FAQ's during COVID-19
All student appointments will be conducted via phone or virtually until further notice. If you have a question or concern, please contact Deidre Miller at email@example.com or 843-208-8375.
Testing Center reopened Spring 2021 for students registered with Accessibility Services that have testing accommodations and are taking face-to-face classes. Testing Center hours: M, W, F: 9am-1pm and T, Th: 1pm-5pm. Hours are subject to change.
Please communicate with your instructors to discuss your exam accommodations in their courses.
- Some instructors may opt for alternative assessments (e.g. essays, untimed exams) which would not require exam accommodations.
- If your instructor is creating online timed exams, please notify them ahead of time if you will need extended time. Academic departments are responsible for setting up extended testing time in the Learning Management System.
Accessibility Services is available to instructors and students to consult about unique circumstances. Contact Deidre Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or 843-208-8375.
We acknowledge the significant effort required to quickly adapt your courses to online instruction. We want to collaborate with you to ensure that access for students with disabilities is maintained through this transition. Some students may encounter disability-related barriers with online instruction or assessment (e.g. students who use assistive technology, students with medical limitations on screen usage). Accessibility Services staff are available for consultation regarding best practices and accessibility. Please contact Deidre Miller at email@example.com or 843-208-8375.
Below are some tips to keep in mind as you are creating virtual course content:
- Use clear, consistent layouts and organization schemes for presenting content, and make instructions and expectations clear for activities, projects and assigned reading.
- Offer outlines, scaffolding tools and adequate opportunities for practice to help students learn.
- When selecting new materials, try to find videos that are already captioned and articles that are available in a text-searchable format (meaning you can highlight and search the text within the document.
- Images can be made accessible to blind and low-vision students by providing captions or inserting alt text into the image. Use large, bold fonts on uncluttered pages with plain backgrounds and color combinations that are high contrast.
- Provide flexibility and understanding as this experience may cause disruption to the student’s home life and available resources – which may negatively impact a student’s disability symptoms.
Extended time on exams as an accommodation generally only applies to traditional, time-limited exams. If you decide to offer alternative means of assessment (e.g. essays, non-timed exams, project work), then a student’s extended time may no longer be applicable. We encourage you to speak with registered students if that is the case.
Academic departments are responsible for setting up extended testing time in Blackboard. This document explains how to extend time for a test in Blackboard.
The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act define a person with a disability as someone who: a) has a physical and/or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity; b) has a record of such an impairment; or c) is regarded as having such an impairment. Major life activities include, but are not limited to: walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, and learning. A person may have a visible disability (e.g. a person who is deaf or uses a wheelchair) or a hidden disability (a person with a learning disability, psychological disability, or chronic health impairment).
It is a modification, adjustment, or elimination of a barrier to a program or service to enable an individual with a disability to participate on an equal basis. Individualized accommodations are not designed to give the student an advantage over other students, to alter a fundamental aspect of the course, nor to weaken academic rigor. Examples of accommodations include: extended time for test taking, document conversion of print material to alternate formats, and remote captioning.
Though it is the student’s responsibility to initiate the discussion regarding accommodations that may be needed, instructors can help to facilitate this process. Students will feel more comfortable about identifying themselves as having a disability if they are approaching someone they believe to be receptive to the discussion. Many instructors include a disability/access statement such as this one on their syllabi:
If there is a student in this class who has a documented disability and has been approved to receive accommodations through Accessibility Services, please come and discuss this with me during my office hours.
Many instructors also make a similar announcement to each class at the beginning of each semester. By doing this, you will identify yourself as someone who understands that accommodations may be appropriate and perhaps has some knowledge about the accommodation process. You did not say, “I’ll give you anything you want.” You merely said, “Let’s talk about it.” Such an invitation can go a long way toward encouraging students with a disability to approach the professor early in the course.
Sample Syllabus Statements
- Any student eligible for and needing accommodations because of a disability is requested to speak with the professor during the first two weeks of class or as soon as the student has been approved for services so that reasonable accommodations can be arranged.
- The College will make reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. Students should apply for services through Accessibility Services located on the second floor of the Bluffton Campus Library, 207. Students approved for accommodations are responsible for notifying me as soon as possible and for contacting me one week before accommodation is needed.
- This College abides by section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you have a documented disability that may have some impact on your work in this class and for which you may require accommodations, please contact Accessibility Services at 843.208.8375 or me so that such accommodation may be arranged.
Although students are encouraged to identify themselves early in the semester in order to receive academic accommodations, they are not required to do so and some students may not be aware of having a disability until they are diagnosed later in the semester. Also, some students may try to take a class without using accommodations but find that they are not doing well and need to use them. In either situation, professors are not required to retroactively provide accommodations unless notified by Accessibility Services regarding an extenuating circumstance.
College personnel are required to provide reasonable accommodations upon notification of a student’s disability (USCB Accommodations Letter). When the accommodation request involves the modification of a student’s enrolled course, Accessibility Services is the office designated to determine which accommodation(s) is/are reasonable and must be provided. Professors who believe that providing an academic accommodation would fundamentally alter a course or impact a student’s ability to demonstrate the essential skills required of the course should contact Accessibility Services as soon as possible to discuss.
Upon student request and verification of eligibility, an accommodation letter is prepared by Accessibility Services. Students are responsible for meeting with instructors, providing a copy of their USCB accommodation letter and making arrangements for accommodations for the course. If a student requests accommodations without providing the USCB accommodation letter, you should advise the student that the accommodation letter is necessary. However, if the disability is obvious (e.g. vision disability) and the request is reasonable (e.g. Use of laptop to type notes), you should provide the accommodation while waiting for the USCB accommodation letter.
