Accessibility and Disability Policy

Fact box

Purpose

This policy outlines Alphacrucis College’s (AC) approach to supporting accessibility of online (digital) information and resources for AC students and staff, and to supporting participation of students with a disability.

Scope

All AC staff and students

Policy

Definitions

  • Online (digital) information and resources are understood broadly for the purpose of this policy, and includes the TEQSA concept of “Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL)” for educational resources.  TEL is “interpreted broadly as any learning that occurs through the application of electronic communications and computer-based educational technology, combined with pedagogical principles and practices that are applicable to and tailored for this purpose.”
  • Disability: is defined broadly under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 as any physical, sensory, neurological, intellectual, psychiatric or learning disability, and includes physical disfigurement, the presence in the body of disease-causing organisms and total or partial loss of part of the body or a bodily function. It also includes a temporary, permanent, current, past or future disability, and chronic health conditions which may not commonly be considered disabilities.
  • Reasonable Adjustments: an action or actions taken by an education provider to assist a student with a disability in accessing and participating in a course on the same basis as a student without a disability. 

AC embraces its responsibilities in this area and is committed to:

  1. Establishing clear requirements for industry standard accessible website design based on conformity to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 (and supporting documents therein), striving for AA compliance.
  2. Centralising monitoring of accessibility compliance to ensure standardisation where possible.
  3. Promoting accessibility practices throughout the College and its community.
  4. Informing students about how to register for disability support.
  5. Processing applications for disability support in a timely manner and communicating the outcome clearly to students.
  6. Maintaining student confidentiality and privacy according to the privacy principles outlined in AC’s Electronic Publishing and Resource Use Policy.
      1. Personal information is to be handled by the Disability Support Office (DSO).
      2. The DSO will only release information about reasonable adjustments to relevant academics for that enrolment period.
      3. Exception: Student information may be shared where there is a health and safety concern for the student or others, where the student gives consent, where AC is required by law or where legal advice is needed.
  7. Troubleshooting specific accessibility issues for students as they arise.
  8. Communicating clearly avenues to appeal decisions.
  9. Ensuring the AC Web Environment is designed and developed in such a way so that:
    1. it is accessible from all commonly used browsers, and on multiple platforms and devices including mobile;
    2. Australian and international law and the rules, regulations and policies of the College are met; and
    3. it continues to meet minimum W3C WCAG 2.1 AA Accessibility Guidelines and that due consideration is given to the needs of the diverse range of users who access the site, including those with disabilities.

Responsibilities of Students Seeking Disability Adjustments:

  1. Provide honest and true information and update AC as conditions change.
  2. Register for disability support at the first available opportunity, usually upon receiving a letter of offer. Where students do not register until later in the semester this will impact AC’s ability to determine and apply reasonable adjustments for that semester.  
  3. Provide a suitable health professional form at the time of registering. 
  4. Organise and attend a meeting with the DSO, either on campus or digitally.
  5. If a student varies their enrolment after the set date, the student is responsible for notifying the teaching staff for their newly enrolled subject/s of the reasonable adjustments that they are eligible for.    
  6. Communicate with relevant faculty at the beginning of the semester the specific reasonable adjustments they wish to use for each subject (once the student gains access to the subject outline/student handbook).
  7. Cooperate with the faculty and staff to address any issues as soon as they arise. 
  8. Contact the DSO if encountering problems and/or have questions specific to disability support.
  9. Involve assistance of primary carer where appropriate or requested by DSO.

Appeals for Reasonable Adjustments:

  • Where there has not been successful resolution via discussion and correspondence with the DSO and/or other representatives of the student services department, students can escalate an issue using the Complaint and Grievance Form.
  • Where internal resolution methods have been unsuccessful students can contact the Human Rights Commission.
  • Further external complaint reporting options by state/territory: 
    • ACT – Human Rights Commission
    • NSW – Anti-Discrimination Board
    • NT – Anti-Discrimination Commission
    • QLD - Anti-Discrimination Commission
    • SA - Equal Opportunity Commission
    • TAS – Equal Opportunity
    • VIC – Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission
    • WA – Equal Opportunity Commission

Responsible for implementation

Vice President Academic

Related legislation

This Policy should be read in conjunction with the following:
1. Disability Discrimination Act 1992
2. Disability Standards for Education (2005)
3. Copyright Act 1968
4. TEQSA Guidance Note: Technology-Enhanced Learning

Related documents


Procedures

Procedure for Registering for Disability Support

  1. Complete the Registration Form. 
  2. Follow the instructions provided by the DSO.