Accessible Learning Services
As the College moves courses to off-campus and alternate delivery, here are some general accessibility questions and answers to guide faculty practice and reduce barriers for students. Students will continue to have unique needs that require accommodation. Please remember to reach out to your Accessibility Consultant by email for individual accommodation questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Academic Accommodation Plans still apply at this time?
The College continues to provide accommodation support to students with disabilities. Accommodation plans can be accessed through Stu-View. Students can continue to contact ALS for accommodations.
How do I ensure that my documents are Accessible?
Here are some resources to support accessible course content:
Test accommodations for extra time still apply for Blackboard tests.
What is the most accessible online learning platform?
Blackboard is the accessible platform used by GBC with support in place for both faculty and students. Avoid introducing new communication platforms if at all possible. Use Blackboard to post resources and communicate with students. See Blackboard support and Blackboard training information.
How do I add test time for a Blackboard test?
To provide extra time for accommodations on Blackboard Tests:
Click the drop down icon beside the test you want to open > Select Edit tests options > scroll down to TEST AVAILABILITY EXCEPTIONS > Click Add User or Group > a popup window shows > select the students who need the access > Click Submit > under availability Select a date and time > Click submit.
Adjusting Test Time in Blackboard Video
Faculty, please inform students once the time has been adjusted in Blackboard settings.
What do I do when captioning is an accommodation and there are videos in the course?
Faculty who require videos to be captioned can contact Anne Villahermosa . There is a cost for this service and each program Chair must provide budget approval for all requests.
How do I provide captioning for Collaborate sessions?
Faculty who have a student with an accommodation plan requiring ‘Captioned Media’ can schedule Blackboard Collaborate live captioning sessions AT NO COST. Click here to request live captioning on Blackboard Collaborate.
How can I best support online student learning?
Provide clear and simple instructions for students. Let students know when you are available for questions or checking in around accommodation needs.
Be flexible and accommodate student needs and requests with the goal of reducing barriers for students (e.g. where students are unwell, students who don’t have consistent internet access). Allow students to select from multiple options wherever possible.
Do extensions and periodic absences still need to be honoured?
If a student has an extension or periodic absence accommodation, it must still be honored. Contact the Accessibility Consultant in your area if you have questions or need further guidance.
Are medical notes for missed tests still necessary?
Be mindful that due to quarantines, self-isolation, and the burden on the medical system, it may not be possible for students to access doctors' notes at this time. Students with extensions and periodic absence accommodations are not required to provide additional documentation for missed tests. Please contact the Accessibility Consultant with any questions.
What do I do if I think a student in my class has a disability?
During the welcome at the beginning of every course, it is good practice mention that Accessible Learning Services exists for any student who has a disability or who suspects they may have a disability (learning disability, mental health, etc.) and may wish to access accommodations.
During the semester, if you notice that a student is struggling and may benefit from services or accommodations offered by Accessible Learning Services you can refer the student to the Accessible Learning Services website or walk them to the Accessible Learning Services office on your campus to make the introduction.
Who is eligible to register for Accessible Learning Services?
Students who have a permanent or temporary disability, confirmed by documentation from a regulated health professional, or students who suspect they have a disability and are awaiting an assessment, are eligible to receive academic accommodations from Accessible Learning Services.
Accessible Learning Services supports students with many types of disabilities, including:
How does a student register with Accessible Learning Services?
Students are able to register by:
What types of accommodations does Accessible Learning Services provide?
Accommodations are specific supports which reduce or eliminate disability-related barriers so that students can achieve their academic goals. Accommodations do not modify academic standards or change the core requirements of a program.
Accessible Learning Services recommends accommodations for a variety of academic settings. For a more comprehensive list of accommodations and their definitions, please see Student Accommodation Plan.
How does Accessible Learning Services decide which accommodations a student will receive?
The student accommodation plan is prepared in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code and the George Brown College Accessible Learning Services policy.
Accommodations are unique to the individual and are determined by:
During a student’s course of study, their accommodations may need to be reviewed or revised depending on the demands of specific courses, field placements and other factors. You will be notified via email if any changes are made to the accommodation plan of a student in your class.
What should I do if I receive an accommodation plan for a student in my class?
