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Faculty, Staff and TA Resources

Saint Louis University's Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources ensures that students have equal access and opportunity in all coursework. Close collaboration with course instructors is essential to meet this goal. Successful implementation of accommodations is the result of combined efforts by faculty, students, staff and teaching assistants (TAs).

We encourage all faculty, staff, and teaching assistants to connect with our staff to discuss how to implement accommodations and support students with disabilities in their course(s). The Center facilitates academic accommodations for students. Faculty or staff members who need workplace accommodations should contact Human Resources.

Responsibilities of Faculty Members

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 guarantee protection from discrimination and equal access to opportunity for people with disabilities. Faculty members have the responsibility to:

  1. Provide accommodations to students who have approved need
  2. Maintain the privacy of students with disabilities
  3. Give accommodations consistently and in a timely fashion

Disability law does not change your right as a faculty member to:

  1. Set curriculum and assignments for course
  2. Evaluate all students using the same standards
  3. Expect a student to adhere to the policies in the Student Handbook
  4. Question accommodations that might lessen academic standards or the course's integrity
  5. Be informed of accommodations in a timely manner

Accommodation Communication

Faculty can review approved student accommodations through Banner in their course roster. Students are not required to tell faculty the nature of their disability. Faculty are not obligated to arrange accommodations until a student specifically requests it. 

It is necessary that eligible students speak with each instructor individually. This is because eligible students may choose to use accommodations in some, but not all of their classes, or may initially attempt to navigate a class without accommodations.

Our staff reminds students to speak with their instructors at the beginning of each semester or start of a course about their accommodations.

Implementing Academic Accommodations

The sections below provide some general guidance and tips on how to implement accommodations into your course. The Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources is willing to meet with you to discuss accommodations and supporting students with disabilities in your courses.

If a student brings medical documentation to you but does not have approved accommodations in Banner, encourage them to contact the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources.​

Permission to Leave Class
Students with permission to leave class typically have a disability that impacts their ability to remain seated for long periods. They may need to use the restroom, get a drink, remove themselves from a large group or otherwise leave for medical reasons. Please understand that the student does not intend disrespect.
Flexible Deadlines

The flexible deadlines accommodation requires a conversation between the instructor of the course and the student. Together they must establish a mutual agreement in changing, adjusting, altering or extending assignment deadlines or due dates. The main purpose of this conversation is to provide understanding between the instructor and student. We encourage instructors to view the Flexible Attendance and Flexible Deadlines Guidance sheet to assist with this process. 

Our staff encourage students to schedule meetings with their instructors as soon as possible, ideally in the first week of classes,  to discuss these mutual expectations. These mutual expectations are to be documented through the Flexible Deadlines Agreement Form to ensure appropriate communication and to implement the accommodation. This accommodation is not retroactive and can only be applied to assignments and due dates after the agreement form has been completed. 

This accommodation is intended to apply to the student in a supportive capacity. This accommodation does not:

  1. Change the expectations, objectives, goals, or requirements set forth by the instructor and the degree department or program. If the instructor feels that this accommodation would impact these aspects, the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources welcomes conversation about providing different means of support or accommodations in place of flexible deadlines. 
  2. Allow the student to turn in assignments whenever they choose. The agreement between the instructor and the student is to be used as guidance. 
  3. Allow the student to use previous agreements from other courses or instructors and apply it to your course. This accommodation is built to be adjusted per semester as new classes begin. Instructors and students are welcome to use previous agreements if that is a mutual agreement. The agreement form should be updated per course, per semester. 

Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources staff can sit within the meeting to facilitate the conversations if requested. 

Flexible Attendance

The flexible attendance accommodation is similar to the flexible deadlines accommodation, as it is also established through a conversation between the instructor and the student. They work as a team to come to a mutual agreement for course attendance. We encourage instructors to view the Flexible Attendance and Flexible Deadlines Guidance sheet to assist with this process.

