City College Faculty FAQs Related to Classroom Accomodations
Q: Is the information regarding a student's disability and the need for academic accommodations confidential?
A: In general, yes. When in the classroom setting, instructors and teaching assistants should to the greatest extent possible, maintain confidentiality about the identity of a student with a disability, the nature of the disability and the disability-related accommodations required.
Q: How can I encourage students with disabilities to talk with me about their accommodations? What information should be on my syllabus?
A: Announce at the beginning of a class that you are available to discuss instructional methods and appropriate class modifications with students who have disabilities. Ask students to email you or see you after class if they would like to set up a private meeting to discuss. In addition, include a note to this effect on your course syllabus. For example:
- Students with disabilities who may need academic accommodations are encouraged to discuss their authorized accommodations from Disability Support Programs and Services (DSPS) with their professors early in the semester so that accommodations may be implemented as soon as
- I have made every effort to make this course accessible to all students, including students with disabilities. If you encounter a problem accessing anything in this course, please contact me immediately by email and also contact the college's Disability Support Programs and Services (DSPS) Office in A122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Students that need evacuation assistance during campus emergencies should also meet with the instructor as soon as possible to assure the health and safety of all students.
Additional Recommendation: Consider including a Diversity and Equity Statement in your syllabus
Sample: We are firmly committed to diversity and equity whereby barriers are removed to create space for all individuals to fully engage in all areas of campus life. Each student's voice has something of value to contribute and students are therefore encouraged to communicate and participate during class meetings. We must take care to respect the individual backgrounds, personal identities, intellectual approaches, and demographics expressed by everyone. Individual differences can deepen our understanding of one another and the world around us, thus making us global citizens. We strongly adhere to the San Diego Community College District Non-Discrimination policy and reserve our classroom as a safe space for unique and meaningful dialogue. Remember to keep confidential all issues of a personal or professional nature that are discussed in class. We also strongly encourage you to utilize the amazing campus resources that City has to offer you. If you would like to speak privately about how to access any of the resources please let me know. (Include a list of all campus resources)
Q: How do I know a student is qualified to receive a disability-related accommodation?
Q: What if I do not agree with an authorized accommodation?
Q: What do I do if a student needs test taking accommodations? Can I proctor the exam myself?
A: Test proctoring accommodations include, but are not limited to: readers, scribes, Braille, large-print, distraction reduced environments, and extended time. After closely reviewing documentation of the student's disability, test proctoring accommodations are authorized by a DSPS counselor on a case-by-case basis. Test proctoring is an academic accommodation to ensure that the evaluation process is equitable and accessible to students with disabilities. Accommodations may affect how a test is taken, but not what it measures. Test proctoring accommodations require student, instructor and DSPS coordination.
- Confirm that the student is eligible for services through the current semester's AAA Letter. If the student does not have an AAA Letter, refer them to DSPS.
- Meet privately with the student, discuss and agree on the best method of providing test taking accommodations (e.g. in the classroom or the DSPS office), including quizzes and If it is in the student and instructor's best interest, instructors may choose to provide the requested accommodation in their classroom and/or office. Caution: take care that the student does not feel pressured or forced to take the test in the class or instructors office.
- Establish test dates, quizzes and lab exams early in the semester so that students who utilize DSPS for testing assistance have adequate time to schedule testing
- Complete the DSPS Test Request Form that is sent to you via email once the student schedules their exam with Please check your sdccd.edu email regularly, including junk mail.
- Provide DSPS with the test exam in a timely manner, allowing them time to convert the test to an alternate format (if needed).
- Contact the DSPS office and/or counselor immediately, if you have any concerns or need
Q: Can an instructor not allow a student with a disability to audio record in class?
Q: What do I do when a student brings an aide with them to class?
Q: I have a Deaf or hard of hearing student in my class, what do I do?
A: The degree of hearing loss among Deaf and hard of hearing students ranges from mild to severe. There is wide variation as to how an individual manages communication needs-the individualâ€™s preferences, environmental conditions, degree of loss, the topic, number of people participating signing and lip reading skills, and devices and aids, etc. all influence how communication will occur. Each Deaf and hard of hearing student will manage differently. Students can request Sign Language Interpreting or Speech to Text Captioning services for classroom, meeting, and field trip situations. If the student has requested such service for your class you will receive a letter from the DSPS Counselor Specialist describing the service. The Counselor is available to discuss individual situations with you and to provide additional information. SDCCD has centralized administration of interpreters and captionists through the District DSPS ISO (Interpreting Services Office). City DSPS works closely with District ISO to provide effective service for students and instructors. Once the student provides you with the semester's accommodation letter it would be appropriate to ask how you can assist with effective communication or if the student has any concerns about communication process in the class.
