- If you move your class online with short notice, be aware that some students may need some time to work with their disability service coordinator and the Assistive Technology and Accessibility Centers (ATAC) to make adjustments to their accommodations. Be flexible and adjust deadlines and strategies to create an inclusive learning environment. Students with diagnoses such as Autism or anxiety may not adjust well to abrupt changes, making flexibility even more important.
- Strive for accessibility over accommodation. You may need to create alternatives if accessibility tools fail. Ask your students with disabilities about the best strategies to support them in your online course. If you have questions about adapting content, assignments, and activities for a student with disabilities, contact your campus office that serves students with disabilities or the Assistive Technology and Accessibility Centers (ATAC) as soon as possible:
- Find your campus services for students with disabilities office’s contact info at https://ada.iu.edu/students/index.shtml
- The ATAC can be reached at atac@iu or 812-650-2897
- As always, students asking for accommodations who do not have accommodation letters should be directed to the campus disability services office to register.
Proctoring, use of a reader, scribe, or alternate media (braille) for exams
- Students with disabilities taking online exams and quizzes should not be required to be proctored at the disability services office or other locations on or off-campus. Faculty are responsible to administer all curriculum and exams and provide maximum flexibility to students with disabilities. If you need assistance with unusual situations, the student’s disability coordinator is available to consult with you.
Extended time and breaks during exams
- Students with disabilities often will have extended time for exams/quizzes as an accommodation. Canvas allows instructors to provide extra time for individual students using the Moderate This Quiz function. For more, review the Canvas guide Once I publish a timed quiz, how can I give my students extra time?
- If a student has breaks during exams as an accommodation, add in their total break time to their exam if there is no way for the student to stop and start the timer. Please contact the disability services office or the coordinator listed on the student's accommodation memo if you or the student have concerns.
Reduced distraction testing locations
- For taking an exam online, students are responsible for finding an environment that works for them. Consider setting up your exam so may be taken over range of time (so it does not have to be taken at a specific time of day). Thus, students in a busy household have an opportunity to take the exam at a time of day when their house is quieter.
Use of Proctoring Software
- Students with disabilities may have issues or concerns around using proctoring software for any number of reasons. Consider developing the exam in a way that would not necessitate proctoring software.
- If you or a student have questions about how notetaking will work for them, contact the disability services office or the coordinator listed on the student's accommodation memo.
- One solution is to provide lecture notes to students when possible.
- Zoom: Students with disabilities should be able to schedule, attend, and participate in Zoom meetings and webinars. For information on accessibility in Zoom, see the Accessibility features in Zoom KB doc.
- Canvas: For information on accessibility in Canvas, see Create accessible Canvas sites in the KB and Student Accommodations in Canvas in the IU A Canvas Semester Checklist Pressbook.
- Canvas pages and Word files are often more accessible than PDF versions of a document, so it is preferred to post Word documents in your course site. The KB had documents on General guidelines for creating accessible documents, how to Make Microsoft documents more accessible, and more accessibility information.
- If you have students with hearing impairments receiving accommodations such as sign language interpretation, CART, etc., contact the disability services office ASAP to discuss any needed accommodation changes. If you are providing lectures via Zoom, live captioning can be arranged; consider recording the lectures, and then uploading them to Kaltura for captioning.
Many students have accommodations for hidden disabilities, often emotional in nature. Most students with mental health challenges have never requested or used accommodations. The uncertainty and change brought on by this situation may bring on new mental health challenges for students. Please note the following:
- Even the best designed online classrooms can be disorienting and lonely for students that are used to face-to-face interactions. This can aggravate pre-existing mental health challenges.
- Anxiety can impact all aspects of attention. Building in extended time for assignments/assessments and redundancy into messaging to students may be helpful.
- Only the student can decide to disclose his or her disability, or to pursue information about services available from disability services.
- If you suspect a student is struggling and might benefit from disability services, engage them in a private, inquiring, and supportive conversation. Do not assume nor ask if they have a non-disclosed disability. Instead, let students know of your concern and that many campus services are available to them (like Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)) and include the disability services office in the list you mention.
- Any student requesting accommodations and has not presented an accommodation memo with those accommodation should be directed to the campus disability services office.
Accommodations for disability related absences
- If the student has an approved disability-related absence agreement, it should be honored, but may need modification due to on-line instruction. If you or students have concerns related to their accommodations for disability related absences, contact the disability services office or the coordinator listed on the student's accommodation memo.