The Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) and Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) are two resources that the University of Connecticut has that are dedicated to helping students with disabilities. They provide many accommodations and services to students and professors. Let’s discuss some examples!
It is critical that professors provide closed captioning on their content, whether it be video lectures, documentaries, or any other video content. Captioning is especially important for students with hearing disabilitiies or other disabilities that may restrict their ability to listen in their class. To comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), professors can access multiple avenues for this captioning. Kaltura, a video media service integrated into HuskyCT, has a free captioning service. Additionally, both Information Technology Services (ITS) and the Center for Students with Disabilities have captioning services available for classroom use.
On the instructor’s end of Blackboard, there is an accessibility feature that allows them to see how accessible their content is. It shows a score of 0-100% and gives suggestions on how to make it more accessible to students. For instructors who do not know how to work with accessibility, ITS has developed a guide on creating accessible digital content.
CSD has many options for note taking assistance for students with a documented disability. First, they offer technology-based assistance, such as access to a personal laptop or tablet, Livescribe SmartPen, Microsoft OneNote, etc. Students can receive permission to record lectures or the professor’s notes/lecture materials. Lastly, CSD provides a peer note taking service, where another student in the same class section will submit their class notes for students with documented disabilities to use in their own studies. Note taking is a paid position, so it’s great to know for anyone, regardless of disability status. This service is available to both undergraduate and graduate classes.
Many disabilities can affect the ability to take a regular exam; for example, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may make it hard to focus on an exam. CSD has the option for students to complete their exams in a less distracting environment. Additionally, accommodations can be made so students can have extended time on an exam or even short breaks during their exams.
Another common accommodation offered to students through CSD is deadline extensions. These are important for students with disabilities due to the unpredictable nature of chronic illnesses, mental illnesses, etc. To acquire a deadline extension, you would go through your Disability Service Professional (DSP) at least 48 hours in advance or as soon as possible.
Similar to deadline extensions, the unpredictability of a disability can affect regular attendance to classes. Working with CSD can benefit students by working with the class instructor/professor to receive accommodations related to attendance and participation. Attendance is not mandatory at UConn; however, participation is often included in your grade.
And many more…
I only listed a few examples in this blog post, as I cannot fit everything in a short blog. There are many more accommodation options and services to help students with disabilities at UConn. Check out the Center for Students with Disabilities accommodations section on their website. I hope that you found this helpful and, if you are a student with a disability who needs help navigating career journeys, you are welcome to come to the Center for Career Development and talk to a career coach!