In order for students with disabilities enrolled in postsecondary institutions to receive disability-related accommodations, typically they must first register with the institution’s office of disability services for students. Procedures and documentation requirements vary from institution to institution so it is important that students contact disability services early to ensure their accommodations will be in place prior to the start of each academic term.
Common accommodations students with disabilities request in online courses include the remediation of inaccessible PDFs and other documents into accessible formats, captioned videos, and extra time on assignments and tests. Accommodations should be requested in the same way they are requested for onsite courses. To receive accommodations from a postsecondary institution, students should contact the campus disability services office for information about documentation requirements and procedures.
The Alliance for Access to Computing Careers (AccessComputing) leads activities to increase the participation of people with disabilities, including veterans, in computing and information technology (IT) postsecondary education and career fields. Activities for educators and employers are designed to build awareness of universal design and accommodation strategies, and to aid in recruiting and supporting students with disabilities through the development of inclusive programs and education on promising practices.
Changes to curriculum don’t just happen out of nowhere – they come from faculty members thinking about what to teach and searching for new and innovative ways to engage students in the learning process. Instructors often encounter barriers to curricular change, including:
Kirk’s nervous system disorder causes him to live with chronic pain. In particular, fine motor tasks like writing, using a computer, or holding a pencil can be extremely painful. Assistive technology to circumvent these tasks and ergonomic workspaces that address his needs reduces pain and increases function. Kirk is in his senior year of his bachelors program and preparing to apply to PhD programs.
My name is Sara. I have a genetic disease called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). EDS is largely an invisible disability. It causes systemic health issues, including gastrointestinal issues, visual impairment, chronic pain, and joint problems that can affect mobility. Rest and self-care are my best options when my symptoms are exacerbated.
The Promoting Equity in Engineering Relationships (PEERs) project at the University of Washington (UW) aimed to improve the experiences of underrepresented undergraduates in the College of Engineering. PEERs integrated NSF-funded efforts to engage a cadre of students, professors, and staff to create positive change toward a more inclusive environment in the College of Engineering, particularly for women, racial/ethnic minorities, and individuals with disabilities.
College students often attend career fairs to prepare for graduation and plan their future in the workforce. Some recruiters set up “virtual job fairs” that take place online rather than in person on a college campus. For students with disabilities, these may provide a way to engage with potential employers without needing to be at a crowded event. But how do they work? Are they beneficial?
When writing a course syllabus, faculty members can take explicit steps that take into account the abilities of the students that will be in their class, encourage students to discuss their disability with their instructor, and make the syllabus more accessible to students with disabilities. Faculty should: