Faculty FAQs

General Accommodations Questions

Do I need to put anything in my syllabus regarding students receiving accommodations?

Yes. Please include the statement below in your syllabus for each class:

"Students seeking academic accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act must register with the Center for Accessibility Services (CAS) to determine eligibility. Students qualified for academic accommodations will receive accommodation letters and should meet with each course professor during office hours, to review and discuss accommodations.  To begin the registration process, complete a Student Registration Form and submit documentation to PO Box 6902, Radford, Virginia 24142, or deliver to the Russell Hall, Room 325, by fax to 540-831-6525, or by email to cas@radford.edu (See documentation guidelines).  For more information, visit the Center for Accessibility Services (CAS) website or call 540-831-6350."

How does a student become eligible to receive services through the Center for Accessibility Services (CAS)?

Any student seeking academic accommodations through the Center for Accessibility Services will need to meet with a Disability Services Specialist and submit the necessary documentation. This documentation will be used to determine eligibility and the student will be involved in an interactive process to determine accommodations that best fit for the student’s academic needs.

What are reasonable accommodations?

Accommodations are modifications which are in place to provide the student with the disability an equal opportunity in the academic setting.  No accommodation may violate a technical standard of a course or a program. 

What do I do if I suspect the student may have some barriers to learning but has not handed me paper work to identify themselves as someone who qualifies for services through the Center for Accessibility Services (CAS)?

This can be a difficult conversation to approach with a student and we recommend you address your concerns with the student as they relate their progress is your class. You can include all campus offices which you feel can offer support. Another avenue to take would be to submit an early warning form (life preserver button on your online roster) to alert other offices on campus who may be more able to handle this conversation. If the student is struggling to handle the academic demands of this course and you think they could benefit and/or qualify for services from the Center for Accessibility Services (CAS) please state that clearly in your submission of the early warning form.

Based on the student’s accommodations which are listed on the form I do not feel that they will be successful in my course.  What do I do?

Students enrolled at Radford University have the right to make decisions for themselves regarding course selection. The accommodations which students are eligible to receive do not suggest that they will not be able to handle the rigor of the course. 

The student has many accommodations listed on their letter but they are not seeking all of them for my class. Am I required to provide everything that is listed on the letter?

During your meeting with the student, please be sure to discuss which accommodations are being requested for your specific course.  If the student is only seeking some but not all, please be sure to indicate that on the accommodations contract form in the space that is provided. 

How will I know if a student needs accommodations?

Every semester the student is requesting academic accommodations they need to register with the Center for Accessibility Services (CAS).  The student will be given a package of information which they need to meet with their instructor to go over in full detail.  At this time, both the student and the instructor need to engage in a meaningful conversation regarding the student’s accommodations and which ones they need in that specific class.

What if I disagree with an accommodation on the student’s letter?

If the accommodation presented to you is not appropriate or you feel it violates a course standard, an alternate strategy will need to be discussed with the student. If both you and the student are in agreement with the alternative, please indicate this on the accommodations contract form in the designated area.

What if the accommodations (as written) violate a technical standard?

Academic accommodations need to be reasonable and therefore can and will not breach a course or programs technical standard(s). Work with the student and/or the assigned Disability Services Specialist to find an alternate strategy should this becomes an issue.

Can I be held legally responsible for refusing to provide accommodations? What happens if an instructor does not agree with a requested accommodation?

Because Radford receives federal money to support our University and students’ educational experiences, everyone has a responsibility to satisfy obligations of compliance under federal statutes and regulations. However, this does not mean the student has to receive any requested accommodation. Accommodations must be requested within a reasonable timeframe and must be reasonable given the situation.  When the accommodations requested are deemed reasonable, and do not violate a technical standard for the course or program, instructors must coordinate and provide the requested accommodations to the student. When questions about an accommodation arise, the Disability Services Specialist working with that student should be notified. This contact information is located at the bottom of the accommodations letter, below the Disability Services Specialist’s signature.

When we provide accommodations, are we preparing students with disabilities for the “real world”?

At the postsecondary level, our job is to ensure educational equity and to facilitate the learning process. What may or may not happen in the work world cannot be our responsibility. The educational environment impacts students with disabilities in different ways than it may in the work environment. Classroom performance is usually measured through only a few events, (tests, papers, projects, etc.) whereas work performance may be assessed over a period of weeks and months. The school environment and the work environment need to be viewed separately and the focus at Radford is on their pursuit to earn a degree.

When will the student bring their accommodations package to me?

Students are encouraged, (and reminded via email numerous times) that paperwork should be delivered during the first week of class. This is to ensure that the student is receiving their accommodations throughout the entirety of the semester. However, at any time a student feels that they need accommodations they are to make an appointment with their instructor and discuss accommodations.

