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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 Disability Services 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.



In general, attendance accommodations will not be applicable with an online course. If you have any scheduled class discussions and a student needs to use their attendance accommodation for that event, 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, it is advised that you contact Disability Services to talk through 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, where Disability Services can 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.


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 the method you use does not have stop time testing, you can provide the student with additional time (i.e. time and a half) if they need to take a break in the middle of the test. 

Use of a memory aid

If students are able to use a memory aid while testing, they will 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, which 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 Disability Services 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.

Tips for Accessibility in an Online Course

The course syllabus should include an accessibility statement for students which outlines ADA procedures.

Present content in as flat a navigational structure as possible. Rather than a multi-level folder-within-a-folder approach, 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.

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 bolding with heading tags (screen readers interpret bolding and heading 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

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 titled (for example) “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.

Designing an Accessible Online Course

We have also included two links below, which will provide further information on designing an accessible course: 

SLU Course Accessibility Checklist

Explore Access: Tools for Promoting Disability Access and Inclusion