COVID-19 Reporting and Information • HEERF I, II & III

Accessible Education Center

COVID-19 Faculty Support Letter

» Return to 2019 Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 Informational Page

Dear Faculty,

We understand the situation regarding COVID-19 is an unusual circumstance. Please know that if at any time you have questions you can reach out to us.  Now more than ever we are committed to working collaboratively with you to ensure students with disabilities receive access to Tennessee Tech academics, programs, and services.

As you alter your courses, please keep accessibility in mind.  In anticipation of the various adjustments that need to be made, we are providing you with recommendations related to academic adjustments and accommodations.

In many cases, the students’ accommodations may remain exactly the same. For example, if the student’s accommodations include extended time, they will sign up as they normally would. The process is essentially the same. As the instructor, you will be responsible for extending the time within the context of the online format. We have developed instructions for faculty on how to manually go into the system and extend the time for students. If you choose to incorporate remote proctoring technology, keep in mind it may require the student to obtain a webcam and/or microphone.

If students qualify for captioning (CART), you will be notified of the steps necessary to ensure the students continue to receive captioning. 

If the student qualifies for an interpreter, it is most likely they will access the course experience via Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) during this time. 

It will be necessary to ensure that documents are accessible. Please note that the AwesomeAccess feature is available. Follow the link, choose your format, and using your domain enter your email and an accessible copy will be sent to you within a few minutes (usually 10 minutes). For more complex content that has detailed formatting, pictures, etc. we can set you up with a license of ABBYY Fine Reader or you are welcome to use our computer equipped with a “hot” folder.

Additionally, our office maintains an Optical Character Recognition Scanner (OCR) to assist with larger documents (book size documents etc.).

If your content requires charts, graphs, matrix sets etc., it may be necessary to provide those in a tactile format for students with visual impairment.  AEC can help coordinate creation of tactile/braille content via our 3D TactPlus Printer or Thermal PIAF. Please reach out if you need this. We will help coordinate delivery of those documents to students.

Regarding Alternate Format Textbooks and audio books if you assign additional books or supplemental items, you can contact us directly. We can assist with this.

Some students may be using Assistive Technology or software provided by the AEC (Sonocent, Kurzweil, or JAWS) in order to access your course. If you are aware of students experiencing technical problems please refer them to the AEC or IT.

Regarding supplemental materials, if the student qualifies for supplemental materials or lecture notes and if you are not already posting those for everyone, reasonable efforts should be made to provide those before the class meeting. For students with visual impairment, this would include the presentation itself if you plan to present via Zoom, Skype or some other video platform, so that the student has an accessible copy in advance.

Finally, we have provided some recommendations for you regarding specific accommodations. The AEC Team continues to be dedicated to ensuring that the Tennessee Tech environment is accessible to students with disabilities.  

For a list of students with disabilities enrolled in your course(s) receiving accommodations and to learn more about their specific accommodations, faculty members can log into the AIM system.  Additionally, here’s a link to some best practice for developing an online course that was developed in recent days as a result of the COVID-19 crisis:  A TOOLKIT FOR DEVELOPING AN ACCESSIBLE ONLINE COURSE.

As always, we are here for you!

Wings Up!


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