Approximately 14% of students on campus currently reports a documented disability that requires a classroom accommodation.  There might be many more students who have not reported to the office.  As a result, it is appropriate to use Universal Design whenever possible to increase access for all students.  Many things used for accommodations (captioning  of films) helps students with slightly weak hearing, sitting by a loud vent or window, or who have attention issues. Many students benefit from hearing material as well as reading it, so having your PDF articles scanned as OCR allow any student to have them read out loud by software.

Accommodations do not give some students an unfair advantage over other students. They  simply level the playing field so the student has full access to lectures, books and to sharing what they have learned.  We call this access.   We do not accommodate for success, so the student's level of success is still up to them, just as it is with any other student.  

FAQs related to providing disability accommodations in your class.

Before your course begins

1. Is statement regarding disabilities on my syllabus?  

"Cornell College makes reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities.  Students should notify the Coordinator of Disability Services and their course instructor of any disability related accommodations within the first three days of the term for which the accommodations are required.  For more information on the documentation required to establish the need for accommodations and the process of requesting the accommodations, see Disability Services on the Cornell website."

Be aware that while we ask students to let us know about accommodations in first 3 days of each block,  the student may ask for accommodations at any point.  However,  accommodations are never applied retroactively. 

2.  Are all articles scanned and posted on Moodle in OCR pdf format?  If not, contact the Coordinator of Disability Studies for information on trainings or assistance with difficult items.

3.  Are chosen textbooks available in digital format from publisher? If you have a choice between two textbooks, please ask the publisher if it is available in PDF and choose the one that is. This saves time and expense for the college.

4.  Are all videos or films to be used in the class captioned?  If not, work with Academic Technology Studio to get them captioned or look for an alternative that is captioned.  


Note takers:  Ask the class if anyone would volunteer to share their notes with a student in class who has a disability (do not name or indicate student) or observe students taking notes the first day and tap someone on the shoulder and make the request.  Provide the note takers name to the Coordinator of Disability Services to facilitate the process.

Your Outline or Notes:  You may share your powerpoints in advance or share your personal outline notes if they are able to be read clearly.  We ask that you have these to the student before class starts so they can read through them and/or print them off to use as outline.   The student will not share these notes with other people outside of the class.

Recording the Class:  Students might record using a smart pen, a recorder on their tablet or smartphone, or other device.   If there is sensitive material or discussion in the class that you would rather not have recorded, you may ask all students to put down their pens, shut their laptops or stop recording.  If you are allowing others to take notes, then the student with recording accommodation should be allowed to record as well.  You have the right to have the student sign a privacy statement that they will not post the recording online and will not share with anyone outside of class or that they will destroy it after the course ends (this form is available from the Coordinator of Disability Services). 

Laptop or Tablet in Class:  This accommodation allows students to use technology in the classroom for note taking purposes. 

Extra Time on Tests:   A common accommodation is extra time on tests. This accommodation includes quizzes. 150% (1.5) or 200% (2.0) is common.  This time needs to be in relation to the time given other students, not the time you feel the test "should" take.   If you give other students 4 hours to complete a test that should take 2 hours, you are giving them extra time to simply review the test or take a nap in the middle.  Therefore, this student still need the 4 hours to do the test and extra time to review it or take a nap as well.    You have some flexibility with how the time is given: you may have the student come early so that they end at same time as others or you may have them stay late.  If you can't stay late, you may have the student take the test in the library or find a proctor to supervise the test.    

Reduced-Distraction Testing Space:  Before booking a student to test in the library, please check your building for a nearby empty classroom or office. If there is not a space available, you may reserve a testing space in the library. Tests in the library are not proctored, and are only for students with accommodations.  

Service Dogs in the classroom:  If a student brings a service dog to the classroom without warning, you are allowed to ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. 

Service dogs are working animals and as such should not be touched or interacted with unless the handler has given permission. Any questions or concerns should be directed to the Coordinator of Disability Services.

Absences Due to Disability:  Some disabilities make it hard to be in class every single day.  The student should ideally notify faculty at start of course if this might be a problem.  If the absence is due to necessary doctor appointments, the student should notify faculty in advance of appointment and there should be a plan about making up work.  If the absence is unexpected, the student should contact the faculty member as soon as possible.  The student is responsible for making up any work that happened during that day, getting notes from another student and should stay in contact with faculty member.  The faculty member should not count off "attendance" points.  The faculty member should not count off for participation.  Given that Cornell College courses are highly interactive and the presence of each student matters, it is understood that if the student misses a great number of class periods, it may be advisable for that student to take a WH instead of completing the course for a grade.   Students are expected to do everything in their power to schedule appointments outside of class hours, to get adequate sleep, to work ahead when possible to avoid late assignments, and to keep track of their medicine so that complications do not cause absences.  An absence should be last resort.