DRC offers new online program
Desteny Maragh – News Editor
The Disability Resource Center (DRC) now makes it easier for all students to have accessibility to their resources without having to come into the office with “Accommodate,” a new program coming in the spring.
“In Spring 2021, the DRC launched Accommodate, which is a case manage-ment system to stream-line the accommodation process,” said Stephanie Hackett, assistant director of the DRC. “It is a platform that integrates requests for accommodation, accom-modation letters and other processes required for students registered with our office,” said Hackett.
The DRC is helping each student reach their maxi-mum potential by improv-ing disability resources, understanding and of-fering direct support on campus. In the past, the DRC has been considered an aid to hundreds of students each semester in many ways, but with the new climate of COVID-19, there were still plenty of students who lacked the help they need-ed as a result of remote learning.
Accommodate is hop-ing to become the main resource for with disablitles students on and off campus. DRC Director, Goldie Adele, said they have been working for months with the vendor to customize the program for Southern and make sure it can man-age everything a student with a disability needs from the center.
There have been a few program training sessions for students and faculty and it seems to hopefully be a significant help to everyone.Prior to COVID-19, everything for the DRC was paper-based. There were letters and papers with explanations and sig-natures, which had to be transmitted from student to professor.
A reccuring issue with physical papers was get-ting lost or misplaced and they had to be reprinted. With Accommodate, the issue is eliminated because each form can be directly accessed by students and professors.
“They don’t have to deal with losing the physical copy of disability letters and things like that,” said Adele.
Adele said, “what Accommodate does for faculty is that we can process a request from a student and the professor—all they have to do is log into Accommodate and they will see their class roster and all the students who need accommodations.”
Hackett said, “since we just launched the system, we do not have a lot of feedback yet, but because the system is entirely web-based, students can freely access the program at any time from any device with an internet connection.”
This is what makes Accommodate special. It cuts out the middleman and allows students to get the help they need directly at their fingertips.
Hackett said, “the platform should help students feel more in control over their accommodations, and how to engage with the DRC.”
There is an added aspect of privacy with Accommodate. Now each document and help request does not require a student to physically seek aid in public.
Hackett said, “students can submit their requests at any time, view the status of the request, and get updates via email.”
When it comes to exams, students used to submit paperwork and an envelope to their professor prior to COVID-19. Then the professor would give the DRC a copy of the exam in the envelope and the student would separately take the exam from classmates in the DRC office.
Now, students can request documents online and then professors can accept electronically and then administer the exam electronically. Students can and still will take the exams in-person at the DRC. For students, using the Accommodate program will be as easy as using any other app. Log-in credentials are the same as student’s email log-in.
“Accommodate will hopefully make the process of both requesting and aiding accommodations from our office more seamless in moving forward,” said Hackett.