The flexible attendance discussion should also include when absences occur for exams, presentations or other important attendance requirements. Students who are absent are still responsible for the work from that class. This accommodation is not retroactive and can only be applied once the agreement form is completed. Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources staff ask that students speak with their instructors regarding this form during your first week of classes. Because its main purpose is to provide understanding among faculty and students, it is designed so that adjusted attendance expectations can be outlined and discussed. These mutual expectations are to be documented through the Flexible Attendance Agreement Form to ensure appropriate communication and to implement the accommodation.

This accommodation is intended to apply to the student in a supportive capacity. This accommodation does not:

  1. Change the expectations, objectives, goals or requirements set forth by the instructor and the degree department or program. If the instructor feels that this accommodation will impact these aspects, Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources welcomes conversation about providing alternate means of support or accommodations.
  2. Allow the student to be absent from class whenever they choose. The agreement between the instructor and the student is to be used as guidance. 
  3. Allow the student to use previous agreements from other courses or instructors and apply it to your course. This accommodation is built to be adjusted per semester as new classes begin. Instructors and students are welcome to use previous agreements if that is a mutual agreement. The agreement form should be updated per course, per semester. 

Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources staff can sit within the meeting to facilitate the conversations if requested.

Allow Use of Memory Aid for Exams

When it comes to memory aids, there are a couple of different components that Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources staff consider when approving the accommodation. Many times, the provision is as a result of processing disorders or Traumatic Brain Injuries. For the implementation of the accommodation, the student will need to speak with their instructor on what may be reasonable within the specific class. In addition, students should provide a created memory aid to their instructor for approval prior to the exam (typically 2-3 days before). 

Working with Memory Aids in the Testing Environment

In order to implement the accommodation successfully, we suggest the following:

  1. Communicate with instructors: Similar to all accommodations, students should request to utilize their accommodation for a memory aid to their instructors (preferably, as soon as possible). Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources staff reminds students to do this during intake appointments. 
  2. Creating Guidelines of Memory Aid: When students and instructors create guidelines, we suggest that the following components are considered:
    1. When should the proposed memory aid be presented so that ample time can be given to consider the words/phrases/terms listed on the sheet? We recommend having students submit the memory aid for review 48-72 hours prior to an exam.
    2. In what format should the memory aid be written (e.g., note card, small piece of paper, typed sheet, etc.)?
    3. Once approved, how will the aid be submitted to the testing center? Some options could be provided with the exam by the instructor, emailed to the testing center, or signed and provided to students. All aids will be returned to the instructor at the conclusion of the exam by the testing center.
  3. Memory Aid Provides Direct Connection: If there is a direct connection between the aid and the exam, then the instructor will have the discretion to revise the document. The two-three day period of submitting the document allows instructors and students the ability to discuss what information is reasonable to have placed on the aid. 

Reasonable v. Unreasonable  

Given the nature of a memory aid, it is understandable that this accommodation may not be reasonable within certain classes. When determining the reasonable nature, accommodations are unreasonable if they will fundamentally alter the objectives or the curriculum of the course.

The use of a memory aid is not a typical resource provided to all students taking a course (regardless of disability). The purpose behind the accommodation is to support deficits with working memory.

Scribes and Readers

If a student is eligible to use a scribe or reader for an exam, the person either writes exactly what the student asks or reads exactly what is written. Neither scribes nor readers supply help during the exam.

Allow Use of a Lecture Recording Device

When a student is approved for allowing the use of a lecture recording device, the student is required to complete a Lecture Recording Agreement Form. This form is used to notify instructors that the student will be using a recording device in their course. This form outlines that the student will only use your class recordings for academic purposes and that you will destroy any recording files at the end of the term. This form was created to ensure that instructors are aware their academic and intellectual property will be protected.

Use of a Volunteer Student Note-Taker

Saint Louis University has a voluntary note taking system. In order to utilize this accommodation, students must first speak to their instructor about needing a note-taker for the class. 