Q: Do I have to caption all videos that I show in my class?
Q: Am I required to provide accessible course material to my students? What does "accessible documents" mean?
Q: What is an alternate text/media accommodation?
A: If a student is authorized alternate text/media accommodation, they will receive their textbook and materials in an alternate format (enlarged print, audio format, braille etc.). This conversion and production is done in the High Tech Center. In order to provide the alternate text materials in a timely manner, it is critical that Instructor's post textbook information in advance (on the first date of registration if possible).
Q: What if the student is authorized an adaptive furniture accommodation?
A: If the DSPS faculty member has approved an adaptive furniture accommodation for a student, it will be listed on the AAA letter, the student is responsible for completing the DSPS online form to request adaptive furniture in each classroom. A DSPS staff member is assigned to coordinate the adaptive furniture requests with the Stockroom staff for placement in classroom. It is important that furniture is not moved out of classrooms and that furniture is placed in the position of the classroom as authorized on the letter, so faculty support in this effort is appreciated. If you have any challenges or adaptive furniture questions please do not hesitate to contact us as this process is still developing and evolving.
Q: What do I do if a student brings a service animal to class?
A: A person with a disability may take a service animal into all areas of campus without being referred to DSPS. Please do not refer them to DSPS or require them to come get a "sticker". We no longer require that or offer a "sticker" on their Student ID card. When it is not readily apparent that the animal is a service animal, SDCCD personnel may ask the following:
(1) Is the dog (miniature horse) required because of a disability?
(2) What work or task has the dog (miniature horse) been trained to perform?
- B) The work or tasks, specific action, performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. You may not ask or require the person to demonstrate the service animal performing the task.
If the animal is causing a serious concern or disruption, you can contact DSPS faculty to consult and/or file a BP 3100 report with the Dean of Student Affairs.
Please refer to AP 3105.2 for additional information
Q: Do I need to modify my typical grading process for students with disabilities?
A: Providing academic accommodations does not affect the grading process. An accommodation might involve altering the form of an evaluation. For example, you might give an exam verbally instead of on paper or you might change the format from multiple-choice to essay. All students are required to meet the essential elements of the course, with or without reasonable accommodations.
Q: May I fail a student with a disability?
Q: What if I have a question about how to provide an authorized accommodation?
Q: What do I do if a student requests American Sign Language (ASL) intrepreting for special events, workshops, or activities that are outside of the classroom?
1. Gather all information regarding the details of the event including: description of the event (lecture, power points, number of participants), beginning and ending time, meeting location, and the name of the individual requesting service
2. Contact Network Interpreting Services (NIS) directly at 1 800 284 1043 to schedule the service. A minimum of five days advance notice is recommended.
3. City College currently has an Amount Only Purchase Order set up for NIS. Inform at Business Services of the Request.
What do I do if I have a pregnant student in my class that needs accommodations?
A: The following FAQs are intended to provide guidance related to academic accommodations for pregnant students. Please click on this link for more information.
CCCCO Faculty FAQs Related to 508 Accessibility Compliance & Accommodations
Q: Do I need to allow students with disabilities into my class?
A: Yes. Faculty members must allow students with disabilities into their classes in almost all cases. Moreover, faculty members must allow students with disabilities to utilize approved accommodations. See the FAQ about utilizing approved accommodations
Q: What elements of my class do I need to ensure are accessible?
A: You need to ensure every element of your class is accessible or able to be accommodated in an equally effective manner. Accessibility questions most commonly arise around course review and design, distance education courses, learning software, posting documents online, using videos (online and in class), and sending electronic communication to students. The California community college (CCC) system has created professional development opportunities and training materials to support you in meeting your legal requirements.
Q: When I author content, what are the accessibility requirements?
Q: If I want to create content, where can I get training and support to ensure it is accessible?
