How does UD relate to DSS and accessibility?
Universal Design relates specifically to Disability Support Services in a few different ways.
- It is important to note that the presence of universal design does not necessarily remove the need for accommodation.
- For example, deaf students will need an ASL interpreter in the classroom, despite the other ways in which the class implements elements of UD.
- Here is another, more nuanced example:
- Professor Jones' history class is 60 minutes long. Usually the class receives 60 minutes to take their exams. Bobby has an accommodation for extended time on tests (time and a half). If Professor Jones decides to give the entire class 90 minutes on the upcoming test, she still needs to provide Bobby additional time on the 90 minute exam time the whole class has, not the 60 minutes that is typically used. Extended time is based on the amount of time that the class receives for the test.
- DSS works with professors on alternative formats of text. This happens when a student with a disability and DSS-approved accommodation for alt-format needs an accessible or otherwise altered version of course materials (such as in Braille, e-Text, etc.)
- In this situation, faculty would not be expected to convert their course materials from standard text into Braille. DSS has the equipment and professionally-trained staff to handle this workload.
- However, faculty are expected to create accessible materials and use accessible formats in their classes, generally.
- Please click the link here or visit our Creating Accessible Texts for Universal Design page to learn the basics of creating an accessible document.
- DSS leadership and staff are professionally trained in disability law, theory, and practice, whereas most professors are not, despite implementing principles of universal design.
- If there are question about the accessibility of a course, its materials, or the implementation of certain accommodations, please contact DSS immediately. DSS will work with you to review the specific situation and provide guidance as needed.