Disability impacts all of us. Did you know that, according to the CDC, 26% of adults in the United States have some type of disability? Statistically speaking, most people will be affected by disability at some point in their lives, even if only temporarily.
Consider the many forms that disability can take:
- Do you wear eyeglasses or contacts?
- Do you have problems concentrating or remembering things?
- Do you struggle with chronic pain, allergies, or frequent illness?
You may not realize it, but all of these conditions are technically disabilities.
Disabilities affect how we are able to navigate the world around us, to varying degrees. They can affect where we can go, what we can do, and in some cases how we are able to learn or what we may need to succeed academically.
Nobody should be denied full access to education because of a disability. Therefore, we all have an obligation to ensure that the education and the services we provide at Nashville State are accessible to everyone.
What is accessibility?
Accessibility is exactly what it sounds like – it is a framework for providing access to the greatest number of people possible, including people with disabilities who may face barriers to access otherwise.
By definition, accessibility is:
- Inclusive. Accessibly designed facilities or resources are created to meet the needs of people of all abilities, especially those who might be otherwise excluded from using them.
- Proactive. Accessibility is about removing common barriers before people experience them. At Nashville State, all web pages, instructional materials, and physical facilities should be designed to remove potential barriers to access before students experience them.
- The law. Finally, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates that individuals with disabilities have a right to an accessible education. Education is only accessible when individuals with disabilities are able to independently acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services within the same time frame as individuals without disabilities, with substantially equivalent ease of use. Nashville State, therefore, has a legal obligation to remove potential barriers to educational access.
Nashville State strives to achieve accessibility for everyone. All faculty and staff are encouraged to think proactively about how they can anticipate and remove potential barriers to access for our students, as much as possible.
What are accommodations?
Nashville State also makes specific academic accommodations to individual students with disabilities, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Accommodations are specific academic adjustments or auxiliary aids that provide students with disabilities equal access to educational programs and services.
Unlike accessibility, which is a general framework applied to everyone, accommodations are:
- Individual, or designed with an individual student in mind, and
- Reactive. Accommodations are intended to remove barriers to educational access after a student has identified them and requested specific changes be made.
A few examples of accommodations might include:
- Extended time on tests
- Taking an exam in a minimal distraction area
- Recording a lecture
- Having a note-taker
What is the difference?
Here is a useful way to remember the difference between accommodations and accessibility:
"Accommodations are for a specific student. Accessibility is for everyone."
Accessibility Support at Nashville State
The Access Center
The Access Center provides a support system for students who have educational, psychological, and/or physical disabilities who may be eligible for accommodations that provide equal access to educational programs and activities at their home campus. These students must contact the Access Center to discuss individual needs. The student must provide documentation of the disability so that reasonable accommodations can be requested in a timely manner. A minimum of two weeks is usually required to arrange classroom accommodations but please notify a representative at the beginning of the semester if possible. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements in a class, with or without reasonable accommodations.
The Office of Online Learning
The Office of Online Learning (OOL) is committed to supporting online education at Nashville State Community College for all faculty, staff, and students interested in utilizing NS Online/D2L and supported technologies for online learning to promote collaborative, interactive, and creative learning experiences for all users. Utilizing Universal Design strategies to generate authentic learning experiences for our online learners, OOL works with faculty to develop quality online content applying foundational pedagogical theories, innovative technology, and sound instructional design principles. Our goal is to build a supportive campus network to meet the needs of our online faculty members and improve our online student learning experiences.
Accessibility Tools in D2L for Students
Nashville State Community College is committed to building more inclusive learning environments through the integration of Ally within D2L. Ally is an innovative tool that makes online course content more accessible for all learners. Accessibility is vital to Nashville State’s strategic plan to promote equitable educational experiences and we should be dedicated to creating a culture of inclusion for all students and not just meet the needs of those with disabilities. Ally in D2L Brightspace helps institutions provide a more personalized approach to the diverse needs of 21st-century learners and sparks a shift towards more inclusive content practices. Ally also offers students alternative formats to download content, including Semantic HTML, Tagged PDF, Audio, ePub, and Electronic Braille, among others. Students now have several choices to engage with course content that best suits their individual learning preferences. Please review the resources below for more information about Ally in D2L.
How do Nashville State students apply for accommodations?
The Nashville State Access Center is responsible for documenting and recommending accommodations for students with disabilities. The Access Center provides an accommodation process along with forms and information. To find more information about accommodations, or to begin the accommodations process, please visit the Access Center page. You may also call 615-353-3721, 615-353-3741, or email firstname.lastname@example.org