The Woodbridge Campus of Northern Virginia Community College is offering a newly-designed assistive technology testing lab to accommodate disabled students in need of adequate testing facilities. The fully-equipped lab will be used as a resource to further academic success for students with visual, hearing and mobility impairments. An official ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held Tuesday, March 28 at 2 p.m., 2645 College Drive in Woodbridge.
Last year, NOVA-Woodbridge Dean of Learning and Technology Resources Dr. Kathy Bohnstedt began the conversation with Woodbridge Provost Dr. Sam Hill to develop an assistive technology testing lab after observing a need to serve students with special needs on campus. With assistance from NOVA’s Disability Services and NOVA-Woodbridge Learning and Technology Resources Division (LTR), what was once used as an information technology storage room, has now been transformed into a facility, uniquely designed to offer a variety of equipment tailored for disabled individuals.
According to NOVA’s Disability Services, a total of 1,322 individuals are classified as students with disabilities, and 95 are enrolled at the Woodbridge Campus. The assistive technology testing lab is a wheelchair-accessible room, equipped with six 24-inch computer monitors, two Mac computers, adjustable desks, a braille printer, image readers, ZoomText screen magnifier software, Jaws screen reader programs, BAT keyboards, large-print keyboards, virtual keyboards, adjustable keyboards, headsets, large-print calculators, handheld magnifiers, echo pens and noise cancelling headphones.
“Over the years, we noticed an increase in students enrolled at the Woodbridge Campus who are in need of accommodation requirements, but we did not have sufficient facilities to meet their needs,” Bohnstedt said. “We reconfigured the space and reused furniture and equipment from unused classrooms to help outfit this space. NOVA’s Disability Services provided the computer software. Our main goal is to ensure the lab has a variety of assisted technologies for students to take tests.”
Although the assistive technology testing lab is in the same vicinity as the traditional Testing Center on campus, the specialized area offers a less distracting space to better accommodate students. Bohnstedt, along with NOVA-Woodbridge Testing Center Supervisor Mary Beth Bradley and Web Accessibility and Alternate Format Coordinator Timothy Ferebee, are also interested in expanding usage of the facility to serve as a “multi-purpose room” to host faculty and staff technology trainings and as a study lab for students to complete homework and course assignments.
The Woodbridge Campus assistive technology testing lab is located in room 436 of the Seefeldt Building (WS). Students are required to email or call the Testing Center to schedule testing accommodations. For additional information on hours of operation and availability, visit their website or call 703-878-5787.
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Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.