Facilitating Accommodations

Syllabus Statement

The University of Florida is committed to providing equal educational access to students with disabilities. As you are developing and/or updating your syllabi for the spring semester, please take a moment to review the university’s Policy on Course Syllabi which specifies the inclusion of the following recommended statement related to accommodations for students with disabilities:

“Students with disabilities requesting accommodations should first register with the UF Disability Resource Center (352.392.8565) by providing appropriate documentation. Once registered, students will receive an accommodation letter which must be presented to the instructor when requesting accommodations. Students with disabilities should follow this procedure as early as possible in the semester.”

A disability syllabus statement serves to open the lines of communication between an instructor and a student by making the student feel included when approaching an instructor regarding accommodation needs and/or disability-related concerns.

Please contact the Disability Resource Center at 352.392.8565 or via email at accessUF@ufsa.ufl.edu if you have any questions.

Instructor Responsibilities

  • Maintain the same standards, including behavioral expectations, for students with disabilities as are applied to all students.
  • Inform all students of procedures for accessing accommodations at the beginning of each semester through a statement in the syllabus.
  • Provide and arrange for accommodations addressed in the accommodation letter in a timely manner.
    • You cannot chose to deny a student’s accommodation as presented in his/her accommodation letter. If you have questions or concerns about the stated accommodations, please contact the staff member listed on the student’s accommodation letter.
    • It is not your responsibility to provide accommodations for students who have not provided an accommodation letter from the DRC nor to provide accommodations retroactively.
    • It is not your responsibility to collect medical documents from students or to provide accommodations that are not presented in a student’s accommodation letter.
  • Meet with students to ensure there is a clear understanding of requested accommodations.
  • Ensure instructional materials are available in accessible formats.

Confidentiality

Any information regarding the specifics of a student’s disability is confidential between the student and the DRC and will not be provided to instructors. Governmental mandates, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) all support the protection of privacy.

Accommodation letters prepared by the Disability Resource Center for instructors do not give specific diagnoses or information regarding the disability. The accommodation letter lists the approved academic accommodations for that student. Instructors should keep this accommodation information confidential and avoid drawing attention to a student’s need for accommodations.

Accommodated Testing

It is possible to design exams and assessments that allow for increased flexibility and decreased need for individual accommodations by using universal design for learning principles. However, when exams pose disability-related barriers, it is essential that appropriate accommodations are made available for students. Such accommodations may be provided through one of several channels.

First, and often preferable, would be for the instructor or department to accommodate students internally. This allows for direct instructor contact and the ability to more directly links the assessment with course operations. If the instructor or department is unable to internally accommodate the needs of the student, the Disability Resource Center (DRC) offers accommodated testing in our office. Examples of testing accommodations include separate or low distraction environments, alternative format testing and assistive technology to meet the needs of our students.

If you have any questions please contact DRC Testing at testing@ufsa.ufl.edu or 352.392.8565.

ATR Instructions

Students have been advised that they must first provide you with their accommodation letter and connect with you to coordinate accommodations before they submit the ATR. This is also an opportunity to discuss how to resolve any potential exam schedule conflicts (e.g. a student with back-to-back classes that may necessitate scheduling the exam for the first class prior to the class exam time).

After a student submits an Accommodated Test Request (ATR), you will receive an email notification instructing you to click on the provided link to review the request. In reviewing the request, you will be prompted to verify course and instructor information, which you may edit, if needed. You will also need to verify the exam date/time. If the exam date/time is correct, please complete the rest of the request providing details concerning authorized exam materials and exam return instructions and click approve. If the student has not discussed with you the coordination of their accommodations or if they entered an incorrect exam date/time, please decline the request. An email will then be sent to the student explaining that they must resubmit the request after the error has been resolved.

You may use the upload function at the bottom of the request to send your exam materials to the DRC testing office. If you do not upload the exam materials to this request, you must provide exam materials to the DRC testing office no later than 3:00pm the business day before the scheduled exam date. Exams not received by the deadline will be cancelled.

A request will expire if not approved or declined at least two (2) business days before the exam date, thereby missing the deadline to schedule the exam with the DRC testing office. Since the student initiated the request in a timely manner, it will be your responsibility to provide the requested testing accommodations.

If a student submits exam requests with conflicting times, the student will receive an email notification advising them to contact each instructor to determine the best course of action to resolve the exam schedule conflict. When the conflict has been resolved, each instructor should send the approved date/time to testing@ufsa.ufl.edu to inform the DRC testing office of the resolution.

A student request to modify an exam (date or time) must be approved and submitted to testing@ufsa.ufl.edu by the instructor not less than two (2) business days before the exam date.

As a reminder, it is an instructor’s responsibility to facilitate accommodations for students with disabilities. The DRC testing office provides proctoring services on your behalf if you cannot facilitate a student’s requested testing accommodations.

If you need assistance completing this request or experience a technical difficulty, please contact the DRC testing office at 352-392-8565 or testing@ufsa.ufl.edu.

Note Services

For many students, having access to quality notes is a fundamental piece of the learning process. For students who face barriers when taking notes during class, a note services accommodation may be requested. Note services allows students to focus on the instructor while still receiving accurate information. This can increase student confidence and provide a greater opportunity for them to participate and contribute in class. In most cases, this service is not intended as a substitute for class attendance or for students taking their own notes, but rather supplements their notes. There are a variety of ways in which note services may be facilitated for students. Examples of these ways, and for additional information about note services, refer to Note Services. If you have questions or would like to learn more about this accommodation, please contact DRC Note Services at NoteService@ufsa.ufl.edu or 352.392.8565.

Auxiliary or Personal Aids

Instructors often ask questions regarding auxiliary aids, tape recording, or personal aids in the classrooms. Due to Section 504, instructors may not forbid a student’s use of an aid if that prohibition limits the student’s participation. This accommodation does not infringe upon academic freedom or constitutes copyright violation. Section 504 regulation states the following:

A recipient may not impose upon handicapped students other rules, such as the prohibition of tape recorders in classrooms or of dog guides in campus buildings, that have the effect of limiting the participation of handicapped students in the recipient’s education program or activity. In order to allow a student with a disability the use of an effective aid and, at the same time, protect the instructor, the institution may require the student to sign an agreement so as not to infringe on a potential copyright or to limit freedom of speech.

Top Hat

“Top Hat is a comprehensive teaching platform that helps professors like you easily create an interactive lecture experience” (TopHat.com – link).Top Hat has several accessibility features built in. It has been tested with screen readers, screen magnifiers, and other visual aid tools for students who are blind or have low vision. For students who benefit from extended time on all in-class timed assessments, Top Hat can be configured to provide as much or as little time as required. Questions can also be assigned to an individual to allow the student extended time without drawing attention to him/her in front of the entire class (directions can be found on Top Hat’s website)

ProctorU

“ProctorU is a live remote proctoring service that allows students to take their exams from anywhere using a webcam and a reliable internet connection” (ProctorU.com – link). ProctorU is able to accommodate students with disabilities by providing the students with DRC approved testing accommodations, such as extra time on exams or the use of a basic 4-function calculator. ProctorU can also waive the rescheduling fee when the reason for rescheduling is disability related. When this occurs, an email needs to be sent to passwords@proctoru.com with the student’s name, exam information, the date and time to reschedule the exam, and the sentence: “This exam is being rescheduled as part of the student’s ADA accommodations.” By stating that this is part of the student’s ADA accommodations, the rescheduling fee will be waived and no other information will be requested regarding the student’s disability. This email has to come from the professor or from a staff member in the DRC.