Faculty Best Practices
The following guidelines are considered best practices for faculty regarding accessibility and Accessibility Services students.
Place your book orders early.
Accessibility Services provides books in accessible formats (e-text, audio, Braille) for eligible students. It can take up to six weeks to produce a textbook in accessible format. For students to have access to their books on the first day of classes Accessibility Services needs the book information weeks ahead of time - and we can't even start the process if your textbooks are not on record with the bookstore. Also keep course readers in top shape. These materials can be especially difficult to produce in accessible format if the copies are poor quality, contain underlining, handwriting, highlighting, or cut-off margins.
Put a statement in your syllabus to initiate dialogue with students.
For example, "If you have a documented disability and wish to discuss your Accessibility Services-approved accommodations, or if you would need assistance in the event of an emergency, please make an appointment to meet with me as soon as possible."
Verify students' eligibility for accommodations.
When students tell you they will be using accommodations in your class, verify that they are registered with our office and approved for the requested accommodations. Ask to view their Determination of Accommodations document (in a confidential setting) and discuss how you will implement or arrange for the needed accommodations.
Assist students with note-taker recruitment.
Students eligible to receive a copy of a classmate's notes may need the professor's assistance in recruiting a suitable note-taker. When requested, please assist with this process by recommending a competent student or making the following announcement: "A student in this class is eligible to receive a copy of a classmate's notes. The notetaker receives a stipend from Accessibility Services. If you are willing to provide this service, please raise your hand. [A student hopefully volunteers.] Please see me after class and I will introduce you to the eligible student."
Complete test request forms and return them to the student promptly.
Students eligible for testing accommodations will give you a Request for Accessible Testing form for each exam they will require accommodations for. If Accessibility Services will be administering the exam, please complete section B and sign the form. Keep the bottom copy to serve as a reminder to send the exam to Accessibility Services and return the form to the student as soon as possible. The student must submit the completed test request form to Accessibility Services at least one week before an exam and two weeks before finals.
Ensure that material on Blackboard is accessible.
Material posted on Blackboard should be in doc, txt, rtf, or htm format to ensure compatibility with accessible technology. Most PDFs cannot be read by a screen reader. Whenever possible, post handouts and assignments on Blackboard in addition to or instead of handing out a paper copy. Online format allows students with vision impairments and learning disabilities to use screen-reading software to read the document aloud.