Student Accessibility Management to provide independence

May 6, 2011 | News
By Cathy Zimmer

In order to enhance independence and recognize the uniqueness of each UT student, the Office of Accessibility will be releasing Student Accessibility Management (SAM) system, a new electronic automated system.

Angela Paprocki talked with Chris Brown, seated, and Nick Ruth who work in the Office of Accessibility.

Angela Paprocki talked with Chris Brown, seated, and Nick Ruth who work in the Office of Accessibility.

Scheduled to start Tuesday, July 5, students found eligible for academic accommodations will be able to log into the UT portal and electronically request services for each class at their convenience without having to come to campus.

“SAM puts the student in charge of managing their accommodations,” said Angela Paprocki, director of the Office of Accessibility. “Students will be able to request accommodations and services online at any time without having to come into the office.”

Students will be able to manage their accommodations by independently updating their requests. Some of the processes students will be able to complete online anytime will include changing and/or updating requests for accommodations when they add or drop a class; scheduling tests that require a reader or scribe and are administered through the office; and having reminder e-mails sent to themselves, assigned readers/scribes, and faculty members regarding upcoming tests. In addition, students requiring electronic texts will be able to check the status of the book conversion, and students will be able track the status of their accommodations and be able to use an online calendar feature to check test dates and other important dates.

The system also will allow note-takers to submit notes online providing quick and easy access for the students who are eligible for that accommodation. The SAM system also will allow students to contact their note-takers directly via e-mail should they have any questions.

Advocacy letters will be automatically sent electronically to the students and faculty members each time a student is found eligible for accommodations in a course, eliminating the need for a hard copy advocacy memo and providing a tracking mechanism for the office. Paprocki said the electronic advocacy memo notifies the faculty member of the accommodations the student is eligible for and provides information on how to access each required accommodation.

Faculty members with students in a course that requires accommodations will be asked to complete and return an electronic course questionnaire so that the Office of Accessibility can better assist in the provision of accommodations. Additionally, since students can become eligible for services at any time during the semester, Paprocki said it is important that faculty check their e-mail daily to ensure prompt attention to any new accommodation requests.

SAM training will be available in July and will consist of both online tutorials and face-to-face sessions. Several face-to-face training dates will be held throughout the summer and at the beginning of fall semester.

“Our goal is for each person to acquire the skills and to achieve the level of personal growth required to develop an independent lifestyle, which is essential in meeting individual, career and life objectives. SAM is one step to help us achieve this goal,” Paprocki said.

The Office of Accessibility supports students with disabilities as they develop their academic and personal potential within the University community. As the bridge to integration within the University, the office is an advocate for students’ rights; promotes awareness of disability issues; and works with faculty and departments to ensure equal access to University programs, activities and facilities. The office is part of the UT Learning Collaborative working to support and enhance the academic journey.

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