Faculty Support

Accommodations for Online Courses

Do you need help with providing accommodations in online courses? Have questions about how to extend time in Sakai, Canvas or another learning management system? This page will answer many of your questions.

 

Best Practices for All Courses

There are many best practices that you as a faculty or staff can do to create an accessible environment, inclusive to all. Please feel free to let us know your ideas and we will add them to the page! 

General Best Practices

1. Confidentiality of all disability information is essential. At no time should the class be informed that a student has a disability, except at the student’s expressed request. All disability information, which the student gives to the faculty member, is to be used specifically for arranging reasonable accommodations for the course of study.

2. Have a welcoming statement in your course syllabus letting students with disabilities know that you welcome them and how they can request accommodations. We offer two examples on the syllabus statement page.

3. Be aware of your physical environment. Are there any small changes you could make to make your space more accessible to someone in a wheelchair or someone using a cane or walker?

4. Know about our services and how to refer. Many students register with our office because of a referral from a faculty, staff member, or friend.

5. If you are hosting an event, become familiar with our guidelines for creating accessible events. Be sure to include an accessibility statement on any flyers or promotional materials letting participants know how they can request an accommodation if one is needed.

6. Clearly spell out expectations at the beginning of the course (e.g., grading, material to be covered, assignment due dates). It takes an average of six weeks to get a book scanned for digital recording. Please announce reading assignments well in advance for students who are using recorded materials or other alternative formats.

7. All students, including students with disabilities, will benefit if you start each lecture with an outline of material to be covered during that class period. Briefly summarizing key points at the conclusion of class aids students in clarifying their notes and delineating supporting information from the main ideas you wish them to remember.

8. Present new or technical vocabulary on the board or in a handout. Providing examples may also convey greater meaning.

9. Give assignments both orally and in written form to avoid confusion.

10. Allow students to record lectures for reviewing later.

11. Provide adequate opportunities for questions and answers, including review sessions.

12. For exams, supply students with study questions that demonstrate the format as well as the content of the test. Explain what constitutes a good answer and why.

13. Consider allowing students to demonstrate mastery of course material by using methods appropriate to the student and the subject matter (e.g., a paper instead of a test, allowing students to create a video or poem instead of a paper, etc).

14. When a test is not designed to measure a student’s mastery of basic arithmetic or spelling, allow the use of simple calculators, scratch paper, and spellers' dictionaries during exams.

Zoom Best Practices

1. Sound quality is important for all participants, but critical for those who may be hard of hearing. If you are the primary presenter, ensure you are in a noise free environment and also be sure to mute participants who are not speaking.

2. Reviewing sessions again is one of the top benefits students reported in their classes going remote, so consider recording your session.

3. If using chat, be sure to share it in a variety of ways. Two methods to consider are reading the chat out loud during the session and also saving the chat to share once the session is done.

Be sure to check out the Zoom Accessibility page for more tips and tricks to make your Zoom meeting the best possible experience for all students!

Webex Best Practices

1. Be sure to verbally describe visual information on the screen. Not only is this helpful for people with disabilities, but it is also helpful for participants who may be joining via phone.

2. Send the Webex keyboard shortcuts to everyone in advance. This information is helpful for those using assistive technology and also for those just looking to access Webex controls in an easier way.

Be sure to check out the Webex Accessibility page for for tips and tricks to make your Webex meeting the best possible experience for all students!

 

Common Accommodations

Below is a list of some of the most common accommodations you may see on a student's Letter of Accommodation. By no means is this an exhaustive list, and we encourage you to reach out to the coordinator listed on the student's LOA if you have any questions.

Access to snacks/food/drinks during labs, class and exams

Students approved for this accommodation are allowed to bring in snacks, including drinks to the learning environment. There will be instances where this is not acceptable, such as clinical rotations/rounds with nursing students. Certain lab spaces also will not permit food. Students might have to leave the physical space to consume the snack/drink. Students are not consuming a meal under this accommodation, only a light snack and/or drink.

Alternate Format for Textbooks or Course Materials

This accommodation is typically abbreviated as AFT and is designed to provide the approved student an alternate format of their course materials. This includes but is not limited to e-versions of their textbook (the student must provide a receipt of purchase), PowerPoints or course material with alternative text for images or properly set to be read by a screen reader, as well creating tactiles for students. An AFT request must be submitted online by the student via our website. ODS partners with Rutgers Access and Disability Resources (RADR) to fulfill these requests.

American Sign Language Interpreter/ CART Services

Students approved for this accommodation are deaf or hard of hearing. The ASL/CART Coordinator at Rutgers-University New Brunswick will contract interpreters/reporters designed for real time verbatim translation for course lectures and programs. An ASL/CART request must be submitted online by the student via our website to set up services.

