Pilot instructor module makes sending accommodation letters, reserving exams rooms easier

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Photo Credit: Andrew Choi | Daily Texan Staff

Services for Students with Disabilities is currently beta-testing a system that will allow professors to view student accommodation requests online.

Currently, students can request accommodations online, but they must bring their professors physical copies of the paperwork. This summer, SSD will soft launch the SSD Instructor Web Portal, which allows professors to view accommodation letters and confirm exam rooms and testing modifications online. 

The module, which will officially launch in fall 2019, makes the accommodation request process more efficient, said Amita Srinivasan, co-director of Student Government’s disability and inclusion agency.

“(The student) can just book their exam online and the professor can just confirm and say yes,” said Srinivasan, a psychology and human dimensions of organizations sophomore. “It saves so much time and energy for the student.”

Srinivasan said the current accommodation letter and exam room request processes place the burden of getting accommodations on the student.

“It’s just a waste of time for me to go around simply confirming my exam time (on paper) when I could be spending my time doing more productive things, such as studying,” Srinivasan said.

 

SSD assistant director Emily Shryock said the office’s student advisory committee, which Srinivasan is part of, and the faculty advisory committee gave input on necessary features for both the instructor and student modules. Shryock said the module is not meant to replace a conversation with the professor, and students should still meet with professors to discuss accommodations. 

“We started with the student side of things, and now that those modules have been implemented, we’re starting with the instructor side,” Shryock said.

Shryock said the online module will speed up the process of the student and professor meeting to discuss accommodations.

“By having the instructor included on the email, it already provides that introduction,” Shryock said. “It’s our office starting that conversation.”

Math professor Kirk Blazek is on the faculty advisory committee and is currently beta-testing the module. Blazek said the module is more organized and accessible than managing the paperwork.

“It’s not an earth-shattering revelation, but it is one of those little ways where I wish my life was little bit easier — and now it is,” Blazek said.

Blazek said professors will benefit from the increased options to accommodate students.

“I still have the ability to do everything I wanted to do last year, but I also have the extra convenience of uploading (exams) directly to the module,” Blazek said.