Facilitating the Use of Student PowerHour Resources

Reading time: approximately 10 minutes.

The Student PowerHour was created to support higher education students to engage with the ACTon video content—specifically the interactive videos and the participant videos. The resource was designed to support independent engagement for one hour or more, depending on the individual’s motivation to learn about the content as well as their individual learning pace.

ACTon Choose Your Own Adventure

The Student PowerHour and Instructor PowerHour contain links, respectively, to the student video and the instructor video. Both have design elements that include built-in reflection questions and interactive decision points. You will need to choose if you want your group to engage with both the videos, or choose just one (if you are thinking of working with particular sections of one video, we recommend you consult the Student TidBit). Engaging with both videos is helpful because it introduces the perspectives of both the student and the placement instructor and the distinct (but related) institutional systems that limit and facilitate their ability to navigate disability accommodations. When choosing if you want to use both or just one video, consider the amount of time you want your group to spend engaging with the topic of disability accommodation in placement, as well as the time you have to dedicate to synchronous versus asynchronous engagement with the resource. You can arrange to screen the video(s) as a group, in person or online, or you might want individuals to watch the video on their own time. Group engagement can be rich because you will hear participants’ immediate reflections on and questions about the themes raised in the videos. However, individual viewing may support more self-reflection and consideration of an individual’s role in supporting disability accommodations and access in their professional and personal lives.

Video Title Screen time (minutes)*
ACTon Student Video: Navigating a placement student’s placement experience 36
ACTon Instructor Video: Navigating disability accommodations for placement instructors 26

*The screen times do not include time for answering reflection questions.

Reflection Questions

Viewers are presented with reflection questions at different points throughout the video(s). They can write their response to the question in the space provided; this information is collated and can be downloaded for submission or review by the facilitator, an instructor, or the viewer at the end of the video. The questions are presented to prompt consideration of the key themes and areas of contention. They are also meant to support viewers as they consider how these themes might apply to their own experiences and placement contexts. These reflection questions are also written in the Instructor Video Reflection Worksheet and Student Video Reflection Worksheet. You may wish to facilitate a discussion as a group using these worksheets. They will help guide you and your group through your thinking process regarding accommodations. These can also be helpful if your participants want to think more in-depth about their accommodation needs.

Decision Points

Both videos have three decision points: one early in the placement program and two at mid-placement. Viewers are given two to three options as to what the main character might do. These options highlight the different resources that may be available to people navigating disability accommodations in placement (e.g., peer/colleague support, institutional response, no resources available). The goal of these “interruptions” in the storylines is to invite viewers to explore and consider what they might do in the same position. Importantly, recognize that the decision points are not instructive, in that they do not present specifically “right” or “wrong” responses; oftentimes, the context of accommodating students in placement is too complex to suggest a fast, easy solution. Sometimes, even the most well-meaning response can produce frustrating results. The decision points are a key feature of the interactive nature of the resource.

Activity: ACTon Video Screening

Prep time: 10 mins

Activity: 1 – 2 hours (plus additional time for participants to complete optional independent assignments)

Materials: access to Student PowerHour (and/or Instructor PowerHour) content, projector, screen

  • Decide if you want students to watch just the student video (36 mins total, if all storylines are explored) and/or the instructor video (26 mins total, if all storylines are explored)
  • For group screenings: Arrange the space like a movie theatre in preparation for a group screening. You could even make popcorn!
    • Discuss questions in small groups and invite groups to share their ideas with the larger group. Take notes of the shared discussion in the space provided to answer the discussion question so that everyone can see.
    • Poll the audience to see which decision-point options they want to explore first.
    • Return to decision points to explore alternative options.
  • For individual screenings: ensure that everyone has access to a laptop/desktop and monitor/cellphone/tablet with internet access to screen the ACTon videos. You may also want to suggest headphones for a more private, less distracted viewing experience.
    • Have viewers write their responses to the discussion questions directly in the space provided in the resource.
  • By entering a unique username, groups and individuals can take breaks and watch a video over several sittings.
  • Some suggested overarching Questions to consider in preparation for watching the video(s):
    • If you are/were a disabled student, when would you choose to disclose your right to accommodation?
    • What is the process at your institution for disabled students to access accommodations in placement? How might this process be improved to the benefit of placement programming?
    • What does a disabled student at your institution do if their right to accommodation are not being met in placement?
    • How is the main character (Aaleyah – student video; Cindi, instructor video) different in the different scenarios? Which depiction of the main character did you find most intriguing to watch?
    • Which character in the video do you identify with the most? And how would you react in the different scenarios, if you were them?
    • How can you translate the themes and issues raised in the student video so they apply in the experiential education program you are involved in?

Optional assessment activity: Individuals can download and share their responses to the reflection questions and the decision points. This record can be shared directly with the facilitator/instructor for assessment. Alternatively, individual or group responses can be posted on a group forum for peer-assessment or response.

Communicating About Accommodations: Benefits and Risks

This section describes the benefits and risks to students who communicate their accommodation needs to placement instructors and placement supervisors. Many of these challenges are also represented in the student interactive video and the participant videos. The theme of communication and self-advocacy emerged, as did related questions: When is the right time to inform someone about accommodations? Who do you inform? What accommodations do you ask for when you are about to start in a new placement environment?

Additional Resource: Let’s Talk About Invisible Disabilities

  • Discuss what the group understands about invisible disabilities.
  • Discuss why a student might not choose to disclose.