If you will have an interpreting team or CART reporter in your class, you will be notified in advance by the ASL/CART Coordinator who will work with you on any necessary details and answer any questions you might have.

Breaks during exams without time penalty

If a student has this accommodation on their LOA the student is permitted an extension to their exam time to account for breaks. Students are allowed to walk, stretch, use the restroom, stand up, etc., outside of the exam room. For online exams, students may move off camera. The student will be given 10 minutes of break time per hour of testing time (see table below). We are making this change in how the accommodation of "breaks" is administered due to the shift to online courses.

During a break, if testing in person, students are not permitted to leave the room with their cellphone or any belongings not specified on their LOA. For students taking exams online, they are not permitted to access technology while on a break.

Please note, that this time will be applied in addition to any other accommodation. So for example, if the class has 80 minutes for an exam, and a student is approved for breaks and 50% extended time, then they should get 120 minutes for the extended time and 20 minutes for the breaks for a total of 140 minutes.

Exam time Additional Time to account for Breaks
0 - 60 min 10 minutes
61 - 120 min 20 minutes
121 - 180 min 30 minutes

 

Consideration with regards to absences & missed exams/quizzes

This accommodation operates on a case-by-case basis and is not a blanket ability to miss classes or exams/quizzes. It is not designed to be utilized weekly but rather when the student experiences a severe flare up that does not allow them to attend class and/or take an exam. Exams must be made up the next day or as soon as possible and if the professor cannot proctor the exam, the Office of Disability Services will do so on behalf of the professor. If too many missed classes become a concern, we will have the coordinator connect the student with the CARE Team/Dean of Students.

Consideration in regards to oral presentations, when within the academic standards of the course

The student is permitted alternate means to demonstrating the objectives of presentations, as determined by the instructor (essays, video recordings of presentations, etc.). This is worked out on a course-by-course basis between the faculty member, student, and ODS coordinator (if requested).

Enlarged Print

Students typically approved for this accommodation have a visual disability that does not enable them to clearly read small font. The professor will send examinations with the appropriate font size, as indicated on the Letter of Accommodation, to the office or the ODS team will enlarge the font on behalf of the professor. An alternative to enlarging PDF versions of exams (you typically cannot change the font of PDFs) is by printing on large paper in order to have the printer automatically enlarge the PDF file.

Exams to end by [time]

Exams are not to go beyond the indicated time. Students approved for this accommodation will have to work with the office and faculty member to arrange a time for the student to take the exam the same day or the very next day (on a case-by-case basis). There are also some students who may be approved for exams to not start before a specific time.

Extended time (50%) for timed in class/online exams and quizzes

The student is given time and a half to complete their exam either with the faculty member or at the ODS office. If the class is given an hour (60 minutes) to take an exam, the approved student will have time (60 minutes) and a half (30 minutes) as their testing time period (90 minutes in total). To use the extended time accommodation, an exam request must be submitted online by the student via our website.

For online exams, the faculty must be the ones to extend the time in the learning management system. Please visit our page about how to extend time for online exams if you would like additional information on how to do this.

Extended time (100%) for timed in class/online exams and quizzes

The student is given double the time to complete their exam either with the faculty member or at the office. If the class is given an hour (60 minutes) to take an exam, the approved student will have double the class time (120 minutes). To use the extended time accommodation, an exam request must be submitted online by the student via our website.

For online exams, the faculty must be the ones to extend the time in the learning management system. Please visit our page about how to extend time for online exams if you would like additional information on how to do this.

Extra Time on Assignments, within the academic standards of the course

This accommodation operates on a case-by-case basis and a conversation must occur with the professor prior to being utilized. It is not designed to be utilized weekly but rather when the student experiences a severe flare up that does not allow them to complete the work and submit it on time. The amount of extended time on assignments depends primarily on what is agreed upon the faculty member and student. In addition, this accommodation does not apply to in certain situations due to either impacting others or other assignments, such as group work, participation/discussion, capstone projects and assignments that will evolve to larger scale assignments.

No scantrons for exams/quizzes

A scantron will not be utilized during an exam for a student approved for this accommodation. The student will either indicate their response right on the exam or write their answers on a separate sheet of paper, usually the former.

Digitally Recording Lectures for Personal Use Only

The student is approved to record the professor’s lectures, regardless of the policy in the classroom on lecture recording. Students may use their own cell phone or recording device to record, or may come to the office to borrow a device out for the semester. A note taking request must be submitted online by the student via our website. Some of our recording device options are:

Note Taking Express (NTE)– An online application paid by Rutgers-University where the student uses a device to record the lectures, uploads it to the NTE site and receives a word doc of notes within 24-26 hours of submission, from a professional note taker.

