Thank you for your commitment to students with disabilities at Northern Kentucky University. This section will provide you with information and resources to support the needs of students with disabilities. Here you will find information regarding the Office for Student Accessibility (OSA) procedures and best practices for the accommodation and inclusion of NKU students with disabilities. OSA looks forward to working with you to create a welcoming and accessible classroom and campus environment.
OSA has a new online system called Accommodate which will allow you to view the students in your current courses that are registered with our office and see what their approved accommodations are. Through this system, you will also be able to approve a student's request for testing throught the Testing Center and upload testing materials.
With the recent move to an online format for courses, it is important that we together continue to meet the requirements of approved academic accommodations and the provision of accessible content for students with disabilities.
In some cases, you may know that a student in your class has a disability because they have presented you with an Accommodation Letter from the Office for Student Accessibility (OSA). However, it could also be the case that students who have not previously disclosed their disability to you will now need you to make accommodations or accessibility considerations based on the changing nature of the course instruction. In either case, it is important to be responsive to all students who identify barriers.
Students who are registered with the Office for Student Accessibility are receiving direct communication from OSA in regards to any questions/concerns they may have in regards to how they their accommodations may be implemented now. Students who may require additional, specialized direct support to ensure access (for example, students who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing) are being contacted individually, and their faculty will receive personalized follow up plans for ensuring access. Below you will find some guidance on common accommodations, and what that may look like in an online format:
Accessible and Accommodated Online Exams
If you are using online proctoring for exams, please make sure to communicate this to your students prior to exam deployment. Students with disabilities should take their tests and quizzes in the same format and setting as the rest of your class, and it will be your responsibility to provide testing accommodations through those platforms if notified by a student that they receive this accommodation.
If a student has extra time on exams, your online exam must be extended per their accommodation. If you are unsure of how much time the student should receive, please reach out to our office. For technical assistance with exam accommodations please connect with the NKU IT Help Desk.
Students who utilize screen readers for exams will have access to an online cloud-based screen reader (Kurzweil 3000), which they can download on any computer and use from anywhere. We have already communicated with those that have this accommodation, that they will be responsible for downloading and using this screen reader. However, that while screen readers should work with a lock down browser, there could be possible glitches, so it is not recommended. If you would like to see how the screen reader is downloaded or try it yourself, below are the instructions for download.
Kurzweil 3000 computer screen reader is available to all NKU students. Below are the steps to begin using the cloud-based Kurzweil system.
Accessible and Accommodated Course Content
Many of our students utilize note taking or tape recording as an accommodation. Due to the large number of students with this accommodation, we are asking that all faculty record their lectures, to then post within their Canvas course. Recording the lectures may also benefit other students who are not registered with our office.
We have students registered with our office who utilize closed captioning. We have reached out individually to these students and will be in touch with their professors in regards to implementing this accommodation for those students. Please know that if you have someone in your course that may not have identified until now that they need closed captioning, CITE is available to help guide you through this.
Remember that you can utilize the Ally accessibility guidance available in Canvas and needed when you create new content. If a student contacts you because they cannot access your content using assistive technology, refer to these resources to correct accessibility errors. If there is a barrier to a third party platform, or, the remediation of the content is highly technical in nature, contact CITE for guidance.
OSA is available to consult with you on any access concerns and questions.
One of the key steps to take is to ensure that your syllabus outlines all expectations and requirements from the beginning of the semester including all assignments, required books and readings, research projects, project due dates, exam/quiz dates, etc.
There are several reasons why a syllabus statement is critical. A syllabus statement normalizes the accommodation process, while helping to create a positive and welcoming environment for students with disabilities. The statement invites the instructor, student, and the Office for Student Accessibility to work together in an interactive and collaborative process when providing legally mandated accommodations. It also serves as a reminder to students who request accommodations that these arrangements need to be made each semester. Feel free to choose from one of the sample syllabus statements below:
Sample Statement 1
Northern Kentucky University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for all persons with disabilities. The syllabus is available in alternate formats upon request. Students with disabilities: If you are seeking classroom accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you are required to register with the Office for Student Accessibility (OSA) in SU 303. To receive academic accommodations for this class, please obtain the proper OSA forms and meet with me at the beginning of the semester. More information on the Office for Student Accessibility can be found at http://nku.edu/osa.
