Students are issued a range of accommodations based on their documented disabilities and CSD staff observations in their direct work with students. Students access their accommodations at their discretion during the term and may select just some of them for your particular class.
In fulfilling accommodation needs, CSD staff work collaboratively with faculty, staff and students. Faculty and staff should readily consult with CSD staff to discuss strategies for facilitating accommodations as well as effective instructional strategies with students. Following is information to assist your understanding of key accommodations that students may utilize during the term.
Extended Time and Distraction-free Environment for Testing-taking
- CSD will proctor exams for students requesting to use their accommodations for extended test time and exams taken in a separate distraction-free environment.
Students usually take their exams in the CSD office (Lincoln Park or Loop) that is the same campus at which the class takes place. However, we employ a flexible approach to the exam location as special circumstances may preclude that the student takes the exam in the CSD office not located on the same campus as the class location.
- If you do not receive an email alert that a student has scheduled an exam in the CSD office, expect the student to take the exam in class with no extended time accommodation.
- A student may choose to not use their extended test time accommodation in your class, but may do so in another class based on the differing class instructional and/or assessment format. Sometimes students may only take a final exam in the CSD office as the extended length of final exams may negatively impact their disabilities.
- Submit exams to CSD at least two days in advance or sooner enabling staff to enter the exam in our tracking system and have ample time to prepare. CSD proctors some 2,000 exams annually and same day exam submissions are very difficult to process causing delays and backups when students come to take exams at scheduled times.
Assistance with Note-taking
- Multi-tasking activities of listening to verbal content, deciding key information and writing notes about that content are very difficult for particular disabilities. CSD does not hire note-takers. To assist these learning challenges, key accommodations that may be issued to students are:
- Recording class lectures and discussions. Students may use a tape/digital recorder, Smartpen (records as student writes) or record from their laptops. Students are instructed not to share or distribute the recording and to discard material once a grade is received; a signed agreement by the student is available through CSD by faculty request, if desired.
- Use of laptops in class for taking notes. Students are instructed that laptops are for note-taking only during class or other uses directed by the instructor, not for non-academic activities.
- Volunteer student note-taker. Students may request the professor's assistance in soliciting a volunteer student note-taker in class. This request should be handled confidentially between the student and the professor. The volunteer student may be given a notebook with carbonless paper to take notes or may send the professor computer typed notes for the professor to send on to the student. Click this link to see an example of an announcement to the class that professors may use to help facilitate this accommodation.
It may be appropriate for a student to use adaptive equipment in the classroom, e.g., CCTV, for low vision/legally blind students. Equipment may be independently used at the student's desk or may be placed strategically in the classroom; instructors may also be requested to wear a microphone. In the latter case, CSD staff will set up the equipment before class and remove it at the conclusion. For night classes, CSD is not available to remove equipment at the conclusion of the class, and we ask that you leave it in place for pick up the next morning as this equipment is vulnerable to breakage and expensive to replace. Click this link to learn about types of adaptive equipment that may be used in the classroom.
CSD provides a free loan program of assistive technology for students to support their reading, writing and note-taking. Some of this technology is visible in the classroom; others are not or used out of class. Faculty knowledge of this technology is important for both the professor and the student to ensure appropriate access to accommodations. Click this link to see a listing of types of assistive technology and uses in and out of the classroom.
Access to Materials in Alternate Format
CSD works closely with textbook publishers, Learning Ally (formerly Recordings for the Blind & Dyslexic) and other companies to convert printed text to audio files, braille print, CDs and other alternate formatted materials. Some students may need class materials in alternate format, and CSD collaborates with faculty to obtain those text materials needing conversion. This need may be at the onset of the term as well as handouts and exams throughout the term.
Sign Language Interpreters and Voice-to-Text Transcription
CSD provides deaf and hard-of-hearing students lecture/discussion content in the mode of communication that allows the student equal access to that information. This may include sign language interpretation or real-time captioning (CART), both requiring a contracted person in class to work alongside the student as well as equipment set up to facilitate the accommodation. CSD staff will collaborate with faculty to establish the best placement for implementing this accommodation. Click this link to learn about types of adaptive equipment that may be used in the classroom.
Field trips and other out of class activities are also supported for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Please advise CSD at the beginning of the term of planned activities out of the classroom that may require sign language interpretation or other support. Arrangements for this accommodation take several weeks, so CSD needs to know of these activities as soon as possible.
Contact CSD for Special Needs Information
If this accommodation is listed for a student in your class, please contact CSD early in the term to discuss important information and strategies to assist your work with the student.