Faculty, Accommodations, & COVID-19 Information

Faculty Notice Regarding CEA Accommodations  


CEA staff are available to work with you to identify appropriate strategies to meet disability-related access needs and limit the impact to student learning, as courses are transitioned to an online environment. Although more communication may be required, guidance is provided below on how to facilitate common accommodations in an online setting. Also, you may use the CEA Faculty Login to review academic accommodations for students registered in your course(s). 

For regularly updated information on facilitating accommodations during this difficult situation, visit the CEA’s dedicated site for COVID-19 student accommodation information. For the latest updates on health, wellness and prevention information relevant to the entire campus, visit the university’s Coronavirus Update site. 


Information From the Provost

  • Need help preparing to teach remotely? The university’s Teaching Innovation and Pedagogical Support (TIPS) Center is ready to help.
    • Call the TIPS Remote Teaching Hotline: 479-575-6804 (Mon-Sat. 7 a.m.-10 p.m. and Sunday 7 a.m.-11 p.m.)
    • Or email: tips@uark.edu.
  • Available resources include one-on-one support, Blackboard course information, departmental workshops, articles, tutorials and contingency planning guidance for delivering courses and content to students online or via other alternative methods.
  • The Wally Cordes Teaching and Faculty Support Center is also providing a list of faculty resources for coping with the pandemic.
  • In addition, Remote Lab allows access to many computer lab resources remotely from any device and any location.

Additional Resources

Explore Access: Tools for Promoting Disability Access and Inclusion

OCR Short Webinar on Online Education and Website Accessibility


 From the CEA

1. TIPS - CONTINGENCY PLANNING: 

In addition to the TIPS Center contingency planning guidance, they also have great information about how to adapt your course to an online environment, make your course content accessible for all students, utilize Blackboard Ally and how to implement accommodations for online students.  Check out the TIPS information regarding remote teaching workshops!


2. TEST/QUIZ ACCOMMODATIONS: 

Given the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) developments, the CEA Test Center will not be proctoring on-site/in-person exams for the remainder of the semester. All exams should be administered online or through other remote assessment methods. Students and faculty should communicate to discuss exam accommodations.

The CEA Test Center Staff is available Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm to students and instructors to consult about unique circumstances and accommodations not easily facilitated online/ alternative options.

Extended time in Blackboard:

Extended time can be easily facilitated in Blackboard. For information on how to program extended time into Blackboard, please review Blackboard Tips for instructions on how to program extra time into Blackboard.

Assistive Software:

Most assistive software is not accessible when using Respondus Lockdown Browser (LDB) or Respondus Monitor. The CEA maintains that forgoing to use Lockdown Browser will directly allow the student to access their assistive technology accommodations in a manner that is similar to their peers. This option also reduces the probability of the university receiving unnecessary grievances. Please consider the following options for removing Lockdown Browser:

LDB Alternative: Faculty use the Adaptive Release feature for individuals or a specific group of students who cannot use the Lockdown browser. This will allow students to complete the exam in Blackboard without Respondus Lockdown Browser. For additional instructions: Quick Start Guide - Respondus Lockdown Browser or contact tips@uark.edu.


3. LECTURES: 

If lecture content is being delivered via video presentations or web conferencing sessions, we encourage faculty to record and post those lectures for viewing outside of “class time.”  Many students have unexpected barriers arise that may limit their ability to log in, listen and take notes during the scheduled class time.  For example, students experience technical difficulties, visual and auditory processing limitations, an exacerbation of chronic health or psychiatric limitations, and they may be distracted as a result of caring for a child or family member during this time.


4. NOTE-TAKING SERVICES: 

Although online students might have access to recordings and text in their course, some students will still require note-taking services. In an online environment, examples of when note-taking might be needed include: 

  • Audio files that do not include a transcript. 
  • Videos (lectures, presentations, etc.) that do not include captions; however, even when they include captions, there may be times when note-taking is required. If a transcript can be made available, this will suffice. 
  • Live web conferencing sessions where there is no transcription available. 

CEA will contact you if a note-taker is needed. For courses with a note-taker already assigned, CEA has already requested that the note-taker continue uploading notes. 


5. ACCESSIBLE COURSE DOCUMENTS & EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS: 

When creating new materials to post online, be sure to follow best practices, which are listed on the TIPS website, for creating documents that are fully accessible to individuals with disabilities. CEA staff are available to convert materials into an accessible format for students. 


6. ATTENDANCE FLEXIBILITY AND/OR REASONABLE EXTENSION OF ASSIGNMENT DEADLINES: 

Although we are operating under special circumstances to maintain the health of our University of Arkansas community, students with attendance flexibility and/or reasonable extension of assignment deadlines as an accommodation typically have disabilities that are episodic and chronic in nature. These accommodation should be provided unless the accommodation threatens the integrity of the course as offered in an online learning environment. 

A. Parameters for a reasonable extension of assignment deadlines are established by faculty during student-faculty discussion of accommodations. The number of days given for each assignment extension depends on the interactive or participatory nature of a course, or is based on department, college or accrediting agency rules. Students must communicate with instructors to determine the maximum extension that can be given on each assignment without compromising the integrity of the course/program. 

B. Now that courses are online, faculty and students need to revisit/revise the attendance flexibility agreement and detail the expectations for making up course requirements, if missed due to a disability exacerbation. The CEA recommends that the details of this discussion be documented in writing using the Attendance Flexibility Agreement Form or via email. 

C. To quickly determine what students have access to these accommodations: 

1. Log into your Faculty portal. 
2. Enter your UARK username and password and click “Log in.” 
3. Click “Continue to View Student Accommodations.” 
4. Select “Export Student Accommodation Requests.” 
5. Open Excel spreadsheet detailing each student’s individual accommodations. 
6. The “Attendance Flexibility” and “Reasonable extension of assignment deadlines” columns are identified by the word “Yes.” 


7. COMMUNICATION ACCESS:

Contact the CEA to determine how the following communication access accommodations will be implemented in an online setting: 

  • Accessible audio/video – captions needed 
  • Assistive Listening Device (ALD) 
  • Real Time Transcribing 
  • Sign Language Interpreter 
  • Speech-reading statement 
  • Other Communication Aid 

 We appreciate your patience, collaboration and flexibility as we work together to ensure access for students with disabilities during this difficult situation. Please contact the CEA with questions/concerns and we will respond as quickly as possible.