Receiving Accommodations Online

How Will Accommodations Work Online?

We have developed information below about how some of the most commonly used accommodations may work in an online environment. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list and we encourage you to contact your ODS Coordinator if you have any questions. The best way to reach your coordinator is through email and then, if needed, you can set up a phone call or video meeting.

Letters of Accommodations

It is important to submit your Letter of Accommodations (LOA) to your professor as soon as possible.  You can request a LOA through our website at:

Please remember that in order to actually receive certain accommodations, you will need to submit request forms (such as for exams or note taking) to ensure the accommodations are implemented.

Exam Accommodations

All students who have exams either online or in person should be submitting an exam request form. This will allow our office to support both the student and the faculty and ensure the accommodations are implemented correctly.

Extended Time on Exams

The most commonly used online learning platforms (such as Sakai, Canvas and Blackboard) allow faculty to extend the time of their exam for students who have accommodations. Please be sure to remind your faculty member BEFORE the exam that you will need extended time. You may find it helpful to share your Letter of Accommodation again. We have developed resources for faculty on how to extend time in a Learning Management System (Blackboard, Canvas, and Sakai).  Please feel free to share this link with your professors. 

A note about time conflicts: If receiving extended time on an exam will cause a time conflict with another class, you must notify your professor as soon as possible so they can work with you on making appropriate arrangements.

Reduced Distraction Testing Location

When taking an online exam, you are responsible for finding an environment that can work best for your needs. Consider strategies such as wearing earplugs, or if the timing of your exam is flexible, taking it at a time of day when your household or residence hall room isn’t as busy. Please be sure to reach out to your faculty member before the exam to see if being flexible with timing of the exam is an option.

If you are on campus, you can use the Find a Study Space tool if you would like to find an alternative space to take your exams.

Another possible option to explore is the use of white noise to help block out other sounds. My Noise is a site that offers a wide range of sounds you can try for free from urban to nature, and some can even be calibrated to suit your particular needs.


Students who are serving as peer note takers are expected to take notes of any audio or video lecture material being presented in online or in person courses. You should still be able to use Note Taking Express and other note taking technology with information being presented online. If you have specific questions about how notetaking might work in your course please contact or your coordinator.

Use of a Reader and/or Scribe for Exams

If you use a reader or a scribe for your exams, please complete an exam request form as early as possible so we can work with you and your faculty member. We are currently able to provide both of these accommodations remotely for the health and safety of both you and the proctor.

Breaks During Exams Without Time Penalty

If a student has this accommodation on their LOA you are permitted an extension to your 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). 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 should 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


Use of a Calculator

If you are approved to use a calculator on exams, please make sure you let your faculty member know this in advance of your exam when you send a reminder about your LOA. Most online proctoring software allows this to be added as an accommodation within the proctoring system itself, but this must be set by your professor in advance of the exam.

Use of Proctoring Software

Some faculty are choosing to use online proctoring software to assist in administering exams. Many of the options used at Rutgers have accessibility features already in place. If you have any concerns about how this might work for you please contact your coordinator.

Consideration of Absences and Extended Time on Assignments

If you are approved for consideration of absences or extended time on assignments as an accommodation, please contact your coordinator and they would be happy to work with you and your professor in navigating what this might look like on a course by course basis.


American Sign Language Interpreters and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) are both available in an online learning environment. If you are a student using these accommodations, and have concerns about how this is working, please contact your coordinator or the ASL/CART specialist for support.

Captions for Videos

We are strongly encouraging the use of captions for any video or audio created. If you are struggling to hear or understand audio or video content please let your coordinator know as soon as possible.

Still Have Questions?

If you still have any questions please be sure to check out our Frequently Asked Questions we have developed around online instruction for students with disabilities.