Students are encouraged to arrange a private meeting with their professor(s) to discuss accommodations listed on the accommodation letter. Some professors meet with students before or after a class or in their office. Professors can greatly assist the student by asking what can be done in the course to facilitate learning and access to the class
Under Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act and its Amendments, institutions of higher education must provide auxiliary aids and services to students with documented disabilities and may not deny equal access to the institution's programs, courses and activities. For a variety of reasons, some students are not able to take adequate notes during class. Audio recorders are a legitimate auxiliary aid to supplement or substitute note taking for some students with disabilities.
Faculty members have the option to request a student who uses a recorder to sign an agreement for recording and present the form to the instructor.
The current trend of faculty members limiting or prohibiting electronic devices (e.g. laptop; digital recorder) in the classroom is understandable, given the increasingly disruptive habits of students accessing non-class related material during class. However, for students who need to take notes on their laptops or audio-record the class as a disability-related accommodation, the issue becomes sticky. We recommend against professors making a statement such as “No one may use laptops except those with disabilities.” This essentially requires a student with a disability to identify him/herself to others just by using his/her laptop. You want to avoid putting students in this position. If you are considering prohibiting laptops, one professor used the following wording in their syllabus:
"The use of Laptops/Netbooks/iPads, etc. is strictly prohibited for use during all class sessions...Failure to follow this technology policy without prior approval of the Instructor can result in dismissal from that class session."
This professor then met with students individually and discussed their issue. If there was a documented need for laptop usage, they allowed it and had them sign an agreement that laid out the expected behavior (use only for class related purposes, wireless internet will be turned off, will sit on an aisle or front row in order to be less distracting to other students). They can then enforce their classroom policy, while still providing the appropriate accommodation. If someone asks why others are allowed to use laptops, they simply say that they made special arrangements with the instructor, with no details given.
Some professors provide their PowerPoint presentations to the class which, while helpful, may not always be an appropriate substitute for class notes. If the information being provided during the lecture is substantively different from the typed or written content being provided, the student may need to use audio-recording or class notes to mitigate any barriers with acquiring the relevant information for later use.
Accessibility Services recruits fellow classmates as note takers. Students are expected to discuss their request for notetaking services with their professor(s) as early in the semester as possible. Students email the disability services office of those classes for which they are requesting a note taker. The professor is asked to inform his/her class about the need for notetaking services (without disclosing information about the student who has made the request) through one of the following ways: 1. In-class announcement; 2. Email to all students in the class. However, if the student knows someone in class who is willing to share their notes, he/she can make those arrangements independently. Interested note takers are asked to contact disability services.
Students arrange these accommodations in one of two ways:
- Completing the forms to request testing in the Testing Center. Accessibility Services houses and manages several rooms for testing. This site provides an area for students approved for services to take their tests using extra test time, testing in isolation, use of readers or scribes, and access to assistive technologies. If a student needs certain accommodations for a quiz/test/exam, they complete and submit a a Student Request for Testing and ask the instructor to complete the Instructor Portion of the Request for testing at least 5 days prior to the test.
- Negotiating the time and place directly with the professor. Some professors will allow students to take the tests in the classroom, their office, or elsewhere.
Students who request testing accommodations for exams are instructed to maintain good communication with each professor. Professors are not required to accommodate students with extended time if they do not receive advance notice.
Since confidentiality is key, it is best not to discuss exam accommodations with other students or in a class setting. Discussing any information regarding a student's disability in the presence of other students can create an uncomfortable situation for the student. Also, confidentiality is a legal concern and a student's right to privacy concerning their disability is protected by Federal Law.
All students, including those with disabilities, should be evaluated at the same level. The requested accommodations are not in place to give the student an extra advantage or to raise or lower academic expectations. Accommodations are designed to “level the playing field” and compensate for any deficits to the educational environment experienced by the student. Accommodations may present an alternative manner in which a student fully participates in your class or gains access to information.
If you are concerned about a student’s behavior in class (e.g. monopolizing classroom discussion), consider having a conversation with the student about the issue. A solution might be to allow the student a certain number of questions or comments per class. Creating these kinds of boundaries can be helpful for many students. Regardless, all students should be held to the same standards of conduct. Certainly contact the Accessibility Services Office for further assistance or with questions: 843-208-8375.
While the College does not offer on-campus testing, the Accessibility Services Office maintains a list of providers in the area who conduct testing for disabilities such as learning disabilities and/or AD/HD.
Students with temporary impairments such as a broken or sprained dominant arm/hand are not covered by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA Amendments 2008, or Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act. However, the Accessibility Services Office will work with students to ensure that the campus is as accessible as possible, but may only be able to provide limited assistance. Students with temporary impairments are encouraged to talk with their professors about their situation and meet with Accessibility Services Coordinator, if necessary. Professors should work with students, in these circumstances, to the greatest extent possible.
- Provide students with a detailed course syllabus.
- Include a disability/access statement in your syllabus
- Clearly set out expectations before the course begins (e.g., attendance policy, materials to be covered, and due dates).
- Start each lecture with an outline of material to be covered that class.
- Present new or technical vocabulary in written form.
- Give assignments both orally and in written form to avoid confusion.
- Point out if a study guide is not comprehensive or lacks new subjects that may be covered in an exam.
- Provide study questions for exams that demonstrate format as well as content. Explain what constitutes a good answer and why.
- If possible, select a textbook with an accompanying study guide or software programs for optional student use.
- Provide adequate opportunities for questions and answers, including review sessions.