Important information regarding how recent University changes will impact SAEO Operations, access, and student accommodations

As part of VCU's response to protecting the well-being of our community, SAEO will be suspending in-person meetings and moving to remote operations beginning Monday, March 23.  We understand that there is considerable uncertainty and confusion about how this will impact current and future students, as well as VCU faculty and staff. We want to assure you that SAEO, as always, is here to support you through this time and we will continue to place accessibility and inclusion as our top priorities. Answers to many of your questions can be found below. Additionally, you can always contact your case manager to discuss questions or concerns or reach out to the office at saeo@vcu.edu or (804) 828-2253.


 

Current Students

Will my accommodations still be in place? 

Yes! If you have been approved for accommodations, that has not changed. Accommodations you used in your in-person classes might look different or, in some cases, not be necessary now. In many cases, they will work the same as they always have. The best thing you can do at this time is to contact your instructors and ask the question, "How will my accommodations work in your class, moving forward?" As always, SAEO is here to help make these arrangements.

What should I do about my testing accommodations? Will I still test in SAEO's Testing Access Center? 

The Testing Access Center will be closed for the foreseeable future. As of now, this will include Final Exam Week. Since your exams will no longer be held on campus, we encourage you to contact your instructors as soon as possible to ask about how testing will work for the remainder of the semester. You should also inquire about how your testing accommodations (such as extended time) will be factored in. Any students needing assistance with testing should contact SAEO.

I have concerns about access to my classes in the online format. What should I do? 

Your instructors are in the process of redesigning their courses, as we speak. I encourage you to contact them immediately to share any concerns or ask any questions. The sooner they hear from you, the better able to address your concerns they will be. You can also contact SAEO with any questions or concerns. 

Have there been any major changes to the academic calendar? 

Yes. Here are the most notable changes announced as of 3/14. These are subject to further change.

There is so much information coming out, what are the best places to go to understand what is going on? 

  1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
    With all of the confusion and misinformation circulating about COVID-19 (Coronavirus), it is good to know where to turn for sound, factual information. The CDC webpage is your best resource for factual, up-to-date information.
  2. VCU Student FAQs
    This website will be updated continuously with new responses to the questions we are commonly receiving from you, our students.
  3. Keep on Learning
    VCU has created and will update the Keep on Learning website for students. This website will provide an overview of important information and tips to remain engaged with your classes as we move towards remote/online teaching. 
  4. Keep on Being Well at VCU
    VCU has always focused on wellness within our community. During times like these, it becomes even more of a priority. For tips and tools on how to focus on your well-being, take a look at our Keep on Being Well website.

Faculty/Instructors

What should I do about my student's accommodations? 

If a student has been approved for accommodations, that still holds true despite the change in the course format. For many students, the accommodations previously approved will not change. There will be some cases, the accommodations the student used in your in-person classes might look different or no longer be necessary not be necessary now The best thing you can do at this time is to contact your students and ask if they would like to have a discussion about how their accommodations will work in your class. We encourage you to be flexible and understanding throughout this process, as we all enter this period of uncertainty and change. As always, SAEO is here to help answer your questions and discuss any situation that may arise.

My students with testing accommodations used to take their exams with SAEO. How will this work now? 

SAEO typically proctors over 4,000 exams per year in our Testing Access Center to help our faculty and instructors ensure that all student testing accommodations can be met. With all courses being moved to a remote/online format, the Testing Access Center will be closed until further notice. Please consider how you can factor a student's accommodations into their exam. For most exams, this will just involve extending the window of time by 50-100%. You can give a student extra time on a test in Blackboard by using the Test Availability Exceptions feature under Test Options. If you have any questions about how to appropriately arrange a student's testing accommodations, you should contact them directly to discuss. You can also reach out to saeotestadmin@vcu.edu and we would be happy to help.

Where can I find information about how to make my courses accessible for students?

The ALT Lab's Accessibility in E-Learning guide will provide general information on how to make your courses accessible to as many students as possible. For more in-depth information, consider taking ALT Lab's self-paced Tips on Creating Accessible Course Content or Universal Design for Learning course. 

Who should I contact if I have technical questions about making my course accessible (e.g. how to caption a Kaltura video) during the rapid transition to remote classes? 

Faculty can request rapid transition assistance by completing the Rapid Transition Support form. Faculty in need of technical assistance can contact Technology Services. During regular academic periods, faculty can contact the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence for pedagogical support or contact Technology Services for technical support. 

I am in the process of moving my course to a remote format, what are some resources available to me during the rapid transition to make sure it will be accessible to students? 

The following tutorials can provide guidance in making your class accessible. 
Quick & Dirty Tips for Online Teaching: Accessibility
Closed Captions in Zoom
Transcripts in Zoom
Captioning in Kaltura

Future Students

I have committed to VCU and would like to start the process of registering for accommodations with SAEO. What should I do? 

First of all, congratulations and welcome to the VCU family! We are looking forward to working together. The intake process has not changed and you can learn more about it on our Registration page. We will begin reviewing intake materials for students entering in the fall sometime in mid-May. In the meantime, you can contact us at saeo@vcu.edu or (804) 828-2253 to speak with a member of our team.

I am thinking about coming to VCU and I would like to know more about the supports and services SAEO and VCU have to offer. Is there someone I can talk to? 

Absolutely! While we will not be able to hold in-person meetings for the foreseeable future, we are happy to set up a virtual meeting or phone call. You can contact us at  saeo@vcu.edu or (804) 828-2253 to speak with a member of our team.