Frequently asked questions about accommodations during online teaching

General question

Q: I received an accommodation letter from the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD), how are accommodations coordinated in my class now that it is in an online or hybrid format? 

A: CSD is available to discuss any concerns you may have about the implementation of approved accommodations in any learning environment. If you have questions about a specific student, please contact the student’s Disability Service Professional (DSP) identified in the accommodations letter. If you have questions regarding the coordination of accommodations in your course, please contact the CSD Accommodations Team at csd@uconn.edu or (860) 486-2020.  CSD encourages students to engage with you to learn more about how the course is designed, how content will be delivered, and how accommodations will be implemented. Some approved accommodations may not be indicated in a course depending on the delivery of the course material and types of assessments conducted. 

Participation flexibility

Q: If a student in my in-person or hybrid course is absent or must be absent due to quarantine or isolation requirements (14 days), how can they make up class participation? 

A: Depending on the timing of the absence and the students ability to complete coursework (i.e.: some students may experience no systems due to COVID, while others may become very ill), following are some options available to you to consider: an alternative assignment in lieu of class participation, such as short answer questions, journal entries, reading responses, answering class discussion questions in written form, allowing the student to complete the same class activity at home/in quarantine; holding a 1:1 virtual meeting with instructor/TA and student, allowing the student to attend another class section/time (if your course is online/hybrid and synchronous and not recorded); recording/lecture capture the in-person activity and post in HuskyCT. (Please note that the technology used in UConn’s classrooms for live streaming has a 90 second delay and the student is not able to communicate with the classroom.)

Note-taking

Q: In the past, students with disabilities have been approved by the CSD to have note-taking assistance – peer note-takers. Is this still needed if my classes are online or hybrid? What can faculty do to support all students in their courses during virtual lectures?

A:  Based on course design and delivery, note-taking assistance may no longer be an accommodation that is indicated for a course. For those courses in which an instructor is delivering a lecture live and virtually, the University and CSD have several technology-based note-taking options available to students, such as Microsoft One-Note, Glean, Otter-AI and others. Many of these technology-based options have a recording component as a built-in feature. Faculty should be aware that they will most likely be recorded, either through audio-only recording or lecture capture options.  Instructors can upload recordings of their lectures to their secure Kaltura accounts and share the video or audio with their students via HuskyCT.

Extended time to complete assignments

Q:  Why might a student with a disability need a deadline extension if they already have the syllabus and are aware of the due dates?  

A: Deadline extensions are for when students are unable to complete or submit their work due to unexpected symptoms related to their disability.  Additionally, a student might require an extension on an assignment due to being quarantined or infected by COVID and they become ill. While faculty are not required to alter the essential elements or the learning outcomes of the course, flexibility in achieving outcomes or alternate opportunities to complete course requirements may be necessary. A student's disability can affect the student's ability to turn in homework, assignments, or projects on the due date outlined in the course syllabus. Students cannot be penalized for submitting work by an alternate due date mutually agreed to by the faculty, student and CSD.  Depending on the timing of the requested deadline extension, following are some options available to you to consider: determine if there is an alternate activity that would provide the same or similar educational experience for the student with an alternate assignment; video record/lecture capture the activity for the student to view and provide an alternate assignment for assessment of learning; or offer the student an Incomplete if the student meets the requirements.

 

Q:  What about assignments that traditionally do not lend to deadline extensions because an activity cannot be re-created or an extension would fundamentally alter the nature of the assignment and learning outcome?

A: Faculty are encouraged to consider alternate arrangements, resources, or assignments that can be offered to students that would achieve the same or a similar learning objective. For example, traditionally first-year English writing courses require a peer review component to be fundamental. If a first-year student must be quarantined and cannot attend class, can the student use the Writing Center for the peer review component? Additionally, many lab courses only allow 1-2 absences with the student making up the labs during the make-up week. Are there virtual, internet based labs available as an alternate to in-person labs what would provide the same or similar learning outcome? Many virtual, internet-based labs have a fee but in response to the pandemic many higher education institutions have created free virtual lab options and made them available for others to use. If faculty are identifying a virtual lab for a student with a disability who is absent from class as a result of an exacerbation of their condition/disability, please contact the CSD to discuss coordination and costs.

Assessments

Q:  If a student misses an exam or quiz, what are some alternate assessments the student can complete in lieu of creating a new exam or quiz? 

A:  Following are some alternatives available to instructors to consider for students who need to complete an alternate make up exam or quiz: short answer questions, journal entries, reading responses, a project, holding a 1:1 virtual Q/A with instructor/TA and student, or a combination of different assignments.

 

Q: If a student in my online or hybrid course is approved for breaks during an exam by the CSD, what should I do? 

A:  If it has been determined that as a result of a student’s condition that they require a “break” during the assessment, CSD will engage with you and the student to determine the length of time for breaks needed for the various types of assessments in your course.  In general, the CSD recommends students with this accommodation receive 15% additional time for each assessment. This should be pro-rated based on the time the class has to work on exams. This accommodation is not to be used for working on the assessment. 

 

Q: If a student in my course is approved to take paper-based exams by the CSD and my exam is scheduled to be administered online, what should I do? 

A: The CSD will engage with you and the student to help determine appropriate coordination of paper-based assessments in your course. The following are some alternatives:

*Instructors can email their assessment to the student with this accommodation and the student can print (if the student has access to a printer) the assessment and scan a completed copy back to the instructor. Most smartphones have this scanning capability, however, be sure to confirm with the student that they have access to a way to return the completed assessment electronically. Once you confirm receipt of the completed assessment, the student can be instructed to delete/destroy any electronic and hard copies of it.

*An instructor, TA, or department member can set up a time in Teams or WebEx to proctor the student taking the paper-based assessment.

*Instructors can create an equitable alternative paper based assessment. Information regarding creation of assessments can be found on CETLs website at: https://ecampus.uconn.edu/keep-teaching-assessment/

 

Q: If a student in my course is approved for extended time on assessments by the CSD, how do I extend the time for an online exam in HuskyCT or ProctorU? 

A:  Instructions for extending time for an exam in HuskyCT can be found at: https://confluence.uconn.edu/ikb/teaching-and-learning/huskyct/instructor-support/giving-quizzes-and-exams-in-huskyct/how-to-accommodate-extra-test-time-and-or-allow-a-different-test-time

 Instructors can submit a request to extend time for a student in ProctorU. Instructions can be found at:

https://support.proctoru.com/hc/en-us/articles/360040703192-How-to-Give-Accommodations-to-Test-Takers

 

Q: Previously, when a student in my course was approved for testing accommodations by the CSD, the Center would administer and proctor my exams for me. Will the CSD be proctoring in-person exams? 

A: Instructors should plan to administer their exams with approved accommodations for students with disabilities along with the rest of the class.  CSD has extremely limited capacity to administer and proctor assessments. The CSD will engage in a case-by-case process with you and your student should a student request that an assessment be administered by the CSD. CSD can only proctor an assessment on an instructor’s behalf as a result of the student’s disability and the extraordinary circumstances that would prevent the student from having access to the assessment if not administered by the CSD.

 

Q: Previously, when a student in my course was approved for testing accommodations by the CSD, the Center would administer and proctor my exams for me. Will the CSD be proctoring online exams either in-person or remotely? 

A: Instructors should plan to administer their exams with approved accommodations for students with disabilities along with the rest of the class online. Faculty can extend time on an exam for a specific student when using HuskyCT, with or without Respondus LockDown Browser or Respondus Monitor.   Instructions for extending time for an exam in HuskyCT can be found at: https://confluence.uconn.edu/ikb/teaching-and-learning/huskyct/instructor-support/giving-quizzes-and-exams-in-huskyct/how-to-accommodate-extra-test-time-and-or-allow-a-different-test-time

 Instructors can submit a request to extend time for a student in ProctorU. Instructions can be found at:

https://support.proctoru.com/hc/en-us/articles/360040703192-How-to-Give-Accommodations-to-Test-Takers. Instructors are encouraged to visit the Faculty Resource page on CSD’s website or contact Lara Smith, Assistant Accommodations Coordinator, at csdexams@uconn.edu with any questions on how to coordinate accommodations for their assessments or discuss proctoring options.

