Everything Looks Different Online, Including Disability Accommodations

Thursday, July 30, 2020

A Message from Deborah Larew, Director, Students with Disabilities

The Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) has received a lot of questions concerning how accommodations might be different in the online environment compared to the face-to-face environment. Most accommodations will look the same; however, there are a few differences.

Accommodations such as additional time for testing should be easy to implement in the online environment. Professors can simply extend the time allotted for timed assessments in Canvas owhatever management tool they are using to provide the test. More information on how to do this is provided in our faculty resources guide on the Office of Students with Disabilities (OSD) webpage.

Another accommodation that should be easy to implement is the use of the four-function calculator during math assessments. When using Honorlock, before the test begins, the professor needs to explain that the student must display the calculator during the first part of the recording.

The use of closed-captioned videos for all videos uploaded in Canvas should also be easy to implement. This includes videos from YouTube or other websites. Additional resources are available to help you ensure that your Canvas course is fully accessible including the closed-captioned videos. More information can be found at Canvas Help or from Circles of Innovation.

Other accommodations may be applicable in certain classes and not in others. For example, if you are using the Real-time Virtual (RTV) modality and you have a deaf or hard of hearing student in your course, an interpreter or captionist may be needed in your class sessions. Also, if you are teaching an RTV course, it will be beneficial to record your class sessions for all students, including those students with the accommodation of audio recording.

OSD has recently purchased a subscription to Note Taking Express. This is a note-taking service where students are able to upload an audio or video file of their class and within 48 hours they are provided with detailed notes. This is another reason why it is beneficial for professors to have lectures and other information recorded and saved into their Canvas course. For more information on accessibility online, please visit the Centers for Teaching/Learning Innovation.

There are some accommodations that are not applicable in the online environment. These may include seating near the front door exit of the room, use of the testing center, accessible furniture, use of service animals, wheelchair desks, etc. If there is an accommodation listed that describes the physical nature of the course or classroom, it is likely that is not applicable in the online environment. If you are unsure about the applicability of an accommodation in an online environment, please reach out to the OSD.

You may also see some accommodations that will provide you with information but may not be necessarily implemented online. For example, the use of the distraction-reduced exam room is not applicable in the online environment; however it does let the professor know that these students need to be tested in a distraction-reduced remote environment. Therefore, if the professor is using the Honorlock proctoring system, he or she may want to be aware that this could provide some insight into a student’s behavior — for example: the student may fidget, stare off into space or move around frequently.

These behaviors may cause the student to be flagged by the Honorlock system but are common due to their disability. This may also be applicable for the accommodation of frequent breaks. OSD advisors strongly encourage students to discuss these types of accommodations with their professors when they are using the Honorlock proctoring system. This will help professors to be better aware of their students’ individual needs and accommodations to ensure access to their course and assessments. Please address any issues or concerns with Honorlock with our Assessment Team by emailing assessment@valenciacollege.edu.

The OSD strives to partner with faculty to do what is best for our students. Please reach out to your OSD team with any questions or concerns. We applaud your willingness to create accessible classrooms for all students and want to support you in that process.


  • Karen Cowden said:

    Thank you for the great tips and reminders, Deborah.

    PMThu, 30 Jul 2020 22:27:03 +0000Thu, 30 Jul 2020 22:27:03 +0000pm20,10:27 pm

  • Deborah Larew said:

    Can't take all the credit for this article! Rachel Schwitters and Nikkia Gumbs and the whole team built it! OSD is happy to partner with Faculty.

    AMFri, 31 Jul 2020 09:49:54 +0000Fri, 31 Jul 2020 09:49:54 +0000am20,9:49 am

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