Accommodations


Alternative Formats

Alternative formats: These are materials presented in a way other than a traditional paper, book, or multimedia format and are adapted to be accessible for students with various disabilities. This may include large print, digital, audio, and braille. Some students need textbooks, class materials or exams in an "alternative format" to what is provided, for example, in a digital format so that they can enlarge the text on their screen to a readable size, or have the textbook or exam read to them using text-to-speech software. Below is a list of some of the alternative formats the Access Center provides to students.

E-text: This refers to digital versions of a printed document. Popular digital formats include simple text (TXT), Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF), Microsoft Word (DOC or DOCX), the open electronic book format called EPUB, Kindle, HTML, and others. When viewed on an electronic screen, the text and imagery in these files can be enlarged, adjusted for color and font style, etc. In addition, the text in these files can be read with text-to-speech software or a screen reader to produce audio output.

Enlarged Print: A reformatted version of a document or exam in which the text, images, line-spacing and other content have been enlarged to improve readability. Tables, technical diagrams, equations, or complex layouts are generally converted to lists, and images are enlarged. Working with the original source electronic publishing files and modifying the layout and images will ensure all information is kept in a sensible reading order, and the integrity of all graphics is maintained.

Braille: Braille is a writing system that uses patterns of raised dots that readers feel with their fingertips. Braille can be embossed from a computer connected to a device known as a braille embosser. Tactile graphics are also a vital accompaniment in braille text materials, enabling readers who need this accommodation to understand maps, tables, diagrams, flowcharts, floorplans and other illustrations. Put simply, tactile graphics are pictures you can feel.

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Assistive Technology & Equipment

Assistive technology: Assistive or adaptive devices, hardware, software, or equipment that provides equal access to physical and online environments. Assistive technology can increase a person’s function, independence, participation, and productivity. Examples can include, but are not limited to, text-to-speech software, speech-to-text software, digital voice recorders, Smartpens or assistive listening devices.

Text-to-speech: Text-to-speech (TTS) is a type of assistive technology or software that reads digital text aloud. Text-to-speech software will allow students to listen to their digital books, course materials or exams as they read them.

Speech-to-text software: Speech-to-text (STT) is a type of assistive technology or software that converts spoken words into text. Speech-to-text software will allow students to translate their spoken words into text.

Screen Reader: A screen reader is a software program that allows students who are blind or who have low vision to read the content on a computer screen with a voice synthesizer or braille display. The user uses different combinations of keystroke commands to instruct the screen reader to read the information on the screen.

Digital Voice Recorder: An audio recording device that allows a user to record lectures "in the moment" for easy re-play later. Some may have a download feature that can be used to save the recordings on the user’s computer to be reviewed and saved.

Smartpen: An electronic pen that can be used to write notes and record audio. In addition, when paired with special Smartpen notebooks, the written notes can be used to navigate the audio recording, enabling users to hear what was said when a particular note was written. Digital copies of the notes and audio recordings can also be downloaded to the user's computer and reviewed using Smartpen desktop software.

Notetaking Software: Note taking tools that record spoken or audio information to help students capture information more effectively. Some of these tools use browser or cloud-based apps that can be used online or offline to help the user take better notes, pinpoint important information, keep recordings of class meetings and review them at their own pace.

Assistive Listening Device (ALD): Assistive listening devices include FM, infrared, and loop assistive listening devices. This type of technology allows people to focus on a speaker or subject by getting rid of extra background noises and distractions, making places like auditoriums, classrooms, and meetings much easier to participate in. The assistive listening device uses a microphone to capture an audio source near to its origin and broadcast it wirelessly over an FM (Frequency Modulation) transmission, IR (Infra-Red) transmission, IL (Induction Loop) transmission, or other transmission methods. The person who is listening may use an FM/IR/IL Receiver to tune into the signal and listen at his/her preferred volume. Audio from participants without a microphone may not be amplified.

Captioning: Captioning is the process of displaying text on a television, live or recorded videos, computer screen, or other visual display to provide communication access to spoken and audio information. Closed captions not only supplement for dialogue, but also other relevant parts of sound, such as background noises, phones ringing and other audio cues that need describing. Deaf or hard of hearing students, or those with auditory processing disorders need audio materials transcribed or closed captioned. There are several types of captioning accommodations which include: Automatic Generated Captioning, Closed Captioning, Real Time Captioning (CART).

Closed Captioning: Closed Captioning is synchronized, timed text displays of a video’s audio content (e.g., speech and non-speech sounds) and are commonly produced in advance for pre-recorded material. Closed Captions are visible ONLY when selected and activated, such as when they are visible on a television screen, they are called “closed captions” [CC].

Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) also known as Automatic Generated Captioning: ASR captions and transcripts are machine generated and are created by detecting spoken sounds and converting them into words. ASR can be enabled for many live events/lectures in Zoom, PowerPoint presentations, Panopto, TEAMS and recorded videos such as found in YouTube. Please be aware that auto-generated Zoom captions may NOT always be an acceptable substitute for Closed Captioning or CART accommodations because automated captions are not always accurate and may not provide an effective means of communication for everyone. However, they support Universal Design Principles and can be effective for many individuals. ASR can offer support in case a live captioner is not available for live events or when accurate captions are not available for recorded videos.

Real-Time Captioning – (CART): CART stands for Communication Access Real-Time Transcription. CART captioners are professionals who provide an accommodation for students who are Deaf, hard of hearing or who have auditory processing disorders, to help remove barriers to communication access. The captioner uses a stenographer's device to input everything that is spoken. The live captions are streamed to the student through a separate bridge link where they can read the text on their own computer display, projection screen or mobile device. CART may be provided by a live captioner on-site and is in the room with the student, or CART may be provided remotely.

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Classroom Accommodations

American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreting: ASL interpreters allow students who are Deaf or hard of hearing and use ASL, to follow what is being spoken through an ASL interpreter. The interpreter’s job is to facilitate communication between you and your Deaf student(s), and between the Deaf student(s) and hearing classmates. The interpreters may be in person or remote. Sometimes the interpreter may ask people to speak up or repeat what was said if they are not able to hear them to interpret. Depending on the length and pace of a class or event, two interpreters may be assigned as a team.

Breaks to stand/walk or leave class as needed: Breaks are approved for students to accommodate medical conditions; medication needs or to mitigate disability-related symptoms. In classrooms, students with this accommodation may stand up, move about, or leave the room when needed. For online/remote courses with live streamed class meetings, students may mute themselves and turn off their camera if they need to take a break.

Special Furniture: Ergonomic or adaptable furniture placed in classrooms and on campus for students who need alternatives to standard classroom furniture to access or participate in classes or activities.

Preferential Seating: Students may need to position themselves in classrooms to best access information or exit quickly with the least distraction to others. Students will communicate their seating needs to the professor if they need assistance.

Classroom Relocation Due to Access: Students who cannot travel long distances or travel to their next classroom in a short amount of time may be approved for this accommodation. The Access Center will work directly with the Registrar’s office on their campus to discuss classroom relocation needs. The instructor and department may be consulted.

Approval to Record Lectures: This accommodation allows students with certain disabilities to record lectures and review the information presented in class at a later time. Lectures may be recorded using a digital recorder, smart phone, tablet, laptop, notetaking tool or a Smartpen, for example. Students with this accommodation sign an agreement to not distribute or share any material received as an accommodation.

Note Taking Services: In classrooms, students with disabilities may use various types of technology or note taking tools to support their learning. Certain notetaking technology may require that the student sit in a specific area in order to best access the audio or what is spoken. Some students may be approved for a peer notetaker to capture notes. Peer notetakers take their own notes and share these with the student approved for this accommodation.

Access to PowerPoints/Lecture Materials before class: Students with certain disabilities may have great difficulty writing down fast-paced information or capturing the lecturer while trying to pay attention at the same time. Having access to PowerPoints or lecture materials before class reduces the amount of material a student must capture and increases a student’s understanding of the material heard in class or online.

Alternatives To Presentations: In classrooms and for online/remote courses, students with the Alternative to Presentations accommodation may request an alternative to presenting in front of a class. Students and instructors should communicate regarding the details of the alternative options in the course. The student should be held to the same expectations for meeting the fundamental learning outcomes of the course. The instructor or student can consult with the Access Center if needed.

Advance Communication Regarding Projects / Assignments: In classrooms and online classes, the student's request for advance information regarding assignments accommodation will appear on their Faculty Notification Letter in a customized note. Instructors should provide information as far in advance as possible, so students have sufficient time to work on their assignments or access additional resources. If advance communication is not provided, a 1–2-day deadline extension may be reasonable. Please consult with an Access Center Coordinator if you have questions about this accommodation.

Alternatives To Group Work: Alternative options to completing in-class and/or out-of-class assignments and projects within a group. Students and instructors communicate with each other regarding any possible alternatives.

Call On Student Only When Hand Is Raised: In classrooms, this accommodation allows students the opportunity to decide when they participate in class discussion. The student should still be held to the same participation expectations as the rest of the class; this accommodation only modifies how they participate. For online/remote courses that use live streamed class meetings (with or without chat), this accommodation is still applicable. This accommodation allows students the opportunity to raise their hand using the chat box or raised hand feature in Zoom to indicate when they will participate in class discussion.

Classroom/Lab Assistant: A classroom/lab assistant’s role is to facilitate a student’s classroom participation if there are elements that cannot be made accessible through other means. Activities performed by a classroom or lab assistant may include describing visual content, help to navigate websites, capturing information on the white board, manipulating objects at the direction of the student, and other assistance. Assistance is determined case-by-case, based on the student’s needs, course content, course format, and essential requirements of the course/academic program.

