Faculty, Instructors, & TAs
Accessibility Is a University Responsibility
We are all responsible to ensure our programs, course curriculum, and services are as accessible as reasonably possible. Faculty, instructors, and TAs at UCR can partner with the SDRC to deliver an accessible educational experience to eligible students. This page outlines your role as an educator in this process, as well as the role of the SDRC and the role of the student.
The Role of the Faculty, Instructors, and TAs
UC Ethics and Compliance Services (ECAS) has issued the following documents for the UC faculty regarding the academic accommodations process required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The Academic Accommodations - In Brief document highlights pertinent information faculty must be aware of relating to:
- The Interactive Process
- Fundamental Alteration and Undue Burden
- Auxiliary Aids and Services and Class Recording
- Service and Support Animals
There is also a document outlining the Roles and Responsibilities of the various parties to the Academic Accommodations process.
At UCR, the "DSO or Disability Service Office" referenced in the above documents is the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC). The instructor of record, or an official alternative contact (as entered into Banner for the course by the department registrar), is responsible to collaborate with SDRC to ensure that the student enrolled in their classes have access to the SDRC-approved accommodations and services outlined in each student's letter of accommodation. A letter of accommodation may be issued at any time during the quarter or academic term. It is critical accessibility is at the forefront of course/program design to promote an inclusive educational experience.
Please review the Frequently Asked Questions on this page to learn more about the role of the faculty in the accommodations process.
The Role of the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC)
Disability accommodations are approved by disability specialists, professionals with expertise in the education of students with disabilities in post-secondary education settings. The disability specialists meet with the student requesting accommodations, review disability-relateddocumentation, consult with the student's medical providers (when needed), review the environment/course/program for which accommodations are being requested, and recommend/approve accommodations for students with disability in compliance with federal/state mandates. SDRC supports the provision and coordination of approved accommodations (i.e., exam accommodations, alternative media, ASL/CART services, and more), and available to consult with course instructors, TAs, and staff.
The Role of the Student Requesting Disability Accommodations
Because UCR is an adult learning environment, accessing disability-related accommodations is a student-driven process. This means the student with the disability is expected to follow the established process for applying for accommodations, notify faculty of the approved accommodations via R'Ability, and exercise their right to use or not use their approved accommodations. If there is a change in the academic environment or how the student is impacted by their disability, the student should re-engage in the interactive process with SDRC to identify possible needed update to their accommodations plan.
Faculty Guide to Student Disability Related Accommodations:
- R'Ability Online Accommodations System
- Faculty Tutorial for R'Ability
- Self-Service Document Conversion to Accessible Formats
- PDF of Faculty FAQ
- E-Learn/Canvas Accommodations
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens when a student self-discloses a disability and requests an accommodation(s)?
- Request a letter of accommodation (LOA) from the student. The student can provide it to you in-person or send it to you through R’Ability. If the student does not have one, refer them to SDRC.
- If presented with medical documentation regarding a disability, including chronic health issues, please do not take it. Instead, redirect the student and their documentation to SDRC.
What should I do if a student tries to give me medical documentation regarding their disability?
Please remember not to inquire about a student's medical information or request medical documenation from a student who is seeking disability-related accommodations (including chronic health conditions). For legal reasons, it is best to refer the student to the SDRC.
What is the best way to refer student to the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC)?
- The best way to refer students is via email at email@example.com. An SDRC staff member will follow up with the student directly.
Who can request accommodations for a student?
Accommodations are a student-driven process, so any request must be initiated by the student through the established SDRC process.
How are accommodations approved?
Accommodations are determined after critical analysis of a student's disability-related needs, the university's programs and curricula, and the university's legal obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended (ADA AA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Students meet with a disability specialist who will engage in what is known as an interactive process with them. This will include interviewing the student and reviewing medical and/or other documentation the student presents to support their request. The disability specialist will identify reasonable accommodations aimed at providing the student access to the academic material and access to demonstrate what they know.
Why I am unable to find a student in R'Ability that is in my course? They have told me they are supposed to be getting accommodations.
There could be a few reasons you are not seeing a student in the R'Ability portal, these include:
- The student has not sent you a Notice of Accommodation,
- The student may have withdrawn from your course,
- The student has not been approved for accommodations (refer the student back to SDRC if this comes up), or
- You are not assigned as the faculty member for the course in the Banner student information system.
If the student presents you with a Notice of Accommodation and you don't see them in R'Ability, check with your department to ensure you are listed as an instructor for the course, then contact SDRC. This is important, particularly if the student is supposed to be getting exam accommodations. We need to ensure you are getting communciations about these requests.
