New academic accommodation system removes barriers for students, instructors


New academic accommodation system removes barriers for students, instructors

By Eddie Daniels, Communications Coordinator, Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic)

June 27, 2023


Queen’s new accommodation management system, Ventus, has received a positive response from both students and instructors who have navigated the more streamlined process over the past year.

Launched in May 2022, the Ventus accommodation management system is designed to help empower students to gain further control of their academic access. The system is a collaborative effort between the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL), Queen’s Student Accessibility Services (QSAS), the Exams Office, and Queen’s Information Technology Services.

A survey conducted in March 2023 by the CTL, the Exams Office, QSAS, and the Office of the Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning) polled a limited number of students and instructors at Queen’s about their Ventus experience. According to overall survey results, Ventus is easy to navigate, user friendly, and is an improvement over the previous Letter of Accommodation process.

“The introduction of Ventus has successfully transformed the accommodations process at Queen’s into an easier undertaking for both students and instructors,” says Gavan Watson, Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning). “Ensuring barriers are removed and every Queen’s student has a fair opportunity to learn is critical in the development of Ventus. As feedback is received, our team will integrate additional features that will increase the value of Ventus to the Queen’s community.”

Ventus was customized specifically for Queen’s and streamlines the academic accommodation process for students with disabilities. Mandatory for managing academic accommodations across all programs at Queen’s, the portal securely connects students, QSAS, the Exams Office, instructors, and other support services to manage and implement accommodations for students.

Overall, survey participants provided positive feedback. Of student respondents, 81 per cent agreed Ventus is valuable in managing accommodations, while 91 per cent knew where to find the list of their accommodations. Additionally, 82 per cent of those students understood how to use Ventus to get in touch with their accessibility advisor in QSAS. Overall, 83 per cent of students who submitted answers were satisfied with the ease of use.

Among instructors, 74 per cent agreed Ventus was valuable in managing accommodations.

The survey results reflect the process used to implement the new system. The year-long development process included consultations with instructors, support staff, and students. The help and feedback section of the Ventus support website is also a crucial point of contact for those using the system.

For fall 2023, improvements will be made to Ventus, including classroom accommodations being applied by default rather than students needing to manually opt-in, as well as an integration into onQ, the learning management system for Queen's.

Ventus helps reduce instructor workload related to academic accommodations by streamlining communication needs for instructors and students, and supplementing instructors with the essential information required for providing students with the appropriate accommodation. Ventus replaces the exchange of emails containing Letter of Accommodations (LoA) as well as the Exam Accommodation System (EAS). The interface also enables students to view details of their accommodation arrangements for in-class work, quizzes, exams, and more. 

Instructors, support staff, and students can visit to manage academic accommodations. Students who need to register for accommodations, or who have questions about accommodations at Queen’s, should refer to Queen’s Student Accessibility Services.

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