Disability-related Flexible Attendance: This accommodation potentially provides relief from requirements for physical attendance in classes due to the nature of their chronic, episodic, or temporary disability. In some cases, reasonable attendance adjustments are determined case-by-case, based on the student’s needs, course content, course format, and essential requirements of the course/academic program. Students with this accommodation are still required to meet all the course’s core learning objectives and curricular outcomes. The student and instructor should have an interactive discussion regarding this accommodation. To assist with this accommodation, the Access Center has provided the following helpful resource:

Disability-related Flexible Assignment Deadlines: This accommodation may provide extension of assignment deadlines for students with chronic, episodic, or temporary disabilities. In some cases, allowing students to turn in work beyond the date normally allowed in a course is a reasonable accommodation. Students with this accommodation are still required to meet all the course’s core learning objectives and curricular outcomes. The student and instructor should have an interactive discussion regarding this accommodation. To assist faculty with this accommodation, the Access Center has provided the following helpful resource:

Emergency Evacuation Assistance: Students with certain disabilities may require specialized assistance in the event of an evacuation. Specifics will be discussed with the student and communicated with instructor and campus safety as needed.

Syllabus provided prior to the start of class: A syllabus is a document that outlines all the essential information about a college course. It typically includes the topics students will study, as well as the due dates of any reading, assignments, quizzes or exams. Some students with disabilities that impact executive functioning may require more time to read and understand the course syllabus. Having the syllabus prior to the start of the class will remove barriers related to time management, organization and planning, and assist the student with being better prepared for class, understand assignments, stay organized, manage their time and better meet deadlines.

Food, water, or Medication During class: Some students may need to take medication during their class time and should be allowed to do so to manage medical conditions or mitigate symptoms of their disability. Some medications must be taken with food and/or water. This should also be allowed, provided that doing so does not pose a safety issue for others. If it does, the student should be allowed to leave the classroom to self-medicate.

Give Notice Prior to Calling on Student: Student is given advance notice of when they are to be called upon in class (e.g., emailed the day before) or provided question(s) they will be asked in advance so they may prepare their response.

Laptop/Tablet for notetaking and in-class written work: Students with certain disabilities may require the use of computer or other assistive tools to help capture lecture information or perform in-class activities. For example, students who are color-blind may need to adjust color filters to help differentiate between colors. Students who have fine motor issues may need to type rather than write. Students with vision challenges may need to use technology on their laptop or devices to adjust their display and font size. Students with this accommodation are approved to use laptops, tablets or other assistive tools to remove access barriers.

The ability to leave 10-15 minute early, or arrive 10-15 minutes late to allow for travel time: For some students with mobility or other disabilities that prevent them from quick travel between classes, this accommodation allows students to leave early or arrive late to class as needed. Students should make arrangements with instructors to capture what is missed if early departure or late arrival occurs due to disability. If attendance is taken, students with this accommodation should be marked as fully attending the session.

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Testing Accommodations

Extended time: This accommodation addresses many limitations such as lack of focus, anxiety, processing speed issues, reading disorders, compromised memory, etc. Extended time of 1.5x or 2.0x means the student should have the additional time added to the time given to the class to complete the exam. For example: if an exam is 1 hour, and the student has 1.5x, they should have 1.5 hours to take the exam. This accommodation applies to both in-person and all online/remote exams where the exam is timed. For tests provided online or in Canvas, you will need to set the extension there in order to allow the student the extra time.

Distraction-reduced environment: For in-person exams, students who qualify for a distraction reduced testing space need a location with minimal outside noise and commotion. Visual distraction should also be minimal. Generally, providing these students with a separate room for testing (away from the main testing space) is most appropriate. Most students with this accommodation test in the Access Center’s testing services classroom or in an individual private testing room. Students with this accommodation may test with a few other students who also have distraction-reduced testing in the same space. Note: Seating students in the back of a crowded classroom, in a hallway, or asking the class to remain silent, does not constitute a reduced distraction environment. For remote exams, this accommodation is not needed unless students are asked to test together in the same Zoom room with microphones and/or cameras on.

Rest/Medication Breaks: Rest or medication breaks are approved for students to accommodate medical conditions, medication needs, or to mitigate disability-related symptoms.

Four Function Calculator: For in-person and remote exams, students who are eligible for this accommodation should be permitted to use a four-function (add, subtract, multiply, divide) calculator on any in-class work or exam that requires mathematical computation, unless one or more of those four functions are an essential part of the learning outcomes in the course.