If a student does not bring me their paperwork until the end of the semester am I required to go back and provide them with the accommodations they are requesting?

No, accommodations are not retroactive, meaning that they are only in place from the time which the contracts between the student and the instructor are signed. The students are made aware of this at the time they pick up their accommodations.

Note Taker Accommodations

What happens when a student has a note taker form in their accommodations package?

If a student is eligible to receive a note taker they will deliver the volunteer note taker form to you during your initial meeting to discuss accommodations. At your first class meeting, after this discussion with the student, you should read the statement on the form and pass the sheet around the class seeking volunteers. The student’s confidentiality is to remain intact and no name to be assigned with the form. After class, please return the form to the Center for Accessibility Services (CAS).

What if there are no volunteers to be a note taker?

Please notify the Center for Accessibility Services (CAS) immediately. We will contact the class via email seeking a volunteer. If this method is unsuccessful in securing a volunteer note taker, a conversation will occur about an alternate strategy.

All my notes are placed online for the class; do I still need to find a note taker for the student?

If the student’s accommodation is for a note taker then, yes, a peer note taker will need to be assigned. While faculty notes (such as PowerPoint’s, handouts, etc.) are helpful, the peer is taking notes in addition to what is posted on line. A student who is receiving note taking as an accommodation may have a difficult time taking a meaning record from class and the peer’s notes will help ensure the student is receiving the same information as the rest of the class.

Assessment Accommodations

If the student has an assessment accommodation where do they take their assessment?

That is to be decided between the instructor and the student. If the student has an accommodation to receive more time but there is class that comes in immediately following the student’s class, it may be best for the student to have the assessment proctored at the Center for Accessibility Services (CAS). If the instructor has a space at an alternate time for the student to take the assessment which the instructor can proctor themselves, this is fine as well. TheCenter for Accessibility Services (CAS) is open between the hours of 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and all efforts should be made for the student to take the assessment within these parameters.

If the student is going to be taking the assessment at the Center for Accessibility Services (CAS) what does the instructor need to do?

The student will bring a proctoring form to the instructor at least two (2) business days before the scheduled assessment. This form will need to be completed by both the student and the instructor entirely. The student will return the form to the Center for Accessibility Services (CAS).

How will the assessment get back to me?

On the proctoring form the instructor will indicate how it will be delivered as well as returned. Sending interoffice mail is not an option as the integrity and security of the assessment cannot be guaranteed.

How will classroom quizzes me handled?

If there is a quiz planned during the class period and the student received extended time to take all assessments, please discuss arrangements with the student. It may be possible for the student to come here immediately after class to finish or perhaps begin in our area or the instructor’s office before class begins. Testing accommodations apply in all assessment situations, including pop quizzes.

What happens if I give a pop quiz but did not have it planned ahead of time?

Again, testing accommodations apply to all assessments. If the student needs the extended time to complete their pop quiz to their best ability the additional time must be afforded. 

Is it fair to give extra time to students with disabilities when other students have to work under the same time constraints?

Yes, it is fair, as long as the accommodation for the student with the disability does not fundamentally alter the nature of the curriculum. The accommodation should be viewed as leveling the playing field.

My assessments are given online and students are allowed to use class materials. Since the student has extended time, and would be able to look up all the answers during the time they are afforded, can I tell that student their assessment is closed book?

If the rest of the class is to take the assessment closed book then, yes, it is fair to say the student with the extended time would have a closed book as well. However, if the rest of the class is allowed to use notes, the book, etc. to answer the questions then the student with the accommodation will be afforded the same access to materials. A student with extended time on assessments may take longer to process and decode information; therefore, the extended time is an accommodation which allows the student to work at a pace which is appropriate for them.

Do I have to rewrite my assessment to accommodate a student with a disability who has difficulty with multiple choice format?

No, it is not required that you rewrite your assessment. Accommodations are usually provided by adjusting the way in which the student takes your assessment.

My course has a component which requires them to take an assessment which is governed by a national testing agency (i.e. ETS). Are accommodations applicable?

Other testing agencies have their own process and procedure for granting accommodations. Student’s should be informed about these course requirements as early as possible as it sometime takes up to six weeks for testing agencies to determine eligibility. 

Use of a Recording Device

I do not allow students to record lectures. What happens if the student has an accommodation to use a recording device?

Unless an alternate strategy is found, the student will have the right to record lectures as part of their accommodations package. Student with disabilities might need to use auxiliary aids and a recording device, such as a tape recorder or Pulse Pen, may be used. Recording the lecture allows the student to focus on listening during class and not divide his/her concentration to take notes. After class, the student has the ability to listen to the recorded lecture as many times as necessary. All students eligible for this accommodation have signed a form which states they will use this information for their own educational pursuit and information will not be reproduced or shared.

