DSS Faculty Guide: Classroom Accommodations

It is important that every student be given equal access to materials and information presented in class. This should not be reduced by personal limitations. Below are examples of common in-class accommodations.

Preferential seating

This accommodation is provided to students for many different reasons. A student with a visual impairment may request preferential seating at the front to better see the slides, overheads, or chalkboard. Students with hearing impairments may request this to better hear the instructor or to accommodate their Sign Language interpreter. A student with anxiety may request preferential seating at the back of the room for easy access to the door should they have an attack.

Notetaking Assistance, Copies of Overheads, Recording Lectures

Students may require assistance obtaining materials presented in class because of limitations resulting from their disability. These accommodations include notetaking assistance, requesting copies of the overheads presented in class, and the ability to record lectures. For most students with disabilities these accommodations are meant to supplement the student's own notes.  The accommodation should not be an allowance to exempt a student from class participation or attending the class altogether.  Examples of students that may require these accommodations are students with learning disabilities or physical impairments. An exception would be Deaf students or students that are hard of hearing that completely rely on note takers since they are unable to watch their Sign Language interpreter and take notes at the same time. The student's accommodations letters describes these requests as follows:

  • Student will require notetaking assistance. There are several means of meeting this accommodation request.  One option is to provide the student with a copy of your lecture notes and/or slides.  Another option is to identify a student volunteer by announcing to the class that there is a student who needs the assistance of a notetaker (without identifying which student).  You may want to mention that several student organizations on campus award community service points for this volunteer activity.  Ask interested students to meet with you and the student with a disability after class.  The student with a disability should be able to explain what he/she needs from the volunteers.
  • Use an audio recorder during lecture. If there is a concern about the student recording during lecture, please contact the student's Accommodations Counselor to discuss.
  • Copies of instructor's overheads/powerpoint presentations provided prior to class.  This accommodation is provided at the instructor's discretion.

More information about Auxiliary Aids and Services for Postsecondary Students with Disabilities from the Office of Civil Rights (OCR).