- The Online Network of Educators (@ONE) is a collaborative, system-wide network of CCC faculty, staff, and administrators, and is coordinated by the professional development team of the CCC Online Education Initiative (OEI). @ONE provides archives of webinars on accessibility as well as a certificate in course design, and various blog posts related to making content more accessible. @ONE also offers a four-week course on Creating Accessible Course Content.
- California Community Colleges Accessibility Center (CCCAC) provides services, workshops, resources, and technical assistance in the areas of assistive technologies, the creation of alternate formats, and web/online The Accessibility Center maintains information about accessibility standards and policies, and hosts the Accessibility Center Help Desk, which provides a forum to ask questions related to websites, online videos, web applications, or mobile app accessibility. The Accessibility Center works with other CCC initiatives to ensure a coordinated and comprehensive approach to web and information technology accessibility.
- Institutional Effectiveness Partnership Initiative (IEPI) is a statewide collaborative effort to help advance the effective practices of the CCC system. IEPI hosts a variety of workshops throughout the year, many of which address accessibility issues.
- Professional Learning Network (PLN) â€“ PLN hosts a link to videos with training on making system materials accessible and 508 compliant and provides information about a regular Information and Communications Technology Accessibility Workshop.
Q: What is the difference between accessibility and accommodation, and how does it relate to what I am required to do?
A: Accessibility is defined as when students with disabilities "enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective and equally integrated manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use." Accessibility is about content creation, and faculty are required to plan ahead and make their course content accessible to disabled students. This includes activities such as:
- Captioning videos;
- Selecting accessible websites when assigning online resources to students;
- Ensuring word documents can be read by screen readers; and
- Providing alternate text for images.
Accommodation refers to activities that specific students require in order to participate equally in the learning environment. Accommodation is about student service, not content creation. Example accommodations might include:
- Requesting sign language interpreters;
- Extended time for in-class assignments; and
- Note-taking assistance.
Some technologies cannot be accommodated, and therefore cannot be required as part of any course.
In determining whether a tool, product, or piece of content need be accessible or whether it can be accommodated, a good first question is to ask yourself what the learning objectives are for the course, and what components are necessary to achieve those objectives. If something is necessary to achieve a fundamental objective of the course, it must be accessible.
Q: How do I provide reasonable accommodations?
The DSPS program provides support services, specialized instruction, and educational accommodations to students with disabilities so that they can participate as fully and benefit as equitably from the college experience as their non-disabled peers. An Academic Accommodation Plan (AAP) is developed for each student which links student's goals, curriculum program, and academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, services and/or instruction to his/her disability related educational limitation.
Q: What resources are available to help me make the following content accessible?
- Online Education Initiative (OEI), in partnership with @ONE, has assembled a rubric for creating courses that meet existing regulatory and accreditation requirements. The rubric covers web, multimedia, and document resources.
- Portland Community College offers an Accessibility Quick Guide with instructions about creating and checking accessible content.
For web content
Follow the links below if you want to:
- See a handbook about web accessibility
- Evaluate webpage accessibility
- Search a database of information on accessible web content
- Learn about alternate text
- Structure accessible web documents
- Write accessible web documents
- Design for colorblindness
- Check Google Docs accessibility
- Write accessible math and science equations
Click the links below if you are seeking:
- Funding for live and synchronous captioning and transcription for online classes, hybrid classes, on-campus classes using distance methods of content delivery, and digital learning object repositories used to collect and make available digitized content. Funding provided through the DECT Grant, hosted by College of the Canyons
- An introduction to captioning
- An introduction to audio description
- Guidelines on Captions, Transcripts, and Audio Descriptions
- Overviews of:
For document management/content
Click the links below if you are seeking:
- Guidance on creating accessible:
- Accessibility checkers for:
For finding accessible materials
- Accessible audiobooks for students with blindness and visual impairment or dyslexia
- A searchable database of accessible textbooks (Requires membership to use - please ask your local DSPS if your school is a member)
- Books in a variety of accessible formats including DAISY, BRF, and plain text (Requires membership to use - please ask your local DSPS if your school is a member)
The California State University and University of California systems also host various resources for creating accessible materials. A list can be found below:
- CalState LA offers additional resources around creating and testing accessibility for documents and web resources.
- University of California provides standards and guidelines for creating accessible documents, PDFs, and web content, as well as captioning and surveys.
- California State University's Accessible Technology Initiative includes resources for creating accessible documents, spreadsheets, presentations, PDFs, and InDesign, as well as captioning and STEM-specific resources.