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Online Accommodations and Access

Maintaining Confidentiality in Online/Remote Learning

Whether teaching in a fully online, synchronous remote hybrid, or in-person hybrid setting, the way we communicate with our students looks different, especially when considering how to discuss a student’s approved disability-related accommodations with them in a way that maintains their confidentiality and privacy. 

Appropriate Methods of Communication:

  • Via email sent solely to the CDR student
  • During a scheduled, one-on-one virtual office hours appointment
  • By phone at an agreed upon time

Inappropriate Methods of Communication:

  • After a live virtual lecture while other students are still present in the virtual classroom
  • During a live virtual lecture (or forum where other students are present)
  • Within an all-class BlackBoard Announcement
  • Within an email sent to multiple students

Common Accommodation Questions Online

The following chart provides common accommodation areas and whether or not (and if so, how?) those accommodations are still applicable.  

Accommodation Online/Hybrid Application
Volunteer Note-taker
  • While students can request to use this accommodation, no guarantee is made that a volunteer will come forward.
Access to PowerPoint or overhead slides before class begins
  • Still applies.
  • If slides are posted in advance for all students, no further action needs to be taken regarding this accommodation.
Ability to audio record class lectures
  • For live virtual classes, the professor should record the class meeting and provide the recording to the student.
Excused Breaks During Class
  • Still applies to live virtual class meetings.
Extended time (1.5x or 2.0x) on all timed exams and quizzes including pop-quizzes and timed online exams and quizzes
  • This accommodation applies to all timed exams and quizzes including: mid-terms and final exams, exams/quizzes in Blackboard, pop-quizzes, timed in-class exams/quizzes, exams/quizzes taken through 3rd party software (e.g. MyMath Lab, McGraw-Hill Connect, etc.).
  • For assistance with Blackboard exams contact the Office of Distance and Learning Technology (ODELT) at ext. 7122 or blackboard [at] desu.edu.
Use of adaptive technology on exams and quizzes
  • The specific technology will be listed on the Accommodation Letter and available on the student’s personal computer or iPad.
  • If using the Natural Reader with the Respondus LockDown Browser, the software link (https://www.naturalreaders.com/online/) must be included in the question/description/instructions of this student’s exam.
Scribe for hand-written or hand-typed in-person exams and quizzes
  • In-person only
Exams and quizzes in electronic format
  • Please provide the exam in a .pdf or .docx format for student to use adaptive technology on their computer.
Excused breaks during testing (maximum 10 minutes per hour) not to be taken from exam time
  • In-person only
Human reader for exams and quizzes
  • In-person only
Distraction reduced testing environment
  • In-person only (student determines where they test when testing online).
Flexibility in attendance unless it fundamentally alters the learning outcomes of the course or program.
  • Applies to live, didactic learning environments (ie: live virtual lectures and live in-person lectures) but does not apply to experiential learning environments (ie: lab, studio, clinical)
  • Student must notify the professor via email no later than one business day after the absence to inform them that the absence is due to a flare of their condition.
Homework will be submitted within 24 hours (1 business day) when “flexibility in attendance” is used and when turning homework in electronically is not possible
  • If all assignments are already submitted online, they are still due the same day.
Ability to retest within 48 hours (2 business days) when student uses “flexibility in attendance” on day of exam or quiz.
  • Applies only if all students are expected to log in and take the exam on a specific day and the SAS student experiences a flare of their condition on that day.
Ability to give presentation within 48 hours (2 business days) when student uses “flexibility in attendance” on originally scheduled day of presentation.
  • Applies to live, didactic learning environments (ie: live virtual lectures and live in-person lectures)
  • Student must notify the professor via email no later than one business day after the absence to inform them that the absence is due to a flare of their condition.
Synopsis of and due dates for long-term assignments and projects to be given to the student as far in advance of their associated start dates as possible
  • The professor is not required to teach the student in advance. However, any information regarding the timeline, rubric, or project overview, etc. that would be given to the class later in the semester should be given to the student as far in advance as possible.
Reading materials in accessible format
  • Students with this accommodation have usually already worked with the CDR to ensure they have access to electronically accessible versions of their textbooks. However, with course content being placed online there may be additional readings, articles, or documents for them to access. Faculty can help ensure these materials will be accessible by choosing to upload PDF files where the text has been Optical Character Recognized (OCRd) and Word documents as opposed to image files..

Creating and/or Uploading Videos Online

When creating lectures and/or recording audio over a PowerPoint presentation, using the “white board” feature in Collaborate Ultra, or any other visual-heavy resources, there are two accessibility factors to be considered.

  1. Please do everything possible to verbally describe any images or content that a sighted person would glean simply from looking at the screen. This not only ensures access for a student with a visual impairment, but also ensures students who are using alternate forms of technology or have slower internet connections can still get the full value from the presentation.
  2. It is always recommended that lecture recordings are done using a script or using a service like MS Teams which can auto-caption for you. This script can then be uploaded with the video, in lieu of closed captioning the content, to ensure that anyone with a hearing impairment or who uses technology that does not have the ability to play sound can still access the information.

In the event that YouTube or other third-party videos will be uploaded to enhance online course content, it is important to choose videos that have closed captioning available.