Activity: Brainstorming Solutions

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Activity Time: 15 minutes

Materials: A whiteboard or chart paper and some markers.

  • Using examples from the videos (e.g., Student video in which Aaleyah asks for a template for report writing) or from students’ placement experiences, brainstorm some ideas to accommodate an invisibly disabled student in the workplace.
  • How might this make the workplace more accessible for everyone?

Optional assessment activity: Work through some scenarios in pairs to practice a conversation between student and placement supervisor about how these needs might be accommodated.

Communicating About Accommodations: Student Tip Sheet

In order for students to be formally accommodated in the higher education system, they generally need to communicate their accommodation needs. There are a number of challenges associated with this: students may be uncertain what specific accommodations to ask for; they may not know who to approach to make the request; or they may worry that asking for accommodations will negatively impact their placement experience and future employment opportunities. The Student Tip Sheet’s design is based on the results of the ACTon study and draws on Critical Disability Studies. It suggests eight tips for students who are considering communicating about their accommodation needs.

  • Discuss the tips listed in the worksheet.
  • Go through examples of each of the listed tips.

Optional assessment activity: Work in pairs or groups of three to role play or write a short script about how using these tips might look like in real life? Are the outcomes of the interactions hopeful or worrying, and why?

Follow the review of this information with the Reflection Worksheet: Communicating and Disclosing Accommodation Needs.

Additional Resource: Why Canada Needs Accessibility Legislation

Reflection Worksheet: Communicating and Disclosing Accommodation Needs

This worksheet contains questions that are most relevant for disabled students (reflect inward questions), but they are also relevant to students without diagnosed disabilities (especially the reflect outward questions). You may want your group to answer all or just some of the questions listed in the worksheet. Feel free to download and adapt the worksheet to meet the needs of your specific group.

  • This sheet is useful if your group has been assigned placements and can reflect on their upcoming or current placement experience in a specific space or organization.
  • You may want to consider the seven principles of universal design.

Optional assessment activity: Have the group work individually to reflect and answer the worksheet questions. Assess based on completion and/or the creativity and applicability of accommodation ideas.

Activity: Accessibility Audit

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Activity Time: 30 minutes

Materials: This activity works best if you have a physical organization to audit. You could use your placement, another organization, or another community space.

  • Work through the accessibility audit worksheet as a group.
  • How might this make the workplace more accessible for everyone?
  • Is there anything you would add to the audit?

Optional assessment activity: Write a short report or prepare a 5-minute presentation that communicates the results of your audit and makes viable recommendations for improved accessibility and inclusion.

Student FAQs

Students have questions, lots of them, and they deserve answers. The Student FAQs respond to some of the more common questions students may have after engaging with the ACTon videos and other materials. This list is not exhaustive; facilitators and participants are encouraged to use these as a starting point for a question-and-answer session that addresses the specific context in which you and the individuals in the room are working.

  • Discuss the questions listed in the worksheet.
  • Go through examples of each of the listed questions.
  • What additional questions do participants have? Where might they source reliable answers?

Optional assessment activity: Working in pairs, identify areas of confusion in the questions/answers and additional resources that may help clarify this confusion (e.g., in response to the question “what is the exact accommodation process at your institution?” participants might identify the disability student resources on campus). Ask participants to develop two additional questions not already answered in the FAQ and to craft responses to these questions (e.g., I do not identify as a disabled student, how do I support my disabled peers in their placement?)

Cellphilm Guide

The Cellphilm Guide was created to support individuals and groups to “speak back” to the issues raised in the ACTon videos; the participant videos presented in the resource were created following a very similar method. Cellphilms are short videos made on a mobile device, like a cellphone or a tablet, that respond to a particular theme or prompt and are meant to promote social change. The Cellphilm Guide lays out cellphilm-making steps that individuals or groups can follow to create their own cellphilm. Making cellphilms is a process of inquiry and reflection. Participants reflect and represent their understandings of an issue. Once created, cellphilms become an excellent engagement resource that can spark further discussion among groups. They can also be screened to specific audiences to promote dialogue and change.

Activity: Cellphilm-Making and Screening

Prep time: 30 mins–1 hr (review the guide, develop a prompt and try making your own cellphilm so you are familiar with the creative process)

Activity time: 3 hours

Materials: cellphones or tablets, 8.5 X 11 paper, pens and/or markers. Optional: poster paper for group-based brainstorming and/or storyboards.

  • Review the introductory material with your group. You may want to screen the participant cellphilms to build an understanding of what they are about to create.
    • Note that cellphilms can look very different. There is no one genre or aesthetic that they follow. Encourage participants to create a cellphilm that represents their own creativity and knowledge. But try and keep the cellphilms short (e.g., 1 – 2 mins) so they are easier to share.
  • Present the prompt or theme. Keep it broad to invite multiple and diverse interpretations. Answer any questions or concerns about terminology or interpretation.
  • Support participants in completing the cellphilm-making steps presented in the guide.
  • Screen the cellphilms, celebrate accomplishments, and discuss lessons learned.
  • Discuss opportunities to screen your cellphilms more broadly, screening intentions, possible audiences, curating screenings to optimize discussion, etc.
  • Next steps: hold additional screenings, archive cellphilms.

Optional assessment activity: Have participants write a 2-page reflexive paper on their cellphilm-making process and outcome. You can also assess the cellphilms for content presented and its effectiveness to present a particular perspective or idea.


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ACTon: Disability Accommodation Stories in Placement Copyright © by ACTon, York University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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