What happens if there is sensitive information being covered in class which should not be recorded?

If you are covering information in class, such as a recently given exam, personal beliefs, or students sharing personal/sensitive information that you do not wish students to record (either on tape or writing) you request all students to put down pens and turn off all recording devices. However, if you allow students without accommodations to take notes, you must allow a student whose accommodation includes recording lectures to do so. Information not recorded to written as instructed cannot be material which the student would be tested over.

Extended Time Accommodations

The student has extended time to complete assignments as an accommodation. How do I know the student is in need of this, or does it always apply?

Generally speaking, if the student is afforded the accommodation of extended time to complete all class assignments then, yes, this would always apply. However, like all accommodations that are listed on the accommodations letter you receive from the student; have a candid conversation about the accommodations and how they apply in your course.

What is a post-syllabus assignment?

These are assignments that are not published on the syllabus.

Amended Attendance Accommodation

The student has an accommodation due to their medical condition. How do I determine what is reasonable for this student?

Again, during your meeting with the student please have a discussion about your attendance policy and what you feel would exceed the student student’s ability to be successful in the course. Many students with this accommodation may not need to use it, but due to their medical condition are eligible in the event that they have to seek medical attention. All students are informed by us that if missing class due to their illness/medical needs they are to contact the instructor immediately and copy their assigned Disability Services Specialist so they are aware class was missed.

Accommodations for Deaf or Hard of Hearing

There is a student in my class who has “Closed captioned/English subtitled media” as an accommodation. What is my responsibility in providing this accommodation? 

Students who are eligible to receive closed captioned/English subtitled media should have captions for any media which requires listening.  Many students receiving this accommodation do not have access to the content by any other means. Examples of media that must be captioned include VHS tapes, DVD’s, web-streamed videos, recorded lectures, and YouTube clips, among other media. Instructors may use media that is already captioned, or choose to have media captioned post-production. The Center for Accessibility Services (CAS) Coordinator for Deaf and Hard of Hearing services, can provide a list of companies that create captioning files post-production. These companies typically charge by the minute, and costs for captioning must be paid by the department using the media. The Center for Accessibility Services (CAS) does not caption media. 

Departments may also look into Dragon Naturally Speaking, scribe software that is sometimes used in conjunction with Adobe Connect for synchronous online courses. This allows the instructor to speak lectures into a microphone while the program transcribes the lecture for Deaf or Hard of Hearing students. This program does not have 100% accuracy, but can be effective in some situations.

Additionally, some instructors have utilized CaptionTube, a free online program which allows owners of YouTube videos to add caption files.  Do not click the CC button labeled “Beta” for YouTube videos. This voice-recognition software is very inaccurate and is not sufficient to meet the accommodation.

I have sign language interpreters in my class. What should I know about working with interpreters? Why do I have two (or more) interpreters?

Radford University employs highly skilled, professional sign language interpreters. You will be notified prior to the beginning of the semester via email if an interpreter will be required in one of your course sections. 

When addressing a student who uses sign language interpreting services, speak directly to the student, not the interpreter. At times, the interpreter may ask for clarification, or ask you to pause while a concept is clarified.

Interpreters do not typically sign in lieu of closed captioning for videos. This method forces the student to choose between watching the interpreter and watching the video, making “interpreting” the video ineffective. Be sure that media shown for your course is closed captioned.

Interpreters work with different students in different classrooms throughout the day. Should you like to meet with the student, have the student make an appointment and request interpreting services through the Center for Accessibility Services (CAS). 

Sometimes, due to the length or content of the course, two interpreters are required to convey the message effectively and accurately as well as to prevent fatigue and repetitive motion injury. 

What materials do interpreters need? 

Interpreters should be added to D2L class lists and/or other online course connect products. Additionally, interpreters should be provided with any handouts you give to students.

Students using interpreting services must have access to the interpreter at all times, including quiz and testing situations. Interpreters adhere to a strict code of professional conduct and will keep all course-related material confidential.

Do not give confidential testing documents to interpreters. If a student is taking a test in the Center for Accessibility Services (CAS), give the test to the student in a sealed envelope or email or fax the test to the Center for Accessibility Services (CAS) at cas@radford.edu and 540-831-6525.

I have a course-related event/field trip/extra credit opportunity. Can I request interpreting services for a student/guest/speaker?

Yes. Please complete and email/fax/drop off the Interpreter Request form- Faculty/Staff. Be mindful of the time frames needed to request interpreting services.