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

In-person drop-in appointments with Access and Equity Services (AES) are cancelled until further notice. Please email aes@usask.ca to book an appointment to speak with an advisor, regardless of whether or not you are registered with AES.

Exams

All 2020 Spring Term and 2020 Summer Term final exams will not be in person and instead will be held remotely. As a result, AES will not provide any in-person accommodations on campus. You need to arrange most accommodations on your own.

Learn more about the exam changes.

If your final exam is:

  1. A take-home assignment or open-book:
    • 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. Online:
    • If you need extra time for an online exam, you MUST contact your instructor.
      • Your instructor will need to contact their college's ICT team and ask for the timer to be "broken" on the exam, so that you can get your extra time. This is a simple phone call or email on their part and should not be difficult for them to do.
    • We strongly encourage you to use Read&Write software in place of a human reader and/or scribe. More information about Read&Write.
      • If you strongly feel that you need someone to work with you in-person, email us at aesexams@usask.ca.
    • All other accommodations should be manageable in your own home, such as lighting, access to a sofa, etc.

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.

Note taking

Students who have notetaking as an accommodation may still request notetaking for courses where there is virtual or audio instruction. In classes where information is presented in a text based format (course readings with no audio visual components) note-taking will not be provided.

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.