Walden’s on-line courses are created to be accessible to a universal audience from the original design, and present very few barriers requiring accommodations for students with disabilities. The on-line environment automatically provides notes to students who might otherwise require note-takers as an accommodation. It automatically allows students to choose the optimum time of day and distraction-free environment for testing that they might otherwise request as an accommodation in a land-based college.
However, the ever-changing landscape of online education presents challenges for ensuring universal accessibility. Walden attempts to ensure every audio component is captioned and every visual component is easily navigable by screen readers. Despite those attempts, there are rare times when inaccessible materials are inadvertently included. Students who find an inaccessible component in their classroom, should contact Student Wellness and Disability Services right away to arrange for resolution.
The most common accommodations requested by students with disabilities taking Walden’s on-line courses are “extra time” and “course materials in an electronic format”.
The weekly modular format provides the flexibility needed for most students with disabilities to schedule coursework and meet deadlines. Still, there are occasions when extra time is needed to accommodate limitations brought on by disabilities. In such cases, qualifying students are allowed extra time to complete assignments and tests.
There is a limit to the amount of extra time allowed as an accommodation, and that limit is based on the essential components of the curriculum.
Students with vision loss or certain learning disabilities may use assistive technology to access their course materials. They require their texts in an electronic format (an e-file or WORD document) so they can use computer software to have text read aloud or enlarged or adapted in a way that makes it accessible to them. Often, they have the choice of purchasing texts in an e-file but sometimes they do not; Disability Services arranges to have their books reformatted as an accommodation.