Digital recorder– A device used to record audio. Students can borrow a digital recorder from ODS.

Livescribe Pen and Notebook– A pen that records audio and when combined with the Echo notebook, will play the recording in real time from when the pen is placed on the paper. Students can borrow a Livescribe pen from ODS.

Sonocent– A program via one’s laptop/surface device that allows the user to capture the audio of the lecture via chunking, and rearranging them to any imported PowerPoint slides. A user can also include text and highlighting.

Notetaking Assistance (which may include digitally recording lectures)

Students may use any recording device mentioned previously or have the office hire within the class a note taker to upload notes anonymously within the learning management system (LMS) used by the university. The student is approved to record the professor’s lectures, regardless of the policy in the classroom on lecture recording. Hiring a note taker within a class typically takes time. A request for a notetaker must be submitted online by the student via our website.

Permission to use a laptop/tablet for notetaking

The student is allowed to utilize a laptop or tablet to take notes in class, regardless of the policy on technology in class.

Preferred seating

This permits the student to have the ability to sit wherever they need to sit, in the class. Typically, this accommodation is granted to allow students to sit in the front of the class to provide them more access to the board, professor or screen. In other cases, this allows students to sit in the back and be close to a classroom door should they need to use the restroom, take a break, walk, stretch, etc.

Reduced distraction testing location

This is often abbreviated as RDTL. This allows the student to take their test in a separate testing area from the class in order to reduce the amount of distractions in the room (number of students, sounds, etc.). Professors are able to provide a RDTL as long as the testing environment is similar to the one given to the class and ideal. For example, some professors will allow the student approved for RDTL to take their exam at the department’s main office, monitored by an administrative assistant/staff member. When this cannot be provided, students can request to take their exam at our office. Students must submit an exam request form 5 business days in advance of the exam to allow the ODS team enough time to prepare for the exam (contact the professor for exam and instructions, reserve a room and hire a proctor). 

Reduced distraction testing location (with proctor only)

This allows the student to take their exam proctored by our office in a testing environment where only they and the proctor (or scribe) are present. No other student/personnel are to be in the same testing environment as them.

For online exams, this means the student should not be proctored online as a part of a group. Please email the ODS exam office staff if you have questions or need assistance with this accommodation.

Service Animal

A service animal is trained to do at least one specific task for a person with a documented disability. The service animal is allowed to accompany the owner around any area on campus. This animal will typically be a canine, or in rare cases, a miniature horse.

Tables/Chairs

Known as accessible furniture that allows the student to have access to the course content. This typically varies on the student case, but common accommodations include ergonomic chairs, podiums, stand-desks, ergonomic chairs, etc.

Use of a calculator on exams/quizzes unless it compromises an essential function of the course

The student is allowed to use a basic (four function) calculator during examinations, even if the class is not allowed to do so. Exceptions are when the calculator is a fundamental alteration to an essential function of the course/exam.

Use of a computer for essay exams/quizzes ONLY

The student is allowed to use a laptop in the classroom or when being proctored by ODS for portions of the exam that require writing, such as in essays.

Use of a lab/classroom assistant

A contracted individual by the office will accompany the student and assist them in the classroom or lab. The lab/classroom assistant’s role depends on the student’s needs and class structure. Some duties may include, but is not limited to: describing visual information, assisting with the navigation of in-accessible software, or assisting with activities that a student may not otherwise be capable of due to a disability (i.e lifting a beaker to pour one solution into the next).

Use of a podium during testing

A podium will be placed on the desk so that a student who needs to frequently get up can continue their exam when doing so. A podium for in classroom use is considered the accommodation of tables/chairs.

Use of a reader for exams/quizzes

A contracted individual by the office who will read verbatim the exam question to the student. They will not assist the student in any way to answer the question, but only read the question to them.

Use of a screen/text reader for exams/quizzes

The student is approved to utilize their computer during an exam to have a screen reader (JAWS) or text reader (Kurzweil) read the questions to them. Typically, the student will be proctored at our office.

Use of a screen/text reader for textbook/course materials

The student is provided a text reader (Kurzweil or Read & Write) by our office to read text material on their computer out loud to them.

Use of a scribe for exams/quizzes

A contracted individual by the office who will write down verbatim what the student with disability says.

Use of FM system in class

Allows the student to utilize a device that transmits what the speaker is saying to the individual with the receiver. A student who has this accommodation will provide the microphone for the FM system to you at the beginning of the course.

Contact Information

Still have questions? You can reach our main office by calling 848-202-3111 or emailing dsoffice@echo.rutgers.edu, or you can review our staff page to reach one of our staff members directly. You can reach our exam unit by calling 848-216-5433 or emailing proctor@echo.rutgers.edu.