To explore some of the more specific challenges to implementation, we asked our Sonocent Community about their views on the obstacles they face and what can be done to help.
Sonocent Community Member, Auxiliary Services Manager
Our biggest obstacle in implementing accommodations for students (Particularly Assistive Technology) is faculty resistance around using recording or technology options in the classroom or testing environments. There is no formal faculty training through our campus pertaining to potential accessibility needs for students. There is also not a lot of understanding of what tools are out there, how they can be utilized, and that there are trained staff on campus that can help. Many have strict laptop policies with exceptions for accessibility needs but in general students don’t want to be singled out, since others would then know they have a disability.
A large number of faculty don’t seem to know they have their own rights and responsibilities with regards to recording lectures. There doesn’t seem to be an understanding that the audio is just another avenue for the same material as is written, and that it is for personal study use of the student with permission.
29% of respondents said resistance from faculty was ‘challenging’ or ‘very challenging’
To work towards solving this, my department has expanded our student and faculty responsibilities and updated our website. We have tried to expand conversations with students about these policies and really encourage them to have conversations with their faculty.
We have also been a resource for many faculty members, once they have a student with laptop or recording adjustments. I would like to host a demo/Q&A session for our community (faculty, staff, and students) of various recording tools students may be eligible to use from our office, or may have purchased for themselves.
My advice to anyone in a similar position would be to work on creating a network, both on your campus as well as with other disability support offices. The more positive communication we can have about disabilities, sharing information, and supporting students, the better.