Should I change the course requirements for students registered with ALS?
No. Students are expected to meet the essential requirements of each course. If a student requires accommodations, it may be necessary to provide an alternative form of assessment to ensure the student has an equitable opportunity to demonstrate mastery of course content.
How is ‘appropriate’ accommodation defined?
Accommodations are determined on an individual basis and are intended to remove barriers so students can equitably demonstrate course content. Understanding the essential course requirements is a crucial component of determining accommodations. Appropriate accommodations do not compromise essential course requirements or cause undue hardship on the institution. All accommodation requests must be meaningfully considered
Questions to consider when determining ‘appropriate’ accommodations:
- What skill is truly being tested/required? What is it that students must successfully demonstrate?
- Can the skill be demonstrated in only one way?
- Is the evaluation properly designed to ensure that the desired qualification is met?
How do I get notified about my student’s accommodations?
An Accommodation Letter is issued when a student has connected with Accessible Learning Services and it has been identified that they require academic accommodations. Students may choose to communicate directly with you and/or request that ALS manage the accommodation request on their behalf. Students may opt for different levels of support at various points in their program.
You are notified by email when a student requests that ALS provide the Accommodation Letter to faculty on their behalf. The email will include a link to the Faculty Web Portal where you can view or download the accommodation letter.
Faculty email addresses are generated automatically from Banner. If you would like to verify your email address, please contact Information Technology Services and they will route this to the appropriate area.
I have received an Accommodation Letter for a student from Accessible Learning Services. Should I contact the student to let them know I have received the letter?
Yes. You are encouraged to acknowledge receipt of the Accommodation Letter. This communication may be done in a confidential conversation or via email.
I received an Accommodation Letter for a student from Accessible Learning Services. Does this mean I cannot speak to the student about accommodations?
No. You are encouraged to confidentially discuss accommodations with your students. Students are responsible for notifying their instructors that they are choosing to write their tests in Testing Services. In some circumstances, the student may request the Accessibility Consultant to assist in this process as well.
One of my students disclosed to me that they have a disability and there does not appear to be an Accommodation Letter for them. What should I do?
Students with disabilities may not be aware that they could be eligible for academic accommodations in the post-secondary setting. They may also assume that it is up to their professor to determine their accommodations.
Feel free to respond to the student in person or by email. Thank the student for sharing the information with you, and inform the student that Humber/Guelph-Humber has an Accessible Learning Services office (the ALS office contact information can be found on the Humber website). Normalize by indicating that there are many students at Humber/GH who live with a disability. Reassure the student that you would like to support them and that the ALS referral is strictly voluntary.
While it is within your authority to grant basic accommodations to a student not registered with ALS, it is not your responsibility to assess the student’s needs or inquire about the details of the disability.
Why should I provide an alternative form of assessment for oral presentations?
The method of assessment should be rationally connected to the essential requirements of the course. If the essential requirements of a course do not include presentation skills and/or the ability to provide information orally, it may not be appropriate to require all students to give a presentation. It may be reasonable to provide students with an opportunity to complete a written assignment or test instead.
How are academic accommodations different from placement accommodations?
Accommodations, whether in the classroom or in the field, are intended to remove barriers and provide students an equitable opportunity to demonstrate competencies. Specific accommodations which address specific tasks or duties in the field or in clinical placements may be required. The Accessibility Consultant working with a student can assist in facilitating this process.
How do extension accommodations apply to group projects?
Where extensions may not be possible or appropriate due to group work, you may need to consider alternatives. This may result in providing the student with an individual assignment based on the learning outcomes and essential requirements of the course. You are encouraged to connect with the Accessibility Consultant listed on the student’s Accommodation Letter for assistance.
For more information on extensions, please review our Extensions as an Accommodation Guide.
What is the best approach for supporting students who request an extension and then are unable to meet the extension date?
In exceptional circumstances, students may request an extension of an extension. This may be the result of a condition that is chronic and unpredictable. The Accessibility Consultant listed on the student’s Accommodation Letter is available to support faculty and students when these situations arise.
As faculty, I have received an Accommodation Letter after the course has started. Do the accommodations apply only from that date moving forward?
Prior to connecting with ALS, the student may have encountered a disability-related barrier while completing coursework. All accommodation requests must be meaningfully considered, even for those requests after the date on the Accommodation Letter received. For example, a student may be eligible to request an extension on assignments or ask to redo an assignment after the deadline has passed. Please contact the Accessibility Consultant listed on the student’s Accommodation Letter if you require assistance in such a scenario.
What is the process for notifying other students in the class that their discussions are being audio recorded?
You are encouraged at the beginning of the course to notify students that lectures may be audio recorded. Some audio recordings have been approved as a disability-related accommodation, but many students not connected with Accessible Learning Services audio record lectures to assist in their learning.
Are students with the accommodation of audio recording asked to sign a confidentiality waiver?
Most students with the accommodation of audio recording are using a service called Note-Taking Express (NTE). NTE is administered by Peer Assisted Learning Support (PALS). Please see their Faculty FAQ which includes a link to the Audio Recording Agreement which students sign.
A smaller number of students use audio recording as an accommodation but do not use NTE. For example, a student may simply play back the lecture for personal study but not require assistance with notes. This group of students can complete the ALS Audio Recording Agreement with their Accessibility Consultant.
Are these students required to destroy audio recorded classes after the course is completed?
No. There is currently no requirement for students to destroy audio recorded classes. Students using NTE as an accommodation will have their recordings deleted from the website each academic year.
Are we able to require audio recordings be turned off at times?
An audio recording of lectures is an accommodation used to provide students access to information presented during class. If there is sensitive or confidential information presented in class where other students are able to take notes then you must provide the student with an equitable alternative to have access to this information. The Accessibility Consultant working with the student is available to consult with faculty and student as questions arise.
Do I need to put tests in Testing Services for all students for whom I have received an Accommodation Letter?
No. Students are required to notify you in advance that they would like to write their test in the Test Centre. Students can choose to write their tests in the classroom without accommodations.
What is the benefit of ‘rest days’ in exam scheduling?
Some students may require a rest day between exams. This may be due to a number of reasons including a medical condition which requires them to take rest periods between assessments or a condition which impacts their ability to collect, retain and process information during condensed periods.
We are receiving Accommodation Letters the night before a test and do not have enough time to deliver the test to Testing Services.
Students are required to give their instructors reasonable notice that they would like to use Testing Services. ALS explains this to all students. A matter of hours before the test is not reasonable notice. You are encouraged to accommodate where possible but if implementing the accommodation without notice is not possible, you should explain this to the student and direct them to their Accessibility Consultant. You can submit the test to Testing Services electronically. For information on this service, please see Testing Services’ Online Test Submission.
What do I do if my course textbook and/or other learning materials (PowerPoints, Word documents case studies, handouts) are not in an accessible format?
ALS provides qualifying students with accessible versions of their course textbooks. We work collaboratively with publishers to ensure that copyright legislation is adhered to. The process for obtaining and/or creating alternate format textbooks can be quite lengthy and involved. As such, we require as much lead time as possible to ensure that students receive their texts in a timely manner. Faculty can facilitate this process by providing course text information as soon as it is requested.
All other learning materials such as handouts, Powerpoints, and other files provided are to be presented to students in an accessible format. Most commonly, students will require materials in Word or PDF format. If the student requires a more specialized format (e.g., Braille) information will be provided in the comment section of the accommodation letter.
You are encouraged to be mindful when selecting course materials for adoption by ensuring content chosen is accessible from the start. If you need direction in creating accessible documents, please contact The Centre for Teaching & Learning (CTL).