Process

  1. The student with the accommodation makes a request to the professor for a volunteer student note-taker prior to class. The student can discuss with the instructor on how they wish to get the notes and if they want to be connected with the note-taker. Some students like to remain anonymous and some students like working closely with their note takers. Additionally, it's possible for the note taker to bring/send notes to the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources . Those notes will be forwarded to the student.
  2. The instructor will make an anonymous announcement in the class, asking for a volunteer to share their notes with a classmate who needs a copy of a peer’s notes.
  3. Students interested in being a volunteer note taker can approach the instructor. The instructor can let the eligible student know which students have indicated they are interested in volunteering to share notes. The student eligible for accommodations can then connect with the student to exchange notes, if that is desired. 

Key Information

  • It is important to keep the student's name requesting the use of this accommodation confidential.
  • The Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources does inform students that a volunteer note-taker may not be available, or no one volunteers for that task. If no student volunteers come forward, the instructor will communicate that to the student.
  • The Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources also emphasizes that, at times, notes that are given may not be to their particular "liking" and differ from student to student. Students should use the notes as a point of reference to modify their learning style/preference or compare to their own notes. 
Temporary Academic Accommodations

The Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources at Saint Louis University provides temporary academic accommodations for students with temporary illnesses and injuries. The following examples are common temporary illnesses and injuries disclosed through the Center that are given temporarily approved academic accommodations:

  • Bone fractures 
  • Muscle tears/injuries
  • Concussions 
  • Surgery
    • Temporary side effects due to medication 
    • Recovery stage with potential setbacks and/or prolonged conditions 
  • Temporary illnesses such as Infectious Mononucleosis (mono)(only if symptoms are continuous after 3 months from infection)

Temporary academic accommodations are approved for a certain amount of time given the estimated recovery/prognosis of the temporary condition. If the temporary condition/symptoms are continuing beyond what was assigned in previous documentation, new documentation is needed to extend the temporary academic accommodations. 

Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources staff will send notification to the student’s professors about the temporary academic accommodations once they have been approved. It will then be the student’s responsibility to connect and communicate with their professors about the temporary academic accommodations and how they will work in the course. 

Temporary Illness and Injury: A Quick Reference Guide

Academic Accommodations for Online Implementation

Alternate Formats

Alternative Text Format

Alternative Text Format allows for a student to have accessible textbooks, which they can use in a text to speech software. Students should have contacted the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources regarding this request at the beginning of the year. However, if students have additional texts assigned, our office can work to provide the alternative texts.

Caption on Audio/Visual Materials

Zoom has captioning and transcription features. Should you choose to use Zoom for lecture, students will be able to use those tools. However, if you are using another method to deliver your lecture, it is advised that you consider whether a captioning option is available. If in doubt, you can post your lectures on YouTube, which allows for closed captioning.

Describe Visual Materials

If you are using visual aids, during lecture, please be mindful of those who are visually impaired by describing those visual aids in detail. If you are providing visual aid handouts, you could include a description of the visual aid in accessible text. Please make sure that the text is accessible and can be used via screen reader (see our website for further details on this).

All Handouts in Large Print

Materials that are provided to students (i.e. handouts, notes, etc.) should include large print if a student has this accommodation.

Copies of Power Point slides

If you use Power Point slides for lecture, please provide those by posting them to Blackboard or sending them directly to the student with this accommodation.

Attendance

In general, attendance accommodations will not be applicable with an online course. If a student needs to use attendance accommodations for any scheduled class discussions, please refer to the attendance agreement that you made with the student at the beginning of the semester.

In-Class Accommodations

In-class Assignments Support

It is advisable that you continue to offer “office hours” via online if that is feasible for you. Since you will not be in class to provide clarification to students, perhaps you can schedule Zoom appointments or office hours that allow for discussions regarding the class material.

Flexible Deadlines on Assignments

Flexible deadlines on assignments can be implemented as it has historically. If you have agreements with a student regarding flexible deadlines, it is advised that you continue to use that agreement when arranging for extensions.

Please keep in mind that students should be discussing their needs for extensions in advance of an assignment’s initial due date. 

Use of CART Captioning

Captioning is available on Zoom. It is advised that you use Zoom for lecture delivery, as it is accessible for students with visual and hearing impairments.

Use of ASL Interpreting

If you plan to use Zoom to capture live lecture, please invite interpreters to your Zoom meeting. This will allow interpreters to sign while you are delivering the lecture.

