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Center for Accessibility and Learning Equity

web resource for Spalding University accessiblity office

Providing Accommodations in the Classroom

Providing reasonable and necessary accommodations to students with disabilities is an important part of the responsibilities as an educator. To ensure that the University meets its obligations to students consistently and fairly, students who seek accommodations should first register with The Center for Accessibility and Learning Equity.

Instructors are often the first point of contact for students with disabilities who seek accommodations. You can help students receive the accommodations they may need by doing the following things:

  1. In your syllabus, include the recommended statement about classroom accommodations for students with disabilities: 

Syllabus statement

Accessibility

In keeping with Spalding's Mission Statement, our community of faculty, staff and students is diverse. This brings a richness to our campus and, more importantly, to our classrooms. Spalding University recognizes and respects individual differences in our educators and our learners. Any student who requires academic assistance for documented learning or health issues should contact the staff in the Center for Accessibility and Learning Equity. Registering with the Center for Accessibility and Learning Equity, by the student, in a timely manner is critical. Accommodations are not retroactive.

Contact information:

Dr. Katherine Walker-Payne, Director, Center for Accessibility and Learning Equity

Email:access@spalding.edu

Phone: 502-873-4192

Web: https://library.spalding.edu/CALE

Accessibility in Our Learning Environment 

Your academic progress in this class is important. If you are aware of a life circumstance that may affect your academic performance please let me know as soon as possible. If, during the course, you encounter any obstacle please discuss this with me immediately. Once these challenges are identified, we can work together to develop strategies to overcome them.

This class seeks inclusion for all participants. Individuals with academic accommodations of any kind (including learning differences, ADHD, depression, health conditions), who require instructional, curricular, or test accommodations are responsible for making such needs known to the instructor as early as possible.  

 

  1. Announce to your students on the first day of class how they can receive accommodations if needed.
  2. Direct any requests for accommodations to the Center for Accessibility and Learning Equity. Please do not provide your own accommodations for a disability. 
  3. Consider Universal Design for Learning principles as you design your courses.  Closed captions, for example, are beneficial for many students, not just those who are Deaf/hard of hearing.
  4. Provide accommodations only to students who provide you with a letter from the Center for Accessibility and Learning Equity explaining the approved classroom accommodations.

Providing the Requested Classroom Accommodations

When you receive a letter from the Center for Accessibility and Learning Equity concerning a student with a disability, the letter will explain what accommodations that student requires in the classroom. The most frequently requested accommodations are extended time on examinations and quizzes; testing in a quiet or private location; and use of student notetakers. Students with hearing impairments may need interpreters in class, or use assistive technology that will require the instructor to wear a microphone when lecturing. Students with low vision may need enlarged print examinations and handouts. At times the Center for Accessibility and Learning Equity may ask the Registrar to change the location of a class to accommodate a student with limited mobility or a student who needs access to specific technologies in the classroom.

The purpose of an accommodation is to ensure that students with disabilities have access to programs. Accommodations should not change the essential elements, criteria or performance levels of the course. 

Arranging for accommodations is a cooperative endeavor involving the student, the Center for Accessibility and Learning Equity, and the instructor. If as the instructor you believe that you can provide an accommodation in a manner that is superior to what has been requested, please contact the Center for Accessibility and Learning equity about it- we love to hear your ideas!

Providing Extended Time on Examinations

Many students with disabilities require 150% time on examinations. If there is such a student in class(es), please try to make arrangements for the student to take the examination under your supervision. Many departments have meeting rooms and offices that could provide a quiet or private space for the student to take an examination. The university does not have a testing center that can accommodate all of the students who receive extended time on examinations. The Center for Accessibility and Learning Equity has limited capacity for exam proctoring. If you cannot arrange for an examination requiring extended time, please contact the Center for Accessibility and Learning Equity and we will work with you to see what arrangements can be made. Please see How to add extended time in Canvas for instructions on providing this accommodation in Canvas. 

Providing Note-Taking Accommodations

Students with a note-taker accommodation can be supported in several ways. Instructors and students should discuss the course delivery to determine the best approach.  Instructors are responsible for providing one of the following: 

    1. Instructor provides full lecture notes to the student ahead of time, or

    2.   Instructor provides guided notes ahead of time. This can be an outline of the class where the student has blanks to fill in key concepts that are presented during class, or

    3.  A student volunteer can be identified in the class to assist with note-taking. The Center for Accessibility and Learning Equity has carbon notebooks, but it may also make sense for the note-taker to take notes electronically.  If the instructor is unable provide full lecture notes, they could post/email the following: 

 “There is a need for a volunteer note-taker in this class. Although this is not a paid position, notetakers can receive certificates at the end of the semester that may be used as part of a job or graduate school application packet. If you are interested in being a note-taker, please see me after class. ”

                             Students who wish to serve as note-takers are encouraged to make themselves known to the Center for                                                 Accessibility and Learning Equity, for support and recognition. 

Accommodating Students with Hearing Impairments

Some Deaf and hard of hearing students may use an interpreter in the classroom. Others may use assistive devices that require the instructor to wear a small microphone that can send signals to either an FM device that amplifies sound for the student or to a telecommunications device that enables converting the sound signal to written text on the student’s laptop computer.

In a seminar setting where there is considerable class discussion and the class is small, the microphone can be replaced by an omni-directional speakerphone that can pick up speech from all directions.

Many hearing-impaired students can communicate in a one-on-one situation by lip-reading. But in some cases, the student may need to bring an interpreter when meeting with a faculty member. If a student does rely on lip reading, remember that you will only be understood if you are facing the student without obstructions or strong backlighting that would obscure the student’s view.  The Center for Accessibility and Learning Equity does have disposable lip-reading masks available in limited supply for your use. Please contact CALE to pick some up. 

If you are having difficulty communicating with the student, you and the student can write down what information that is unclear. Writing down your suggestions is especially helpful with hearing-impaired students because lip readers generally pick up less than half of the information that is spoken.

Please be sure to ask students about their communication preferences as there is a great diversity in the communication preferences of Deaf and Hard of hearing students. 

If you use films and videos in your classes, it is important to make the information accessible to hearing-impaired students (usually via closed captioning). Please consult with the Center for Accessibility and Learning Equity to discuss having your materials captioned.

Canvas Studio has a captioning function that is easy to use.  Auto-captioning is 85% accurate and edits are easy to make. It is highly recommended that you make a practice of captioning all videos that you make for your class. 

Accommodating Students with Visual Impairments

Some students with visual impairments require large-print written materials. This may entail making enlarged print copies of examinations and handouts. If the student has trouble reading overheads, instructors can make enlarged print copies for the student. Most copying equipment can enlarge documents.

The Center for Accessibility and Learning Equity can also provide students with assistive reading technology, books on tape, and books in braille.

If you use films and videos in your classes, it is important to make the information accessible to students with visual impairments. Please consult with the Center for Accessibility and Learning Equity to discuss your specific situation.

Respecting the Confidentiality of Student Information

Many students with disabilities are hesitant to let other students know about their disability. In addition, information about disabilities is part of the student’s confidential academic record. Therefore, faculty members need to respect the student’s privacy when providing accommodations. This means that faculty should not discuss disability-related matters with the student when other students are present, unless the student approves. Some accommodations will naturally draw attention to the student with the disability (e.g., using a sign-language interpreter in class) and this cannot be helped.