Your Questions Answered with Accessibility Services

Whitney Horton & Jen Herr
Director & Assistant Director, Accessibility Services

Currently, we have over 550 students affiliated with Accessibility Services and that number continues to grow. You may be very familiar with our processes or you may receive your first accommodation letter tomorrow. Either way, it is likely that you will have students with accommodations in your classes. When it comes to accommodations and the services provided by Accessibility Services, we are asked thoughtful questions by faculty and we wanted to share the answers more broadly.

General Questions

Is there a better way to keep track of my students with accommodations?

keysWe are very excited to roll out the ability for faculty to login to our online portal called Accommodate. By logging into Accommodate, you can see your whole class roster which includes the accommodations listed next to the students, see who the note-taker is in your class and the notes they upload (if that is applicable to your class), upload future exams and see all of your exam requests in one place!

A user guide is available within the Resources tab with step-by-step instructions. Login here using your Rollins credentials.

What if an accommodation is in conflict with the pedagogy and learning outcomes of my class?

Accommodations are approved based on a student’s diagnosis to best meet their need to equally access the educational environment. They are approved generally – not with individual classes in mind. If you believe one of the accommodations poses a fundamental alteration (meaning, they are in direct conflict with the course learning objectives), faculty are always welcome to engage a conversation with Accessibility Services to discuss that accommodation in more detail.

My student hasn’t come to talk with me about their letter. Should I reach out to them?

When we have our initial meeting with a student, we talk to them about self-advocacy and going to talk to their professor about their accommodation letter. We send their letters out for them to make sure that you are informed of their accommodations as soon as they are in place, but our hope is that they do come talk to you about it as well. A common theme that we’ve heard from students about why they may not initially reach out to their professors about their accommodations is that they may be nervous because they don’t want you to think less of them or they have experienced negative reactions in the past. Keeping that in mind, we’ve seen positive outcomes when faculty reply to the accommodation letter via email to open the lines of communication.

Why did I get an accommodation letter so late into the semester?

Students have the ability to request new accommodations or renew their current accommodations at any time, which is why you may receive an accommodation letter about one of your students at any point throughout the semester. One important thing to note is that accommodations are not retroactive. So as an example, if you receive a letter in November that has “Modified Attendance Accommodation” listed, absences prior to that point are not automatically excused.

My student is asking for an accommodation that is not on their accommodation letter. What should I do?

If your student is requesting additional accommodations from you that are not outlined in their accommodation letter, that is up to your discretion. If you ever have questions or concerns about a student’s request that may seem outside of what is listed in their accommodation letter, please contact us and we would be happy to talk through it with you.

Accommodation-Specific Questions

I’m not comfortable with a student recording my class. Are there any times I can say not to record?

Students with disabilities may record the audio of class lectures, as an accommodation, if they have a disability that significantly impacts their ability to independently take notes (which is permitted via Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act). Each student that is approved for a note-taking accommodation using recording technology signs a Recording Agreement that outlines their responsibilities. If you would like to see the full Recording Agreement, we can share it with you via email. You do have the ability to ask for any recording to stop if what is being discussed in class will not be assessed on an assignment or exam. For example, if you are engaging in a sensitive discussion that is occurring to aid in the learning of the material but nothing from that discussion will be on an exam, you can ask students to stop recording.

I have a “no-technology” policy in my class. How do I address students that have the accommodation to use computers in class?

The first thing to keep in mind is that the accommodation to use a computer in class is approved based on a student’s diagnosis. While we certainly understand the distractions that technology can cause, we do want all students to be able to equally access the classroom environment. One example could be that a student has dysgraphia (something you may not be able to notice by observation) so having access to type their notes would be the only option for them to accurately capture the lesson. One caveat to keep in mind is that, similarly to recording, if there are discussions or lectures that will not be assessed, you can ask for all students not to use technology. Secondly, if you notice that the student with the accommodation is using their technology inappropriately (browsing the internet, checking email, etc.), we can help to address that behavior and determine whether their accommodation needs to be adjusted if they are unable to focus while using technology.

My advisee told me they have an accommodation for a foreign language course substitution. Is that accurate?

If a student has been approved for a foreign language course substitution, it will be noted in their Degree Works. If you do not see it notated in their Degree Works, please contact Accessibility Services to confirm. It is important that students either begin the language course progression or seek the foreign language course substitution early in their career in case they need time to seek the proper documentation.

Is my help needed in the note-taker recruitment process?

Accessibility Services will facilitate the note-taker recruitment process from start to finish. We may reach out to you if we have not heard back from any of the students in your class. If you are interested in knowing who the note taker is in your class, that information can be found on Accommodate. Please keep in mind that partnership is anonymous so the note-taker should not know who the note-receiver is, and vice versa.

Exam Questions

Why do I get so many emails for exam requests?

We recognize that you receive several exam request emails, especially when you have multiple students with accommodations in your class. It is the student’s responsibility to decide which quizzes and tests they would like to take using their accommodations. For that reason, the students place a request for each quiz/test they would like to take using their accommodations. When a student places their exam request, that email is generated automatically and sent directly to you (which is why you may receive some in the middle of the night!). You will receive an automated reminder email 24 hours in advance of your student’s exam. Feel free to ignore that reminder email if we already have everything we need from you for the exam.

My student has double-time as their extended time accommodation. Is that accurate?

The standard extended time is now time-and-a-half, unless otherwise stated in the student’s medical documentation. It is likely that you will see a combination of both time-and-a-half and double-time. The accommodation listed in the student’s letter is accurate to what is needed based on their documentation.

Is my exam secure?

The Director, Assistant Director, and two graduate-level Coordinators are the only staff members with access to Before and after your exams are administered, they are locked in our filing cabinet until you, or a representative from your department, pick them up or until you give us permission to shred them.

If these questions spurred new questions or left you with any unanswered questions, please contact us at (407)975-6463 or We hope for smooth sailing for the rest of the semester and good luck with finals!

Image credit: Linus Bohman