If you are using other methods of lecture delivery/class discussion, we advise that you contact the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources to discuss options for using an interpreter.

Use of a Student Note-Taker

Volunteer student note-takers can continue to send a copy of their notes to ds_notes@slu.edu. This allows the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources to retrieve the notes and send them to the student with this accommodation.

If the volunteer student note-taker cannot provide the notes, it is advised that the professor provide a copy of their lecture notes, if available.

Testing

Allow Breaks During Exams

Depending on the method used to facilitate tests, you might have the ability to use stop time testing for students with this accommodation. If your testing method does not have stop time testing, you can provide the student with additional time (i.e. time and a half). This could allow for a break in the middle of the test.

Use of a Memory Aid

If students may use a memory aid while testing, they still need to create the aid and send it to their instructor at least 72 hours prior to the test. The instructor can then review the memory aid and make any necessary edits. To ensure that the student has not added any additional information, the professor can sign the aid and ask that the student turn it in with their test.

Use of Equation Sheet for Exams

Please refer to the memory aid accommodation for information on how to implement this accommodation.

Use of Paper-Based Exams

Paper-based exams might not be a reasonable accommodation in an online course. It is advised that the instructor talk with the student ahead of time to talk through any concerns about taking a test electronically. If there are any existing alternative solutions (i.e. use of a scratch paper to write down thoughts), please consider implementing them.

Use of a Reader for Exams

It is advised that instructors determine whether screen reading is available via the test delivery method chosen. If so, the student can use that feature.

If screen reading is not available, instructors can provide students with a Word copy of the exam. This will allow the student to use Microsoft Word’s text to speech software, while taking the test online.

 Use of a Scribe for Exams
 Please contact the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources for more information regarding this accommodation if needed. 
Time Extensions on Exams
Most test delivery methods will allow for time extensions. Please determine how to extend time on tests using your selected methods. 

Designing an Accessible Online Course

The course syllabus should include an accessibility statement for students which outlines ADA procedures. Strategies that maximize accessibility include:

  1. Present content in as flat a navigational structure as possible. Avoid a multi-level folder-within-a-folder approach. Instead, present all course content in a single, scrollable file, tagged (via HTML or PDF) to tell screen readers the precise order in which text should be translated. At the very least, reduce the number of clicks required to “drill down” to course content to two or three.
  2. Use clear, consistent layouts.
    1. Use large fonts on plain backgrounds. Sans Sarif is recommended.
    2. Use color combinations that are high contrast for those who have visual impairments.
    3. Use descriptive wording for hyperlink text
    4. Spell out terms, rather than writing in acronyms or jargon.
    5. Use numbered lists whenever possible and replace bold text with heading tags (screen readers interpret bold text and headings differently).
    6. Cut extraneous material. Screen readers give the same presentational weight to long-winded, repetitious material and critical course concepts. Make sure every paragraph, image, activity and video clip you add to an online course contributes directly to your course’s stated learning objectives.
    7. Uniquely identify and annotate all figures and illustrations.
  3. Present content in multiple ways.
    1. When using PDF, make sure the text can be copied and pasted.
    2. Provide text descriptions of content presented in images.
      Caption or transcribe audio content (Zoom has these features).
      Provide different options for communication in order to maintain accessibility for students with disabilities.
    3. Chunk videos (and name the chunks). Instead of a 50-minute video called “Week 12 video,” create and link to two 20-minute videos. Descriptive example titles might be, “Structure and Function of the Integumentary System (19:56)” and “Alterations in the Integument (20:11).”
    4. Tables and charts need to have identifying headers and labels as well as summaries.

Suggested links to provide further information on designing an accessible course:

Explore Access: Tools for Promoting Disability Access and Inclusion

SLU Course Accessibility Checklist

Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning

The Reinert Center works with instructors and academic units at SLU to promote accessible and inclusive courses for all students. It can help educators respond to accommodation needs, design more accessible courses, incorporate more inclusive teaching and assessment methods, and consider the accessibility implications of teaching with technology. Useful practices for inclusive teaching through an accessible and universal design lens can be found through their Inclusive Teaching resources. 

