Faculty are welcome to contact our office at any time with questions regarding implementing accommodations in classroom settings, or if general information and guidance is needed. Below are common areas where faculty take an active role in proving accommodations in the classroom.
Some students with episodic medical conditions may be eligible to receive modifications to course attendance requirements as well as limited extensions for exam dates or assignment, if needed. In the case when students are approved for this type of accommodation, it will appear on the Faculty Notification Letter, which is emailed to the instructor of record.
Procedural information can be found here, but faculty who have not experienced this type of accommodation request in the past are first encouraged to review the considerations below.
Consider essential learning requirements
Consider the following questions to aid in your decision-making process about class attendance and deadlines.
Course policies, grading, and syllabus
- What does the course description and syllabus say? Is there any flexibility regarding attendance or assignments already built into the course? What are classroom practices and policies regarding attendance? Have you made exceptions to these policies in the past? What is the purpose of these policies and how would modification of the policies impact course management?
- What is the method by which the final course grade is calculated? Are attendance and/or participation points factored in as part of the course grade? If so, how? Is this a course, department, or college policy?
Course pedagogy, format, and student interaction
- Is there classroom interaction between the instructor and students, and among students? Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process? (e.g. discussion, presentations, role play)?
- What is the impact on the educational experience of other students in the class if a student is absent or misses a deadline? To what degree does a student's failure to attend constitute a significant loss to the educational experience of other students in the class?
- Is the format of instruction primarily lecture or interactive? Does instruction and learning rely on specific elements from the previous session or assignment? Does the fundamental nature of the course rely upon student participation as an essential method for learning?
Practical Application Considerations to the Questions Above
- If the course is mostly lecture based, the in-class experience reviews content available in the text or from instructor/peer notes, and involves little student interaction during class, then more flexibility with excused absences/participation points is reasonable. If the course is mostly experiential or discussion based, the in-class content is not recreated elsewhere, and/or involves significant student interaction, then less flexibility with excused absences/participation points is reasonable.
- If modifying exam dates and deadlines would not substantially impact the flow or design of the course, then more flexibility with exam dates and deadlines is reasonable. For example, it may be reasonable to allow a research paper to be turned in a few days late if it would not impact the overall progression of the course. On the other hand, it may be unreasonable to modify an assignment due date that is based on a journal’s publication deadline. If exams or quizzes are not graded immediately and/or answers are not publicly shared within a very tight window after the exam, it may be reasonable to offer a makeup exam.
- Not offering at least one make-up exam opportunity simply because it is logistically easier to manage the class with no make-up exams may not be a valid reason for denying a make-up opportunity.
- While each situation is different, DSS most often only considers it a reasonable accommodation to make-up 1 or 2 exams or quizzes. Professors may choose to extend beyond the accommodation as deemed appropriate. When make-up quizzes/exams are facilitated, the same quiz/exam experience should be administered whenever possible. If a different version or a different format is necessary, especially when make-up exams are not otherwise made available to any student in the class per course policy, the degree of difficulty between the class exam and the make-up exam must be equal.
Responsibilities & Procedures
Students will select from two options to facilitate this process. Faculty will receive email notice of an agreement which should be completed as soon as Depending on which option the student selects, discussion either takes place directly with the student or with a DSS staff member.
Faculty Responsibilities & Procedures
Option 1: In conjunction with the student, determine reasonable accommodation/flexibility for your course based on the barriers the student noted within the course structure and teaching methodology without altering the essential design and learning outcomes.
Option 2: In conjunction with DSS, determine reasonable accommodation/flexibility for your course without altering the essential design and learning outcomes.
- Provide reasonable flexibility where possible. Clearly articulate why flexibility is not reasonable when necessary
- Contact Disability Support Services with questions or concerns about academic integrity, fairness to other students, or additional work required to facilitate the flexible accommodation.
- Do not demand detailed disability information from the student or confront them about the legitimacy of their request.
- Complete the agreement
In the event that the student is unable to meet the terms of the agreement, and if no reasonable revisions to the agreement can be made, the student should then be held to the relevant course syllabus policies.
Recruit a Note Taker
If faculty notes are not readily available or if more comprehensive notes need to be taken, students may ask faculty to make an announcement in class for a volunteer note taker. Volunteers will receive a stipend. A copy of the note taker announcement can be found here.
Alternative Testing Procedures
All alternative testing arrangements will now be completed via the DSS Instructor Portal. Faculty complete a testing agreement for each course, which notifies DSS about course-specific instructions for exams. Exams are uploaded via the portal as well. Tutorials for completing the testing agreement, as well as how to upload exams are found under the DSS tutorials tab.
Students will still notify faculty about accommodations via the Faculty Notification Letter. Alternative testing arrangements are now scheduled by each student via the portal.
- Quizzes must be scheduled 1 business day in advance
- Regular class exams must be scheduled at least 2 business days in advance
- Midterm exams must be scheduled at least 3 business days in advance
- Final exams must be scheduled at least 5 business days in advance
Text Conversion & Accessible Course Materials
Students are encouraged to contact their future instructors in advance in order to get textbook information so that an accessible copy can be given to students by the first day of class. DSS obtains accessible copies of books for students free of charge. Student guidelines on the textbook conversion process can be found here.
For course articles and handouts, please contact the Center for Teaching Excellence to get assistance converting your existing materials to accessible formats for students with print disabilities. Accessible materials are high-quality materials which are usable by all students across many devices.