Campus News

McBurney Center to implement privacy, software changes throughout semester

The McBurney Disability Resource Center will introduce new software changes this semester that will increase student privacy and make it easier for students and faculty to communicate.

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger

The McBurney Disability Resource Center, the university office that provides accommodations to students with disabilities, will introduce a new electronic accommodation and case management software this semester that will affect the way students and faculty communicate.

One of the changes to the program alters the hiring process of UW-Madison students who wish to take notes for McBurney students. While in the past students were selected with the assistance of faculty members, the center’s new system has McBurney staff directly recruit and hire student-notetakers based on their abilities.

Morton Ann Gernsbacher, a UW-Madison professor of psychology and an expert in disability advocacy, said the shift to having note-takers recruited directly by the center rather than through faculty and instructional staff is beneficial because it protects student confidentiality.

“I am glad that the change in how note-takers are recruited — and how class notes are provided to students with disabilities — will better protect students’ confidentiality,” Gernsbacher said. “Students’ disability information, including their need for instructional accommodations, is confidential information protected under FERPA.”

In addition to the changes made to student notetaking, new software changes “will create easier and more efficient accommodations for students and faculty this school year,” according to a news release from McBurney.

The center will shift from a paper-based system to an electronic faculty notification center and portal that will allow instructors to view accommodation requests from McBurney students for each of their classes, according to Mari Magler, assistant dean and the director of the McBurney Disability Resource Center.

Students who wish to serve as student notetakers this semester should apply through the McBurney website.

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