Online Virtual Library

To further provide support to faculty, staff, and teaching assistants, we encourage those to explore our online virtual library. This library may help provide guidance, create ideas, share research findings, and give general information about supporting college students with disabilities. There are also links to research articles on the topic of disability in higher education through academic research.

Common Accommodation Questions

Why am I receiving communication from the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources about mid-semester accommodations?

Instructors should be aware that students may request accommodations at any point in the semester. If a student contacts you mid-semester, follow the same process for accommodations that is used at any other time. Accommodations are necessary as soon as the student discusses the desire to use them.

Some students attempt to meet the standards of the class without accommodations. If the student decides accommodations are necessary, he or she will then approach faculty members. Additionally, some students may be diagnosed or otherwise not report their disability to  until midway through the semester.

Accommodations are not retroactive. The student may not redo past exams or assignments.

A student sent medical documentation to me directly, but this student does not have any accommodations listed. What should I do?

If a student brings medical documentation to you but does not have approved accommodations in Banner, encourage them to contact the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources.

The student should be informed that faculty are willing to work with any academic accommodations that are approved by the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources. However, faculty and staff do not determine eligibility for accommodations. Please do not accept medical documentation or request to implement desired accommodations.

Can students without accommodations utilize the testing centers?

Yes. The testing centers are available to students who need to reschedule their exams due to unforeseen circumstances, including:

  1. Emergencies
  2. Illness
  3. Scheduling conflicts
  4. Athletic events/commitments
  5. Other prior agreements with their instructor

The student and the instructor should complete the Rescheduled Exam Request (RER) Form and submit to the appropriate testing center location. This form can be found on our Testing Centers page.

Will a student disclose their disability or diagnosis? 
Students are not required to tell faculty the nature of their disability. However, this is up to the student’s discretion. 


Students have the right to keep this information private. If a student is asked about their disability in an inappropriate manner, it may be considered discriminatory. We suggest asking the student how they best learn and if there is anything you can reasonably do to support the student. If they choose, the student may be able to provide information on the functional impact of their disability. The answers should help support work with the student.

Instructors are only required to be informed that a student is registered through the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources and is approved for the accommodations outlined in Banner. For clarification about the student's approved accommodations or guidance as to whether a question is appropriate to ask, contact the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources.

 I noticed a student on my class list has approved accommodations, but I have not heard from this student about discussing their accommodations. Do I incorporate the accommodations anyway?

Faculty are not obligated to arrange accommodations until a student specifically requests it.

Some eligible students may choose to use accommodations in some, but not all of their classes, or may initially attempt to navigate a class without accommodations. It is necessary that they speak with each instructor individually. 

 Do exam/test accommodations apply to pop quizzes and/or labs?
 Although a majority of students use testing accommodations for course exams, accommodations may still apply to pop quizzes, and in some circumstances, lab work. If students anticipate a need for accommodations for pop quizzes or labs, they will need to make arrangements with their instructor ahead of time.


Some accommodation options for pop quizzes may be:

  1. To offer extended time to the whole class
  2. To give the quiz at the end of class and allow students with extended time to stay after
  3. To give the student access to a computer to compose answers to essay questions for lab requirements.
 How do I view approved accommodations for my enlisted students?

Approved accommodations for students are visible via Banner within an instructor's course roster.

To access Internet Native Banner:

  1. Go to MySLU and select the “Tools” tab.
  2. Click "Internet Native Banner."
  3. To sign in, use the same username and password that are used for MySLU. Typically, the "database" field is left blank.
  4. Within Internet Native Banner, open the class roster. Any student with an approved academic accommodation will have an asterisk next to his or her name.
  5. Click the student's name to see a column that lists any accommodations.

Within Banner Self-Service:

  1. Click the “Faculty Services” tab.
  2. Select “Class List: Summary” to view each roster. The far column indicates whether a student receives accommodations; click to review the accommodations.

If you have questions about accommodations for a specific student, contact the Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources.