Office of Disability Services

Faculty Guide: Accommodations in the Classroom

photo of a an instructor and students in a classroom

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In order to ensure access for students with disabilities, ODS often coordinates accommodations in the classroom setting. If a student ever approaches you regarding an accommodation that you are not sure how to effectively implement in your course, please contact ODS.

Audio Recording 

For some students to fully focus and participate in class, audio recordings of the information are essential. Students approved for this accommodation may use a device of their choice (smart pen/phone/laptop) for the purpose of recording the content for their academic use.

Accessible Table/Chair

At times the standard furniture of a room does not meet the disability-related needs of a student. The student must contact their ODS case manager and alert them to the specific needs in the classroom and ODS will work with CaTS to have appropriate furniture placed.  These are typically marked for the expressed use of students with disabilities, such as a chair with a different back, adjustable table, or a chair without wheels, and the instructor is asked to help ensure the student with the need is the only one utilizing the accessible furniture.

Sign Language Interpreters

Students who use this service will be accompanied to class by an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter, who signs spoken content during class for the student. This may include lectures, class discussions, group work, etc. Interpreters are not to be used in place of providing captions on movies played in class. Occasionally, the interpreter might ask the instructor for clarification to ensure accurate translation. Interpreters are university contractors (currently Interpreters of the Deaf) who will interpret either in person or remotely via video.

C-Print: Real-time Captioning

C-Print is a real-time, speech-to-text captioning service provided by Interpreters of the Deaf, contractors employed by the university. The captionist will either attend class in person or via phone, and will type everything spoken in real-time.  The student will watch the transcription in real-time on a laptop, tablet, or phone.  Please note that the student must watch the screen to understand the spoken words. Transcriptions may include lectures, class discussions, group work, questions and answers, etc. Captionists are not to be used in place of providing captions on movies played in class. Occasionally, the captionist might ask the instructor for clarification to ensure accurate transcription. After class, the transcript is uploaded to AIM for the student to supplement their class notes. Students make an agreement with ODS not to share transcriptions with any other students.

FM/IR Amplification Systems

Some people who are Deaf or hard of hearing use personal FM systems to help them hear more effectively, such as in public or noisy settings. An FM system consists of a transmitter microphone worn by the speaker (e.g., an instructor in the classroom) and a receiver used by the listener. The receiver transmits its signal to a headphone, or directly to a hearing aid or cochlear implant.

Reader/Writer & Lab Assistant Services

Students who use this service will be met at the class by an ODS student employee, who assists the student with printed or written assignments in class. A reader/writer may read materials aloud for the student and/or write/type as the student dictates. The role of the reader/writer is not to take notes, but rather to assist the student in completing in-class writing or active learning assignments. Students who use Lab Assistants will be accompanied to lab by an assigned ODS student employee, who assists the student during courses that take place in labs or other non-traditional learning environments.

Testing Proctoring Center (TPC)

At this time, the TPC is operating remotely. Any questions about remote test accommodations can be emailed to Sheri Penwell, our Test Proctoring Coordinator. 

Some students qualify for accommodations during tests; many are available, and the approved accommodations vary according to disability type. As appropriate, the Test Proctoring Center (TPC) is available for faculty to use for the majority of tests and exams that can be scheduled during the ODS hours of operation.

Faculty members may choose to facilitate their students’ approved testing accommodations themselves. Instructors have the option to offer alternative testing opportunities within the classroom, a departmental office, or another acceptable campus location, unless the student's disability cannot be reasonably accommodated in that environment. Online exam sessions can be extended only by the faculty member. For assistance in extending Pilot exams, contact CaTS.

There are rare occasions when ODS cannot fulfill a testing accommodation request, due to space limitations or technological requirements (such as specialty software). When this occurs, the students and instructors should notify ODS immediately and an ODS staff member will work with all parties to ensure accommodations are provided in the most effective way possible.

Test proctoring accommodations are one of the most commonly used accommodations in ODS. Testing accommodations provided by ODS may include but are not limited to the following:

  • extended time
  • testing environment with reduced distractions
  • assistive technology (devices or software)
  • test proctors, who monitor the test or provide reading and/or writing assistance
  • assistive technology or software (word processor for essays, dictation software, screen reader) 
  • materials in alternative formats (Braille, image enhancements or enlargements, etc.)
  • use of a calculator (if appropriate)
  • white noise machine
  • breaks during testing