Disability Accommodations FAQ

Below are commonly asked questions by faculty regarding their responsibilities in the classroom to students with disabilities.

1) Do I need to provide accommodations to students in my distance-learning courses?

Yes. The accommodation you are most likely to see for distance-learning courses is time-and-a-half for any timed quizzes, tests or exams.

ODS staff are aware that faculty members may be concerned about academic integrity in general for online courses, and faculty may have further concerns that providing additional time for online testing could increase instances of academic dishonesty. Despite these concerns, it is important to remember that the college has a legal requirement to provide adequate accommodations under the ADA, and that students have been approved by ODS for additional time because they have provided documentation supporting a need for it.

All STCC students are expected to refrain from any form of academic dishonesty. To safeguard these principles, it is important to clarify the rules regarding academic honesty to students in your online courses, whether they are receiving academic accommodations or not.

If a student informs you they receive academic accommodations for a distance-learning course:


  • Verify you've received the accommodation plan via email from their ODS counselor for the current semester.
  • Make arrangements to provide the student with the accommodation. If you need assistance adjusting the timer for the test, please contact Blackboard Systems Administrator, Leila Haddad: lhaddad@stcc.edu or (413) 755-4345 for guidance.
  • Contact the student's ODS counselor if you have questions or concerns about the accommodation.


  • Assume you built in plenty of time for all students and therefore don't need to provide the accommodation as that may not meet the legal requirements of providing adequate accommodations under the ADA.
2) A student in one of my courses has been approved for Note-Taking Assistance. What are my responsibilities?

Scenario: You receive an accommodation plan from a student and one of the approved accommodations is Note-Taking Assistance. Please provide the student with lecture notes if available. If lecture notes are not available, please assist the student in identifying a peer note-taker.

A student may not be able to take complete or adequate notes due to a number of reasons, some of which are visible (e.g., an injured or non-functioning hand) and some that are not visible (e.g., having an auditory or language processing challenge or a hearing or visual disability). If a student has a documented disability that interferes with the ability to take class notes, then the college is obligated under the law to provide note-taking support.

What are your responsibilities as a faculty member?


  • Respect students' right to confidentiality by not singling out a student's need for note-taking assistance in front of the class.
  • Choose to provide photocopies of your notes directly to the student or consider applying a principle of Universal Design by posting notes online for all students to have access for review.
  • Assist with note taker recruitment. Make class announcements or send out emails to the class to try and recruit a note taker. ODS can provide carbon-less paper and/or assist the student in making copies of a peer's notes, if necessary.
  • Offer to review the student's notes during your office hours to ensure completeness.


  • Disregard the approved accommodation and not address the issue.
  • Include the student's name or any other identifying information in class announcements or emails.
  • Assume the student doesn't need the accommodation if material already exists elsewhere that covers the material presented in class.
3) How should I proceed with accommodations for an exam period which is already extended for all students (for example, the entire class is allotted an hour and a half for a test designed to be completed in 60 minutes):


  • Understand that the student with a disability is still eligible to receive the approved accommodations outlined in the accommodation form provided earlier in the semester. In the example above, the student with an accommodation for time-and-a-half is entitled under the ADA to be allowed two hours and fifteen minutes, even though the time has been extended for the entire class.
  • Speak to the student prior to the exam to clarify where the student will be taking the exam and confirm the time allowed to complete the exam.
  • Send the exam to the Testing and Assessment Center or the Office of Disability Services in advance of the exam date and time, if you are utilizing either of those venues for the exam and be sure to confirm testing parameters.


  • Have a discussion with the student about their accommodations in a less than private space.
  • Assume the student will not need the extra time if they have done well without the accommodation for extended time in previous exams.
4) I have a student in one of my courses who works exceptionally hard in class yet continues to struggle. I suspect they may have a learning disability. What can I do?


  • Offer the student the opportunity to have a conversation in private to discuss their needs/academic struggles.
  • Refer the student to all the campus resources such as: Center for Access Services (CAS), Student Success Center Tutoring, Disability Services, etc.
  • Provide a statement on your syllabus reminding them of the opportunity to register with ODS.
  • Offer the student an ODS business card (available by calling ODS at extension 4785) that shows them how to register with ODS if they have disclosed that they have a disability or received support in high school.


  • Assume that they have a disability.
  • Ask them if they have a disability or if they have had an IEP in high school.
  • Single the student out in front of the rest of the class to address any academic concerns.

If you have further questions, please contact Kris Kozuch, Coordinator of Disability Services, at (413) 755-4785.