City College Faculty FAQs Related to Classroom Accomodations

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.

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
  • 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)

A: DSPS Counselor provides qualified students with an "Authorized Academic Accommodations" (AAA) letter. Please ask to see this letter if the student has not already provided it to you. This means a student has qualified for DSPS services. AAA letters are completed each semester. When a student gives you the letter, this is their official notification of accommodations. Please read the letter thoroughly.
A: The institution is required by federal regulation to establish formal grievance procedures for providing prompt and equitable resolution of disagreements. When a dispute involves the conduct of a course or academic program, the SDCCD Accommodations Policy provides procedures for an informal resolution process through consultation between the instructional faculty member, the student, and a DSPS faculty member. Please note that the accommodation authorized by DSPS faculty, must be provided during the dispute resolution process.

Please refer to AP 3105.1 for more information

 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.

Faculty Responsibilities

  • 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 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
 A: An instructor is required to allow a student to audio record the class if recording is determined to be an appropriate accommodation for a student's disability. Audio recorders are specifically mentioned in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as a means of providing full participation in educational programs and activities. Occasionally, classroom discussions reveal items of a personal nature about students. If open discussions tend to reveal personal information, it would be appropriate to ask the student with a disability to turn off the audio recorder during these discussions. In signing the AAA, the student is agreeing to the following: "These accommodations will only be used for course study. The information will not be shared with other people or media nor used as evidence in any legal or administrative procedure." 
A: Check the student's AAA letter to confirm that "classroom aide" is an accommodation listed. If not, please refer the student to DSPS. You do not have to permit the aide in the class if not authorized by DSPS.  The District is responsible for all visitors in the classroom.  Classroom Aide listed on the AAA letter indicates that the community based agency aide has completed a Visitor Registration form and has signed the Visitor Agreement.  Some aides will only attend the first few weeks of class or intermittently depending on individual student needs. 

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 individual’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.  

A: Yes, per Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, all videos with audio must be captioned. The regulations apply to public events, web sites, online and web-enhanced classes, online class e-packs, textbook e-packs and purchases of electronic equipment, including computers and software. Note that this is also applicable to existing departmental or personal videos and DVDs, as well as all visual media utilized in instruction. This is significant as technology is included in most of our events and classes in an attempt to make education available in various modalities to ensure student success and public access. All information technology used to provide instruction or presentation to the community must be captioned. (Regardless of whether you have a student who has a disability or the materials are optional). Your College or Continuing Education Online Faculty Mentors can assist online faculty in options for captioning their own work. There are resources available to assist with some of the costs associated with captioning. City College LRC also has a great resource: LRC Captioning Resource
A: Yes, per the Americans with Disability Act and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act all course materials should be accessible to all students. Accessible documents are any print-and technology-based educational materials designed to be usable across the widest range of individual variability. This includes course syllabus/outline, presentations, course packets, and materials posted to or linked from course-specific websites, sent by email, or given out in class. If you need assistance contact the High Tech Center at 619-388-3995 for resource information. You can also refer to the website link to directions for information on creating accessible documents and checking for accessibility. 

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).

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.

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?


  1. 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

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. 

A: Yes. It is possible to fail a student with a disability. The laws mandate access to education, not guaranteed academic success. When a faculty member has provided reasonable academic accommodations and the student does not meet the class requirements, failing a student is appropriate and lawful. Please reach out to DSPS faculty if you have concerns about a student's progress or want to discuss support strategies. 
A: Call the DSPS Counselor, whose name is on the AAA letter. We are here as a resource for you as well as the students. Please do not be a stranger
A: The process for requesting Sign Language interpreting services is:

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.

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

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

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. 

A: Faculty authored content must meet the accessibility requirements of Section 508 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and federal requirements as further supported by the Chancellor's Office.
A: The CCC system offers four opportunities for training and support in creating accessible course content:

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.


 A: Approved academic accommodations should be coordinated with your college's Disabled Student Programs and Services (DSPS). Do not try and do provide accommodations on your own.

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.

A: For all content

For web content

Follow the links below if you want to:

For multimedia

Click the links below if you are seeking:

For document management/content

Click the links below if you are seeking:

For finding accessible materials

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.