Memory aids: For in-person and remote exams, a single instructor-approved reference sheet such as a multiplication table or formula card is approved to help trigger a student’s memory, unless doing so fundamentally alters learning outcomes of the course. Examples include unlabeled formulas, unlabeled diagrams/flow charts, terms and definitions written in the student’s own understanding, etc. A memory aid is not to contain answers to tests or compromise the integrity of the exam in any way.

Computer for Written Responses: Some students may require access to a laptop, computer or word processing program during exams in order to have access to spell check features or certain assistive technology such as text-to-speech or speech to text software, therefore, exams may need to be provided in digital format.

Paper Exam: Students may require a paper exam for all exams and quizzes that are typically administered in an online or digital environment. Students who are unable to take their exam in an online format may need their exam converted to a paper form and utilize an on-site proctor or may need to be proctored via Zoom. If an instructor is unable to proctor the student via Zoom, they will need to provide a printable version of the exam to the proctor 24 hours prior to the exam date.

Scribe: Some students are unable to use text-to-speech software and may require a human scribe to be able to access their exam. A scribe will sit with them through the exam and will only write and submit the student’s verbalized answers to the questions for the exam. They cannot provide any additional information to the student.

Reader: Some students are unable to use speech-to-text software and may require a human reader to be able to access their exam. A reader will sit with them through the exam and will only read the questions for the exam. They cannot provide any additional information to the student.

Text-to-speech: Text-to-speech (TTS) is a type of assistive technology or software that reads digital text aloud. Text-to-speech software will allow students to listen to their exams as they read them.

Speech-to-text software: Speech-to-text (STT) is a type of assistive technology or software that converts spoken words into text. Speech-to-text software will allow students to dictate their answers to exam questions.

Sound Stickers (Voice Recording): Sound Stickers are small Livescribe Dot Paper stickers for recording and playing back audio notes. They may be used for notetaking or to record assessments for students who require their exam to be read aloud.

The Ability to Listen to Music During Exams: Students may need to use headphones or earbuds to listen to music during test taking activities to assist with calming, concentration or symptom management.

Use of AC Proctoring Office Required: Students who are unable to be proctored virtually due to disability, or because their accommodations would cause them to be flagged by virtual proctoring methods, are able to use the Access Center on their campus and be proctored in-person.

Accessible Furniture: To accommodate a wide range of mobility needs, adaptive furniture or alternative seating may be provided to students for whom standard classroom desks and chairs are inaccessible due to a physical disability. Examples might be adjustable height tables for wheelchair access or for someone who needs to stand, padded & adjustable chairs, yoga balls, stools, and podiums.

Assistance with Scantron: This accommodation is available for students that need assistance reading and/or writing during exams due to disabilities that make it difficult to transfer their answers to a scantron. In this case, students may need tests given in an alternative format or assistance from a scribe.

Dim Lighting: For students with light sensitivity that may trigger symptoms related to their disability or medical condition, alternative lighting, such as a dimly lit room, is offered as an accommodation.

Enlarged Print: A reformatted version of a document or exam in which the text, images, line-spacing and other content have been enlarged to improve readability. Tables, technical diagrams, equations, or complex layouts are generally converted to lists, and images are enlarged. Working with the original source electronic publishing files and modifying the layout and images will ensure all information is kept in a sensible reading order, and the integrity of all graphics is maintained.

Limit Final Exams to one (1) per day: Even with breaks, the impact of a student’s disability may limit their stamina or the amount of time they can sit, stand or concentrate on more than one exam per day. Alternately, the students extended testing time may be too long to be able to effectively perform more than one final exam per day. Students with this accommodation should work with instructors to arrange to take only one final exam per day.

Make up exams: When disability-related absence occurs, students with this accommodation may arrange with their instructors to make up exams they may have missed without being penalized.

Math 100 Testing Accommodations: Due to the nature of Math 100, access to 4-function calculators and/or unlabeled formula cards are not permitted. Students may arrange to take the exam during their instructor’s office hours or arrange a different time to take the exam with their instructor. Once finished, the student may double-check their answers with a multiplication table that the math department provides and review the exam with their instructors.

Private Room: This accommodation means that the student needs to take an exam in a private location with low stimuli, on their own. The testing proctor can still monitor the exam, but must be mindful of creating distractions. These may be reserved conference rooms or private testing rooms with no students or unnecessary people around. Hallways or rooms where people frequent, are not acceptable as private rooms.

Wheelchair Access: Students with this accommodation will need to have clear paths to access all campus areas. Always assess the entrances and exits, testing locations, classrooms, hallways and paths to ensure that there are clear pathways for students who use wheelchairs. Identify any barriers that may be in their way. Make sure desks in your testing environment and classrooms or adjustable tables are organized in a way that will accommodate the wheelchair user.

Accessible Furniture: Ergonomic or adaptable furniture placed in testing areas for students who need alternatives to standard furniture to access or participate in exam settings.

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