When you receive an accommodation plan for a student in your class, it is important not to ask the student what their disability is or to speak to a student about their accommodation plan in an open setting. It is recommended that you offer to meet privately with the student, or email the student directly, and establish a means of providing accommodations in a timely manner that is satisfactory to you and the student. Faculty members can also greatly assist the student by asking what can be done in the course to facilitate learning and access to the class. It is important to remember that the information provided on an accommodation plan is private and confidential and should not be printed or saved to file.
Who do I contact if I have questions or concerns about the accommodation plan?
If you have any questions about the accommodation plan or are concerned that an accommodation may impact the academic integrity of your course, please contact the Accessibility Consultant that is listed on the student’s accommodation plan.
Do I have a responsibility to retroactively accommodate?
Yes, the College has a responsibility to consider retroactive accommodation requests based on an unexpected disruption related to the student’s disability. Retroactive accommodations are accommodations that are granted after an assignment due date, test, or course completion and frequently are made on behalf of a student who may not yet be registered with ALS. It is important the student be referred to ALS and that a thorough discussion take place between the academic department or professor, the consultant and the student about the feasibility of the student’s request. If you receive a request for a retroactive accommodation, please contact Accessible Learning Services.
Who do I contact when I am dealing with behavioural issues in class?
Students behave in ways that you may feel are disconcerting for a variety of reasons and may or may not have a disability. It is important for you to be familiar with the variety of College resources that are available on each campus: Public Safety and Security, Counselling, as well as Accessible Learning Services. The Manager of Student Concerns, Dale Hall, is also a useful resource in dealing with complex student issues.
If you suspect that there are disability-related reasons for unusual behaviours, please contact the student’s Accessibility Consultant for guidance and support. Students can choose to use or not use their accommodations and will do so based on their needs. Consultants can suggest strategies and behaviours to a student, but it is not the Consultant’s role to manage student behaviours. Students with accommodations must adhere to GBC’s Student Code of Conduct, like any other student.
Who do I contact if I have questions regarding the Assessment Centre?
If you are unsure of how to submit your test to the Assessment Centre, please visit the Assessment Centre’s webpage for faculty. If you have concerns about a student’s listed test accommodations, please contact the Accessibility Consultant. If you would like to make a complaint or have any other questions regarding Assessment Centre policies and procedures, please contact Jeff Reynolds and Anne Moore.
Why do I still get accommodation plans halfway through the semester or at the end of the semester?
There is no deadline for students to register with Accessible Learning Services. ALS encourages students to register and activate their accommodation plan as soon as possible.
If a student who qualifies as having a disability, makes a request to receive reasonable academic accommodations in a timely fashion, the college must comply.
There could be any number of reasons why a student may choose to disclose their need for accommodation later in the semester. These may include some of the following reasons:
What if I receive a request for test accommodations the day before a test?
During the student’s initial meeting with the Accessibility Consultant, we review with the student their responsibilities to notify professors and the Assessment Centre about test accommodation bookings 7 calendar days in advance. If you receive a request for testing accommodations the day before a test, the ability to implement those test accommodations is based on whether the faculty and the Assessment Centre has received sufficient notice to do so. For example, during busy times of the year (midterms and finals), the Assessment Centre may not be able to guarantee an appointment if a booking is made with less than 7 calendar days’ notice. Please refer to the Assessment Centre website for more detailed information on test booking procedures and timelines.
What if I have a question about a specific accommodation?
Please see our student accommodation plan page for detailed information regarding accommodations. If your question is still not answered, please contact the Accessibility Consultant.
Support for Faculty
Below is a list of the staff who can assist faculty as they transition to online formats. The Accessibility Consultants, the Access and Inclusion Coach and the Curriculum Specialists:
Accessibility Consultants Accessibility Consultants can support faculty with questions around implementing academic accommodations for their students, as we transition to off-campus platforms.
Accessible Learning Services Faculty Guide to Accommodations
Click here to access ALS Faculty Guide
Ontario Human Rights Commission
Policy on accessible education for students with disabilities
Universal Design for Learning Support
A Faculty Facilitator - Access Inclusion Coach is available to provide supports and resources for faculty around Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and Accessibility to ensure all students have access to the course content while we transition to off-campus learning. Click here to contact Ravinder Brar.