Resources for making your online courses accessible for students with disabilities.
Thank you for supporting students with disabilities in your classrooms. We have prepared this information to support you as you strive to perform work that is central to the mission of the institution – teaching. We hope that you find this information helpful, and we welcome your feedback on additional resources we can provide to you.
We have provided a model syllabus statement for your consideration. Some students may have disabilities that are apparent, and it may be clear to you what accommodations they need. Other students’ disabilities are less apparent, and their needs may not be obvious. Please also be aware that many of our students are hesitant to approach faculty members and use their accommodations with great reluctance. A syllabus statement serves both to make students comfortable approaching you with their accommodation needs and to set the expectation that the student is required to make these arrangements in a timely manner. We are happy to help you modify this statement to better suit your course.
We find that many faculty members are more than willing to provide students with their approved accommodations, but also would like to have more information on the actual disability so as to influence their lectures and classroom teaching style. We have added information on those disabilities most commonly diagnosed in our students.
Finally, we are offering these Frequently Asked Questions as a way of providing basic information to you.
Thank you for supporting our students, and please do not hesitate to contact us if we can assist you.
While you are not required to do so, we recommend including the language below in your syllabus. It sets clear expectations for students, which can make them more likely to approach you earlier in the semester. While it is difficult to create a model statement that will work for every class, the statement below is a good starting place. We are happy to discuss modifications that would better meet the needs of your class with you.
“Washington University is committed to providing accommodations and/or services to students with documented disabilities. Students who are seeking support for a disability or a suspected disability should contact Disability Resources at 935-4153. Disability Resources is responsible for approving all disability-related accommodations for WU students, and students are responsible for providing faculty members with formal documentation of their approved accommodations at least two weeks prior to using those accommodations. I will accept Disability Resources Accommodation Letter forms by email and personal delivery. If you have already been approved for accommodations, I request that you provide me with a copy of your Accommodation Letter within the first two weeks of the semester.”
WashU Accommodation Letter(Accommodation Letter) is the form that students provide to professors to verify that they have been approved for accommodations. You may tell students that you require them to be sent to you electronically, given in person, or given to a course master, TA, or assistant. You are not required to keep the actual forms provided by students.
Responsibility for providing exam related accommodations lies with the course instructor. However, Disability Resources recognizes that the logistics for providing accommodations on exams can be quite challenging, especially in large courses where there may be many students who need accommodations. Therefore as a courtesy to faculty, Disability Resources offers exam proctoring services. On the first day of classes, while discussing the syllabus, instructors should communicate with their students whether they plan to provide exam accommodations themselves or if they plan to ask Disability Resources to proctor.
Proctoring accommodated exams yourself or within your own department:
Each student should communicate with you whether they would like to use their accommodations on a given exam with sufficient notice for you to make arrangements. It is perfectly reasonable to ask an AI/TA or other staff in your department for assistance with proctoring accommodated exams.
Some students have been approved for an accommodation of a distraction-reduced exam environment. This means that the exam room should have limited visual and auditory stimuli. Generally speaking, we recommend that a distraction-reduced room should have approximately 15 or fewer students. If your course has a small class size then your classroom may already be considered a distraction-reduced environment. Otherwise it may be necessary to reserve an adjacent classroom or departmental conference room if available. If the students with accommodations will be proctored in a different room than the rest of the class it is important to ensure that they have the same opportunity to ask clarifying questions during the exam. You are encouraged to contact Disability Resources with specific questions about implementing distraction-reduced accommodations as well as any other type of accommodation.
If you plan to ask Disability Resources to proctor exams:
Instructors should notify students at the very beginning of the semester if they plan to have Disability Resources proctor exams with accommodations. This is critical because the student is responsible for telling Disability Resources that they would like to use their approved accommodations on a specific exam. The students will do this by submitting a request form on our website at least 7 days in advance. If a student has submitted the request form 7 days in advance then the Disability Resources Coordinator will contact you approximately a week before your exam to make specific arrangements. If the student does not submit the request form 7 days in advance then Disability Resources cannot guarantee they will be able to proctor. In that case the student will be referred back to you with the understanding that you may or may not be able to provide their accommodations in class.
In order for Disability Resources to proctor your exam accurately, it is necessary that you share your proctoring instructions using the Access WashU Faculty Portal.
Testing Center Hours
Monday- Friday 8:30AM-5:00PM
Saturday & Sunday closed
Fall and Spring Semesters
Monday- Thursday 8:30AM-10:00PM
Saturday & Sunday closed
Fall and Spring Final Exams
Monday- Saturday 8:30AM-10:00PM
Contact us at 314-935-5970 or by email
Location: Ground floor of Gregg House, South 40
Office hours: Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.