Common Academic Accommodations for Faculty Reference

Below is information for common academic accommodations that may be relevant to faculty. (For a full list of possible accommodations, please see the Types of Accommodations page in the Students section.) This list is not exhaustive.

Accommodation Letters

Students who have approved accommodations and who are eligible for academic accommodations will receive an electronic accommodation letter each semester. Students are responsible for providing faculty with this letter. If you receive requests for academic accommodations, you should require that students provide you with an accommodation letter prior to the implementation of accommodations. Students will receive electronic accommodation letters each semester, but you may request paper letters as they were delivered in the past.

Notetaking Assistance

SAS may approve eligible students to record lectures in conjunction with notetaking technologies we offer. Any student who is approved to record lectures will have this accommodation on their accommodation letter, and will also provide faculty with a signed Lecture Recording Agreement, outlining their responsibilities. Recordings are never allowed to be shared and students are required to delete recordings after the semester ends.

In rare cases, SAS may hire notetakers for eligible students as an accommodation. There may be times when we need faculty help in identifying possible notetakers, in which case, we would kindly request that you make an announcement to the class or recommend specific students for the role. If we need your help, we will forward you verbiage for an announcement.

Course Materials

Whenever possible, please provide course materials in an accessible format. The SAS SWAT Team will coordinate the conversion of inaccessible materials for students with approved accommodations.

You can check the accessibility of your course materials by consulting the tool Ally, which is installed in your Canvas course site. For more information about this tool you can consult the Canvas instructor guidance for using Ally help page or email

Most common accessibility concepts to keep in mind:  

  1. Word docs are generally more accessible than a PDF  
  2. Always use original articles or electronic versions of books instead of taking/scanning a picture of a page
  3. Captions are required for all videos used in your classroom!

For more information, please see these pages:

Testing Accommodations

Testing accommodations provide access to timed assessments, like exams and quizzes, for students whose disability affects their ability to take exams. Accommodations allow students with disabilities to participate and demonstrate knowledge equitably on exams. Testing accommodations can be facilitated by the faculty member, academic department, or through the SAS office. (Please note that students should provide letters to faculty from SAS outlining their approved accommodations.)

To learn about how SAS can facilitate exams, please review our Information for Faculty Regarding Testing Accommodations page.

Students eligible for testing accommodations should receive testing environments comparable to traditional ones: limited interruptions, appropriate lighting, proper writing space, etc. While accommodations are provided for disability-related needs, faculty are not expected to lower academic standards or alter essential course requirements.

There are a variety of appropriate testing accommodations dependent on the functional impact of a disability and the nature of coursework. Below are descriptions of the most common testing accommodations.

  • Distraction-Limited Environment
    A distraction-limited environment means that the testing environment is an area that provides a reasonably quiet and a limited stimulus setting. Complete privacy and silence are not required; students approved for this accommodation may take tests in a space with other students. The setting must allow a student to take their test with limited interruptions and in one sitting. To aid in limiting distractions, SAS can provide noise blocking headsets.
    Examples: conference room, office, reserved classroom or lounge space.
  • Semi-Private Testing
    A semi-private testing area means that the testing environment is distraction-limited and allows the student to be among only a handful of other students.
  • Private Testing
    A private testing area means that the testing environment is for one student to complete an exam alone with no other students.
  • Extension of Time for Exams/Quizzes/Timed Assessments
    Extension of time provides an additional allotted amount of time on tests or quizzes that is to be added on to a single session of testing. Typical recommendations are for time and a half; on rare occasions double time is given but must be supported by medical documentation. Extension of time refers to tests, quizzes, midterms, finals, online exams, and pop quizzes. For take-home exams, a student may receive extra time if it is appropriate depending on the duration and nature of the exam.
  • Accessible Testing Space and Accessible Seating
    Students may need seating nearest a door, in the front row, in a wheelchair accessible desk, and/or in a building that is accessible.
  • Alternate Format of Printed Text
    Converting printed text to an accessible format depending on the disability-related need: readable by text-to-speech software, large print, Braille, etc.
  • Speech-to-Text Services
    Dictation software that allows students to use speech recognition to type exams.
  • Text-to-Speech Services
    Speech output software that reads accessible, printed material aloud.
  • Permission to Use a Computer
    This accommodation can be for students who type essay exams or use technology, such as: print enlargement, text-to-speech software, speech recognition, or a spell-check program. SAS can loan laptops to students with this accommodation. These laptops allow a student to key an exam in a secure environment without access to the internet.
  • Paper Exams
    Paper exams may replace exams administered online in Canvas, on iPads, or other electronic formats as an accommodation.
  • Scratch Paper During Exams
    This accommodation refers to students being given extra, blank paper during exams.