Sample Statement 2
The University is committed to making reasonable efforts to assist individuals with disabilities in their efforts to avail themselves of services and programs offered by the University. To this end, Northern Kentucky University will provide reasonable accommodations for persons with documented qualifying disabilities. If you have a disability and feel you need accommodations in this course, you must present a letter to me from the Office for Student Accessibility (SU 303), indicating the existence of a disability and the suggested accommodations. More information can be found at http://nku.edu/osa.
Sample Statement 3
Students who are registered with Office for Student Accessibility (OSA) and receive accommodations should notify me as soon as possible to avoid any delays in implementing those accommodations. Student who are not already registered but may be eligible due to a documented disability should visit OSA (Student Union 303) to discuss accommodations. More information can be found at http://nku.edu/osa.
These are general statement samples. You are welcome (and encouraged) to state that you support inclusion, foster an equitable classroom experience, etc. This message is simple but goes a long way in making students with disabilities feel welcome and comfortable in the classroom.
Once students complete OSA registration they are eligible to begin using accommodations. Each semester and for every class, students must request an Accommodation Letter via the Accommodate portal. Accommodations are not retroactive and begin from the date of formal notification. The Accommodation Letter will be given to you by the student and outlines approved reasonable accommodations that will allow the student to fully access the course.
In general, faculty are not required to fundamentally alter a course by eliminating essential requirements of a course, i.e., those outcomes (including skills, knowledge, and attitudes) all students must demonstrate. It may be appropriate, at times, for the instructor, student, and OSA to engage in a dialogue about accommodations, particularly if the instructor believes the recommended accommodations are a fundamental alteration of the course.
Students are strongly encouraged to initiate a meeting to discuss accommodation plans. However, if you receive a letter and the student does not contact you regarding their accommodations, we recommend reaching out to the student. A brief email acknowledging you received the Accommodation Letter and encouraging them to meet with you is suggested. Include this email in your class records. Both the student and the faculty share a responsibility to engage in necessary accommodation discussions, through the assistance of the OSA office, and to cooperate for development of a positive and reasonable accommodation experience.
To recap, students should do the following to request accommodations:
Test proctoring is a service provided by Testing Services at Northern Kentucky University. You are welcome to use Testing Services to proctor exams for students who have approved accommodations through the Office for Student Accessibility (OSA). As an alternative to using Testing Services, you may choose to proctor your own exams. Please ensure you can provide the requested accommodations before proctoring exams. Below are the steps to approve/deny a student's request.
1. Students request a testing appointment via Accommodate which generates an email sent to you from Testing Services.
2. Follow the link included in the email to log in to the Accommodate faculty portal with your NKU username and password.
3. Select “Courses” at the left side of your home screen.
4. Choose the course in which the student is enrolled. The student’s course and section will be included in the initial email.
5. Click the “Room Bookings” tab near the top of the screen.
6. Approved testing appointments will be visible on the next page. To approve new exam requests, click the “Pending” tab to the left of the “Approved” tab.
7. Click on the name of your student.
8. This will take you to the Alternative Testing Room Booking form, which will allow you to input necessary details for Testing Services staff to administer the exam properly.
The student’s request will now appear in your “Approved” tab under Room Bookings. If you have any other testing requests, they will appear under the “Pending” tab. Repeat steps 4 on, to approve each testing request.
A video walking you through the above instructions is also available.
Proctored exams are monitored by closed circuit camera. Cell phone, smart watches, backpacks and other personal belongings are not permitted in the testing rooms. Students are advised to schedule exams within the same time frame that the exam is being given in class, unless an alternate time in collaboratively agreed upon between yourself and the student.
If you have questions about approving an exam request, please contact Testing Services at 859-572-6373 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are teaching an online course, your exam must be extended per their accommodation. If you are unsure of how much time the student should receive, please reach out to our office. For technical assistance with exam accommodations please connect with the NKU IT Help Desk.