What Are Academic Accommodations?
Accommodation is the process of removing barriers which impact those with disabilities. Disabilities and accommodations can take many forms; if you are a student who requires accommodation for a long-term/permanent or temporary disability, and would like to discuss your needs, please contact Queen's Student Accessibility Services (QSAS) to begin their intake process. QSAS offers complete information for new and returning students about academic accommodation and other services for students with disabilities.
For more information, please refer to the following:
- Queen's University's Academic Accommodations Policy
- Queen's University's Academic Accommodations Procedure
- QSAS' Documentation Requirements and Forms
What Is Academic Consideration?
If, due to extenuating circumstances such as illness, injury, or family emergency, you are unable to meet one or more of your academic requirements (e.g., a test, exam, or assignment), you can submit a request for academic consideration via the Faculty of Arts & Science's Academic Consideration Request Portal (ACRP).
This form will determine eligibility, will guide the student through the process of applying for academic consideration, and will offer alternatives if it is determined that the student is not eligible for academic consideration. For more information, please visit the Faculty of Arts and Science's Academic Consideration for Extenuating Circumstances page.
Is Accommodation the Same Thing as Academic Consideration?
No. There can be overlap between the two, but they are two very different terms.
Academic accommodation is always related to a disability or condition that prevents a student from participating in their academic activities in the usual way. To accommodate a student is to remove those barriers so that they can have equal access. For example, a student with a visual disability can't read a test printed on paper, so this is considered a barrier. We can remove the barrier by providing the same test on a computer with text-to-speech software.
Academic consideration is a compassionate process for students to request permission to submit missed coursework such as tests and assignments after the due date if they missed the deadline due to extenuating circumstances (illness, family emergency, etc.). The term 'accommodate' should not be used interchangeably here, as it always refers to disability.
So, to summarize:
- academic accommodation is how a student writes a midterm test; and
- academic consideration is if a student is permitted to write a missed midterm test.
How Does the School of Computing Support Students With Disabilities?
Queen's University manages academic accommodations for disabilities centrally through Queen's Student Accessibility Services (QSAS) and the Exams Office. We at the School of Computing are committed to providing a fair, equitable, barrier-free learning experience for all students. If you have any questions about accessibility that are not answered here, please contact us at 613-533-6050 or by email.
How Do I Notify my Instructors or the School That I Require Accommodation?
Once you have registered your accommodations with Queen's Student Accessibility Services (QSAS) through the Ventus portal, your instructors and departmental administrator will receive an email notification that a student enrolled in their course requires accommodation. They will be able to access your accommodation requirements to see what your needs are.
You are never required to disclose medical information to your instructors or to departmental staff. This information is considered personal and confidential, and your medical documentation should not be sent to your instructors or to the department. QSAS acts as the gatekeeper for this process; they manage the handling and storage of this information and it is used to help determine what accommodations you will need. You will work with your advisor to develop an accommodation plan (previously referred to as a Letter of Accommodation) and these requirements will be added to your profile on Ventus.
What Is Ventus?
Ventus is the central accommodation management system used by Queen’s to coordinate the handling of disability-related information and administrative processes for the university. It is accessed by:
- QSAS staff - for intake and case management - highest access level, all records for the university including medical documentation.
- The Exams Office - to centrally manage accommodated in-person tests and exams for the university - second-highest access level, all accommodation records for the university, but not medical documentation.
- Designated departmental administrators - to gather statistics, coordinate academic considerations that require accommodation, or other course-related administrative coordination at the departmental level - third-highest access level, all accommodation records for all courses in their department, but not medical documentation.
- Students - to view/manage your information (medical and accommodation), and view/manage your accommodated tests and exams - individual-level access, you can access your own records.
- Your instructors - to coordinate your accommodation requirements in the classroom and work with the Exams Office to facilitate your accommodated tests and exams - course-level access, all accommodation records in their own courses, but not medical documentation.
How Are In-Term Test Accommodations Managed?
All accommodated in-person timed assessments - both in-term and final exams - are managed through the Exams Office in cooperation with Queen's Student Accessibility Services (QSAS). Students with disabilities register through QSAS and are added to Ventus, the university's accommodation management system. Instructors are notified when students in their courses are brought into Ventus, allowing them to review the students' accommodation requirements and make arrangements accordingly.
How Are In-Class Accommodations Managed?
Once you are registered with Queen's Student Accessibility Services (QSAS), your instructors in your current courses will be notified through Ventus that they have a student in their class that may require accommodation. They will be able to review your letter of accommodation (LOA) in the system. For in-class accommodations, please reach out to your instructor directly and they will work with you to make appropriate arrangements.
How Can I Book My Make-Up Test?
- Submit a request for Academic Consideration for Extenuating Circumstances.
- Once that is approved, you must contact your instructor for their permission to write the test - the academic consideration approval from the Faculty of Arts and Science is their recommendation. It is up to the instructor to decide if you will be allowed to write the make-up test and it is at their discretion to deny your request.
- If your instructor approves your request, they will send you a link to a booking form. This form will ask for information such as name, student number, course, name of instructor, and whether you require accommodation for disability. You will then select from the available test sessions for your particular course. The form will be submitted to the Department Coordinator. This produces a confirmation-of-submission message.
- This submission message is not a final booking confirmation!
- Bookings must be made at minimum 2 business days in advance to ensure time to make necessary arrangements.
- You will receive a follow-up email from the Coordinator to confirm your booking.
- IMPORTANT: Your booking is not finalized until you receive this email!
Can You Schedule my Tests in Another Department?
No. We can only make arrangements for instructors in the School of Computing. Please contact your instructor directly, or their departmental coordinator if applicable.
My Accommodations Are Inadequate. What Can I Do?
We recommend postponing a test if you feel that your current accommodation arrangements are inadequate. Discuss this with your instructor and follow up with your QSAS advisor as soon as possible to reassess your needs. In the interest of avoiding unnecessary delays, your instructor may work with you in the interim to make reasonable arrangements in good faith.
My Accommodations Have Changed. Should I Notify my Instructor?
No. Instructors receive notifications when changes occur in Ventus.
For make-up tests, the booking form you will receive will ask you if your accommodations have been recently updated. If you have booked a make-up test through the booking form and your accommodations have changed in that time, please contact the School's Academic Advising team, put "Accommodation Update" in the subject line, and mark it urgent. Proctors cannot make changes at the time of a test. If you feel that the accommodations in place are inadequate and will affect your ability to take the test fairly, we recommend not writing the test at that time. The proctor will let the coordinator know to follow up with you.
What Happens if Something Goes Wrong at a Test (e.g., One or More of My Accommodation Needs Are Not Met)?
If there is a significant problem with meeting an accommodation requirement, it is always better to reschedule the test. Once a test is attempted, it cannot be retaken. Whenever possible, please verify that all your accommodation needs have been met before you begin your test. We do our best to preempt technical problems, but they can happen, despite our best efforts.
If a significant event happens in the middle of a test (e.g., the calculator which you are entitled to use stops working) your proctor will make every effort to remedy the problem. If the problem cannot be resolved, you will be given the option to continue writing the test using a differently coloured pen (to be provided by the proctor), so that your instructor can see where/when the change occurred. As you won't be able to re-attempt the same test, it can only benefit you to complete the test as best you can. An extra 5 minutes will be added to your time to make up for the interruption. We take this matter very seriously; the incident will be reported to your instructor, and you are encouraged to contact them to discuss the event, and possible remedial options if the event significantly impacted your grade.