Access and Equity Services

Access and Equity Services (AES) is guided by Saskatchewan's Human Rights legislation and the duty to accommodate individuals requiring accommodations based on disability, religion, family status, and gender identity.

AES is currently staffed remotely and maintaining regular office hours. Send questions or book a phone or WebEx appointment by email at aes@usask.ca.

Drop-in appointments

Drop-ins resume Mon., Sept. 14, 2020
Mon. and Thurs. mornings 9:30 am - noon
Tues. and Wed. afternoons 2 - 4 pm

These will not be in person meetings.

To book a drop-in appointment with an AES advisor email aes.advising@usask.ca during any of the drop-in times with the subject line "Drop-In" and you will be put into the queue. Please expect to wait as these are 15 minute appointment slots.

Letters to Professors

Request your Letters to Professors and deliver them to your instructors early in the term. Be prepared to have a conversation with your instructors about your disability-related needs.

Notetaking

If you have notetaking as an accommodation, you may still request notetaking for courses where there is virtual or audio instruction. We cannot request notetakers for classes that are strictly text based. These classes have no "lectures" and instead just have assigned readings.

We will look for a volunteer to share the notes they take down on the audio/visual parts of the course (the lecture and any live discussions) that help to supplement the notes provided by your professor. This is the same that we ask when they are in class and listening to the lecture, except now they are taking notes for the video and audio recordings instead of the in class lectures. Notetakers cannot be asked to share notes on readings that are not discussed during class lecture/discussions, as was the case for in person classes.

Notetakers will post notes weekly to Blackboard.

If you have questions about your notes, the frequency of their posting, need to cancel a notetaking request or have any other notetaking related questions, please email aesnotetaking@usask.ca.

Exam accommodations

In the 2020 Fall Term, most students will be writing their exams remotely.

At the AES Exam Program, we've shifted our focus from providing accommodations to supporting both students and instructors during this transition to online learning. We are here to help.

During the summer months, we learned that many students are not comfortable advocating for their own accommodations. We also learned that many instructors still want AES to identify which students need accommodations for each exam.

How to request exam accommodations in the 2020 Fall Term

For the 2020 Fall Term, you should continue to request your AES exam accommodations the same way you always have:

  • Request your Letters to Professors and deliver them to your instructors early in the term. Be prepared to have a conversation with your instructors about your disability-related needs.
  • Use the AES online request form in your AES Exam Service channel to request accommodations whenever they are needed.
  • Return to the AES Exam Service channel to check for updates on your accommodation requests. (Each exam request is a link; click on it to open the dialogue box.)
  • AES will put any relevant information about your exam accommodations into the exam note box approximately 5-7 days prior to your exam date.

Tips for accessing your accommodations remotely

If your exam is:

  1. A take-home or open-book exam:
    • Submit your request for accommodations using the Exam Service channel in your AES PAWS tab.
    • When the form asks for the start and end time of the exam, what AES really needs to know is the expected duration. If the class is expected to finish the exam in 60 minutes or in 3 hours, just choose start and end times that reflect that duration.
    • Give us as much additional information as you have in exam note box. (e.g., If the class has 24 hours to complete the exam within.)
    • Extra time accommodations typically do NOT apply to these types of exams. Students are usually given a longer timeframe in which to complete a shorter exam. (e.g., You may be given 24 hours to complete an exam that is designed to take three hours. In which case, you can certainly take extra time if you require.)
    • Reader/scribe accommodations typically do NOT apply to these types of exams either. This is essentially an assignment or paper and should be tackled as such. However, if you feel you do need a reader and/or scribe, email us at aesexams@usask.ca.
    • All other accommodations should be manageable in your own home, such as lighting, access to a sofa, etc.
  2. Timed online exam:
    • Submit your request for accommodations using the Exam Service channel in your AES PAWS tab.
    • AES will let your instructor know that you need the timer adjusted for your exam.
    • We encourage you to try using Read&Write software in place of a human reader and/or scribe, if that is one of your accommodations. More information about Read&Write.
      • If you will be using the software, please do not check off the accommodation of reader and/or scribe on your request form.
      • If you need a live reader and/or scribe to work with you, check that off on the request form and AES will schedule staff to work with you over WebEx.
    • All other accommodations should be manageable in your own home, such as lighting, access to a sofa, etc.
Notes

A few classes will be held on campus (primarily in professional colleges). However, AES staff is required to work remotely and cannot set up accommodations on campus this fall. If you require accommodations for an on-campus exam, your college will set those up for you. Please reach out to your college or to aesexams@usask.ca for assistance.

The professional Colleges of Medicine and Dentistry, as well as the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, arrange exam accommodations for their students. If you are in one of these colleges please contact your college for accommodations as needed.

