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Frequently Asked Questions by Faculty: Remote Disability Accommodations

Faculty will undoubtedly have many questions as the college moves to remote instruction. During this transition, the college must continue to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.  We are here as a resource to assist you in your efforts to comply. We also encourage you to view the accessibility tab on college’s Remote Learning and Instructional Continuity Sakai Page

Below, we have answered some frequently asked questions to provide guidance in accommodating your students. If you have specific concerns related to disability accommodations, please contact Jonathan Gomes, Associate Director for Tutoring and Disability Services (jgomes3@providence.edu), or Molly McKeon, Assistant Director for Disability Services (mmckeon6@providence.edu). Both are available to discuss your concerns by Zoom video conference, email or phone. 


Answers to Frequently Asked Questions:

I have students with testing accommodations. How will they receive extra time for exams/quizzes?

  • We have asked students to email you at least 48 hours in advance of a quiz/exam to remind you that they receive extra time. The student/professor DOES NOT need to fill out the standard Testing Accommodation Form while courses are being taught remotely. 
  • You have the ability to extend time for individual students in Sakai.  For assistance, you may contact Jonathan/Molly or follow this link for step-by-step instructions.  Note: As an alternative to extended time for a handful of students with disabilities, you might also consider providing double time to all students in the class.
  • Extended time for exams/quizzes only applies to timed assessments (one hour, two hours, etc.).  With this accommodation, students are expected to submit other assignments (papers, projects, etc.) on time.

One of my students told me that s(he) needs course materials to be in an accessible or alternate format.  What do I do?

  • Some students require materials to be in an accessible format (i.e., large font size, compatibility with a screen reader or e-reader, closed captions for videos).  If a student contacts you to request this accommodation, please contact Jonathan or Molly.  We will work with you and the student to ensure timely delivery of materials.

Some of my students have attendance flexibility and flexible due dates.  What does this mean in an online class?

  • In Sakai, you may set “open” and “close” dates for assignments.  When the assignment “closes,” a student will not be able to access it.  If students need an extension on an assignment, they have been directed to contact you 48 hours prior to the due date and remind you that they are eligible for flexible due dates. You have the ability to set a different due date for specific students.  For support, contact Jonathan or Molly or follow this link for step-by-step instructions.  
  • Although there will be no meetings in our classrooms, some students may continue to need “attendance flexibility.”  Students who qualify for this accommodation most often have medical or health conditions, with symptoms that are episodic and unpredictable, creating barriers to participation at certain times of the day or week.  In an online course, you may choose to measure attendance as participation in discussion posts, accessing the course on specific dates, etc. Please think about how attendance will be measured in your course and communicate with your student how this requirement will be accommodated when necessary. 

Some of my students receive class notes as an accommodation. What does this mean in an online class?

  • Notes are needed when a barrier related to disability impacts a student’s ability to record details of the class lecture/discussion. Barriers may include, but are not limited to, processing speed, inattention, and fine motor difficulties. Typically, students who qualify are provided with copies of peer notes.
  • In order to meet students’ needs during the change to online learning, we ask that you provide recordings of any synchronous lectures and/or activate the option for students to record on Zoom. Recording your lecture, or granting students permission to record, is a best practice that universally supports access for all students. Especially for students with disabilities who might otherwise require a peer note taker, access to recordings can allow them to revisit portions of the lecture that they may miss (or misunderstand) and augment or modify their own notes accordingly.

Are there strategies that I can adopt in my course to support student learning and access?

  • There are many techniques that can be built into a course to improve learning outcomes for all students, not just those with documented disabilities. Listed below are five tips to get started:
  1. Be mindful of your speaking pace. Record/post live lectures and/or allow students to record for later review.
  2. Present material in multiple ways (i.e., combination of text, video, images).
  3. Provide a variety of options for students to demonstrate learning (i.e., discussions, written responses, presentations, different types of exam questions).
  4. Avoid using PDF documents, which can be difficult to access through screen reading software.
  5. Select videos with closed captions.

I am concerned about a student in my class with a disability who does not seem to be adjusting well to the new format.  How can I help this individual?

Jonathan Gomes (jgomes3@providence.edu) and Molly McKeon (mmckeon6@providence.edu) are available to consult with you regarding individual student concerns. Please contact us to discuss this or any other concerns that you may have.