

Designing an Accessible Online Course

This resource is a toolkit from the University of Arkansas with helpful tips on various aspects of accessible online course design, including suggestions for Word docs, PowerPoints, PDFs, recordings, videos, captioning, and more.

Attendance Leniency Considered” Accommodation

We use the term “Considered” intentionally. For some courses, multiple absences would fundamentally alter the essential elements of the course. This link provides some resources for faculty in helping determine an appropriate amount of disability-related absences that can be considered before the Essential Learning Outcomes for the class are now in jeopardy–the point at which the accommodation can no longer be granted. Remember: accommodations should never interfere with the stated learning outcomes of the course. If they do, it is important to call the Accessibility Specialist and determine if there are any alternatives.

Universal Design: Fast Facts for Faculty

The following Fast Facts for Faculty are documents created by the Ohio State University Partnership Grant. They are briefs designed to help college and university instructors improve the climate and quality of education for students of all backgrounds and abilities.

More on Universal Design for Learning

If you are looking for more ideas on Universal Design for Learning, the following websites are helpful: