Accommodating Students with Disabilities Online

Online learning raises a number of questions for both faculty and students, particularly to ensure students continue to receive their academic accommodations.

This page cannot provide you everything you need to know in order to face what is coming (or is here!). Rather, we hope that everyone who reads this page will find something useful. Something that they didn’t have before they read it. That’s all we can hope for, and all we can offer.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at the following. (Please note that the phone numbers provided are our temporary work lines as we are off campus during this time.)

Michelle Magnusson

Morganna Malyon

In addition to information on the BU CTLT Moodle site  – enrollment key (“key”), Kwantlen Polytechnic Institute’s Keep Teaching website has great information to assist faculty at this time.

Note: With great thanks, permission to use has been granted.

Course Delivery Accommodations

  • Recording of lectures – consider recording your online lecture and providing the recording for all students. This allows all students to go back and replay portions of your lecture they may need repeated or clarification.
    • Zoom – has a videocapture feature. You could record and provide to all students to ensure access.
  • Captioning (specifically for students with hearing loss) – YouTube has speech recognition technology thatautomatically creates captions for your videos. While the quality of the captions may vary, it is a quick and costfree option. When closed captions are available, you’ll see CC next to the progress bar in the video player (on a web browser).
  • Format – consider that all online materials need to be accessible for all types of students (ie. visually impaired).
    • Text equivalents for everything (ie. image descriptions for photos, graphics, etc.)
    • Avoid images of text!
  • Participation – Please consider relaxing (or eliminating) participation and attendance policies during this time of uncertainty for students.
  • Power Points or lecture notes – provide in advance when delivering an online lecture.

Test/Exam Accommodations

While SAS is still operating to facilitate and ensure accommodations for students, we are not invigilating any in person tests/exams for the remainder of the term in order to ensure the health and safety of staff and students.

  • It is important to let all students know how questions to instructors should be addressed during an online quiz/test/exam (i.e. chat room, texting, phone,etc).

Extra time

  • For students who require additional time to complete tests/exams, you will need to ensure that this time is provided. Some students require time and a half (1.5x) while others are approved for double time (2x). These details can be found in a student’s accommodation letter e-mailed to you from Michelle Magnusson during the term.
  • If you are providing the final exam in Moodle, here are the procedures:
    • To allow more time for students accessing the “Quiz Tool” on Moodle you want to duplicate the first quiz when it is completed. Then you want to add a password to the new quiz in the quiz settings and change the time settings to allow the additional time. You will instruct the students who need the additional time to access only the appropriately labelled second “Quiz” and only give them the password.
    • If you are using the Gradebook to calculate your final mark, you will want to create a “Category” and place the two quizzes in it. Within the Category settings you will specify that Moodle should take the highest grade out of the two quizzes only.
    • Please feel free to contact Glen Gross ( directly with any further questions.
  • It is important to maintain student confidentiality. When creating tests/exams for accommodated students, rather than label “Sally test”, label “Version 2”. Privately send the alternate time or formated version to the individual student.

Breaks During Tests/Exams

  • Breaks from class during exams is an accommodation that may have online, timed implications. A student may have extended time or they may have extended time plus “breaks” or class time plus “breaks”.
  • If the student has breaks during exams, add in their total break time to their exam, if there is no way for the student to stop and start.

Use of Text-to-Speech 

  • For students who require the use of Read & Writing or text-to-speech software, the student will have this software already installed on their computer, however, you must ensure the platform is compatible with Read & Write.
  • Moodle is compatible; we are checking whether Top Hat is compatible.

Use of a Scribe (due to physical limitations)

  • This accommodation will be arranged by the student, faculty member and SAS on an individual basis.

Students Who are Blind or Visually Impaired

  • Please read aloud all text and provide a description of any images used in a live synchronous or recorded asynchronous presentation or lecture (e.g. PowerPoint, videos, webcasts, images, tables, graphs, etc.).
  • Chats and discussion boards are accessible to screen readers. Some students will be using phones and apps which have different access features. Please check in with your students to be sure they are able to use these features and if not consider modifying the mechanism of group communication.
  • Scanned text (articles, textbook pages, etc.) should be clear copies scanned in a straight vertical orientation.
  • As a courtesy all participants in synchronous classes should identify themselves by name prior to speaking.

Students Who are Hearing Impaired

  • When speaking, face students/screen; avoid backlighting and remain in one place.
  • Do not stand in front of a window when speaking as it is difficult for the student to read lips due to light behind the professor.
  • Speak normally; exaggeration makes listening and lip reading difficult.
  • Speak at a reasonable pace, clearly and in a normal tone.·
  • Use or refer students to visuals as much as possible.
  • Signal the beginning of a new train of thought.
  • Summarize important points.
  • Repeat questions and/or answers.
  • Take time after class periodically to make sure the student understands what is going on in class.
  • Sometimes information needs to be rephrased for the student’s understanding rather than repeated only.
  • Use closed captioned videos when possible.
  • Eliminate background noise and other distractions.