Technology

Q:  What kind of assistive technology might students need to use on exams and how do I communicate this to ProctorU or Respondus Monitor? 

A: Commonly used assistive technology includes screen readers, text-to-speech technology, speech-to-text applications, and magnification. Respondus Lockdown Browser and Monitor are compatible with the frequently used applications listed below. Instructors will need to inform ProctorU ahead of time if any of their students will be using accommodations on their assessment. Instructors can request provision of their students’ testing accommodations through ProctorU here: https://support.proctoru.com/hc/en-us/articles/360040703192-How-to-Give-Accommodations-to-Test-Takers  Visit the Respondus’ website to learn more about accessibility features: http://support.respondus.com/support/index.php?/default_import/Knowledgebase/Article/View/187/19/is-lockdown-browser-accessible-to-those-with-disabilities  

If you have questions about the use of assistive technology for your assessments, please contact the CSDTech team at csdtech@uconn.edu.

Text to Speech technology:

*Read & Write (for Windows):   https://support.texthelp.com/help/using-readwrite-for-windows-with-respondus-lockdown-browser   

Screen Readers:

*VoiceOver  (for Mac)  

*NVDA, JAWS, MS-Windows Narrator (for Windows)

Speech to Text Applications (Dictation):

*Dragon

*Word Dictation (not compatible with Respondus)

Screen Magnification:

*Zoom Text

 

Q: If a student with a disability is approved for and using assistive technology to access content or assessments for my course, who is responsible for setting up the technology for the student?  

A: The CSDTech team works with students directly to provide assistive technology and train students on how to use the technology deployed to them. The CSD provides a variety of technology options to students. For details on assistive technology provided to students, visit the CSD website at: https://csd.uconn.edu/csdtech/ 

Captioning

Q:  I will be recording my lectures. Do I need to caption all my lectures? 

A: The simple answer is maybe. Faculty should consider captioning all videos or podcasts incorporated into their courses. The captioning of videos or podcasts will support many different types of learners in accessing content for your course, not just students who are deaf or hard of hearing.  If you have a student with a disability approved for captioning of lectures, videos, or podcasts, you will receive an accommodation letter from CSD. Please contact CSDTech team at csdcaptioning@uconn.edu for instructions and details on the captioning process for a student with a disability. Faculty who would like to caption their videos/podcasts can do so through Kaltura. Please visit CETL’s website at:  https://confluence.uconn.edu/ikb/teaching-and-learning/recording-technologies/using-kaltura-uconn-s-video-platform/recording-using-kaltura-capture) for details. Additionally, ITS provides captioning services for a minimal fee. Details regarding ITS’s captioning services are available at: https://accessibility.its.uconn.edu/captioning-service/

 

Q: I have videos that I want to present to the class throughout the semester. How do I start the process for getting them captioned? 

A: If you have a student with a disability approved for captioning of videos or podcasts, you will receive an accommodation letter from the CSD. Please contact the CSDTech team at csdcaptioning@uconn.edu for instructions and details on the captioning process for a student with a disability. Faculty who would like to caption any other videos can do so through Kaltura. Please visit  https://confluence.uconn.edu/ikb/teaching-and-learning/recording-technologies/using-kaltura-uconn-s-video-platform/recording-using-kaltura-capture) for details. Additionally, ITS provides captioning services for a minimal fee. Details regarding ITS’s captioning services are available at: https://accessibility.its.uconn.edu/captioning-service/

 

Q: Will I be notified if a student is recording my lectures? 

A: If a student with a disability is approved for the recording of lectures as an accommodation by the CSD, instructors will receive an accommodation letter from the CSD notifying them that recording will occur.

Accessibility

Q: As I am planning my class, is there anything I can do to make my class more accessible for all students? 

A: Universal Design for Instruction (UDI) is framework for approaching equal educational access for students with disabilities and diverse learners.  The fundamental concept behind the UDI construct is to develop the education environment, specifically courses that allow for multiple means of accessing content by students through accessible materials, and demonstrating knowledge of that content by students through flexible, authentic assessments. UConn’s ITS provides resources on how to make all content accessible: https://accessibility.its.uconn.edu/intro-creating-accessible-digital-content/