Jane Jarrow, Ph.D., who is a consultant and recognized authority on disability-related accommodations in post-secondary settings, developed a guide to help students adapt to the new protocols being put in place due to COVID-19. The guide is titled, "Maintaining Access to Opportunity In the Face of the Coronavirus Crisis", and the section on section on exams was contributed by Jessica Holdren & Kathy Duffy of Arcadia University (Pennsylvania, USA). It is copied and pasted verbatim below.

Creating an optimal exam environment at home

  • Set up your space before taking your exam to minimize distractions. Make the environment feel like a testing environment (in other words, don't decide to eat your lunch while you are taking your exam or have your television on in the background).
  • Turn off phones. If you have a landline, set the ringer to silent or low.
  • Place a "do not disturb" or "testing in progress" sign on your door.
  • Inform family members (who might also be home) that you will be taking an exam for a specific span of time to minimize interruptions.
  • You might want to use a lock down browser if you're prone to surfing the internet.
  • Have all allowed materials available and organized before starting the exam.
  • At least 15 minutes before the exam, set up your environment to make sure you do not have any computer or internet access issues.
  • If fidgets or music/sound help you, make sure you have these items available.

In general

  • Know the rules and expectations of taking the exam online. Is it open book/note or are students held to the honor system? Are you being proctored remotely by your professor or a computer program?
  • Can you start the exam at any time or is the exam only available during a certain time frame?
  • Before starting the exam, make sure you know how many questions are on the exam and how much time you have so you can plan accordingly. Since we won't be there to give a warning, you might want to set a timer to go off 10 minutes before your time is up.
  • Have a clock or timer nearby so you can track how much time you have.
  • Have scrap paper so that you can note questions you want to revisit.
  • Questions may be presented one at a time. It may be more difficult to navigate an exam and go back to review questions. Jot down question numbers and note any questions you may have.
  • If you have clarification questions for your professor, will you be able to reach the professor? How will you do this? Find out before you take your exam.
  • You may have finally gotten used to the format of your teacher's in-class exams and suddenly that format might be different as it shifts to an online platform.
    • Reach out to your teachers and ask if the exams will be different. The more prepared you are with what to expect, the better.
    • If you are suddenly allowed to use notes or access your books during an exam, be careful not to use up all of your time and rely too heavily on these materials. It is better to put an answer down that you think is correct and then return to that question later if you have time at the end to double check than to spend time searching for each of the answers.

Academic accommodations

If you have questions about your academic accommodations in an online format, please email aes@usask.ca.

"May be absent occasionally" accommodation

This accommodation will no longer be applicable for courses that are text based and do not have an attendance or class participation policy. If there are participatory expectations such as class discussions or discussion postings for specific dates, please discuss with your instructor how this accommodation would be implemented within the context of that course.

"May need to negotiate extensions for assignments" accommodation

If you require an extension on an assignment, follow the same process for requesting extensions as you would for in-person classes. Do not request open-ended extensions, negotiate a reasonable due date with your instructor. You will be held to the new completion date so be realistic with the timeframe to avoid possible grade deductions.

Frequently asked questions

If you are submitting your completed AES Medical Questionnaire or a Psychoeducational
Assessment to our office, email is best: aes@usask.ca. If you do not have access to a scanner,
many smartphones offer that capability either through free apps such as Microsoft Office Lens or the built-in iOS Notes App.

You can still register with Access and Equity Services, though registration appointments will be over the phone or via WebEx.

Accommodations for students registered with the Access and Equity Services office will remain in place, however some may no longer be applicable in an online environment. Please contact your AES advisor or aes@usask.ca if you have questions about the applicability of your accommodations in an online course.

Yes, you may request accommodations at any point during your education. If you encounter disability-related barriers in the context of online education (or for any other reason), you are warmly encouraged to reach out to the Access and Equity Services to discuss accommodation possibilities and other ways we can support you.

Students do not need to be on campus to request accommodations or work with the Access and Equity Services. You may request new accommodations or changes to current accommodations at any time by submitting the appropriate medical documentation. Students who have never worked with the AES office should complete the appropriate documentation to register.

Students who are already registered with the AES office should not fill out a new request form. Instead, request to schedule a meeting with their AES advisor or assistive technology advisor by contacting aes@usask.ca.

This is a very difficult and complicated time for the entire community. Please know that AES is here for you, we understand the importance of accessibility at any time, and we look forward to working together to address issues and answer questions as they arise.

The move to an online or distance learning environment may pose unique challenges for people with disabilities, and AES and our partners across campus are working to anticipate needs, educate faculty, and support students to the very best of our abilities.

Instructors are being encouraged to be flexible with students and to communicate their expectations clearly.

Students are encouraged to communicate openly with their instructors and advocate for their needs. Reaching out to instructors is recommended even if you have had conversations with them about accommodations in the past. If you encounter a new access barrier in the online learning environment, please reach out to AES for help.

Student Affairs and Outreach is available to students in distress and/or connect them to mental health providers in their home communities.