What do I do when I receive an email from SDRC (firstname.lastname@example.org) about viewing a letter of accommodation?
- Go to the R’Ability faculty portal and select your course to find the list of students
- Review the PDF letter for each student and then click acknowledge/submit receipt of letter of accommodation
- Allow approved accommodations to happen in your course (i.e., recording lectures, use of a computer to type notes, etc.)
- Contact SDRC at email@example.com if you have any questions regarding any accommodation
- Refer the student back to SDRC if they are requesting a disability-related accommodation that does not appear in the letter of accommodation
What other email notices might I receive about accommodations and what action do I need to take?
Emails about accommodations for tests, exams and/or finals:
- Students need to request exam accommodations via R'Ability at least 10 days prior to a scheduled quiz or exam (14 days prior to final exams).
- Nine days prior to exam: Faculty receive an email requesting confirmation of quiz/exam information in R’Ability. Reminder emails will continue to be sent to the faculty member until the requested information is submitted. For quizzes/exams that require SDRC intervention or are proctored at the SDRC Testing Center, the information is required at least 5 days prior to the quiz/exam to avoid delays.
- Two days prior to exam: Faculty will receive a final list of student needing quiz/exam accommodations.
- If exam confirmation was submitted via R'Ability: Faculty receive an email requesting to provide exam materials one day before exam to firstname.lastname@example.org or to the SDRC/SDRC Testing Center at 1213 Student Services Building
- If exam proctoring instructions were not submitted via R'Ability, the exam proctoring appointment with the SDRC Testing Center will be cancelled. The faculty and student will be notified of the SDRC Testing Center exam appointment cancellation, and that the faculty will provide the exam accommodations. SDRC is available to consult by calling (951) 827-3861 or emailing email@example.com.
- Online exams that require only "extended time" will be proctored by faculty through the chosen online platform. These exams should still be confirmed with SDRC to ensure students are receiving their accommodations. If faculty need assistant with proctoring "extended time" in eLearn, Zoom, etc., instructions to change the timer are available her for Canvas, Blackboard, for additional instructional support, visit XCITE Center for Teaching and Learning. SDRC may be contacted for questions regarding other accommodations.
Emails requesting a note taker:
- You will receive an email which contains a sample announcement to request a volunteer note taker. All you have to do is make the announcement to the class, that’s it!
What is the availabilty of SDRC Testing Center to proctor exam accommodations?
SDRC Testing Center is available only for students who are registered through SDRC and approved for exam accommodations (including quizzes). The Testing Center provides students with a reduced distraction environment to take exams. Additionally, there are different forms of assistive technology available for students that require such accommodations for exams. There are a limited number of seats in the Testing Center. Therefore, exam seating accommodations must be reserved in advance by the student through R'Ability. The Testing Center is open Monday - Friday, from 8:00am to 5:00pm (excluding University Holidays). During Final Exams week of Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters, the Testing Center is open the first Saturday, from 8:00am to 5:00pm, and Monday - Friday, from 8:00am to 9:00pm. Please note that during final exams, when the Testing Center is operating beyond capacity, exams may be proctored at other designated locations reserved by the SDRC.
Does the SDRC Testing Center accept late requests?
Late requests from students to schedule exam accommodations in the SDRC Testing Center are not accepted by email. Students need to submit a request in-person at the SDRC Testing Center. A determination will be made on a case-by-case basis as to whether the late request can be processed and may be dependent on timeframe, space-availability, resource availability, and more. Incentives have been offered for students to get their exam accommodations scheduled early in the quarter/term using R'Ability.
Does the SDRC Testing Center do "drop-in" or unscheduled exams?
No. SDRC Testing Center is available only for students who are registered through SDRC and have SDRC-approved exam accommodations (including quizzes). Exam seating accommodations must be reserved in advance by the student through R'Ability. Because there are a limited number of seats in the SDRC Testing Center, it is important students reserve their seat in advance of the exam date/time. The Testing Center is open Monday - Friday, from 8:00am to 5:00pm (excluding University Holidays). During Final Exams week of Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters, the SDRC Testing Center is open the first Saturday, from 8:00am to 5:00pm, and Monday - Friday, from 8:00am to 9:00pm. Please note that during final exams, when the SDRC Testing Center is operating beyond capacity, exams may be proctored at other designated campus locations reserved by the SDRC.
How are exam accommodations scheduled during Final Exams week?
The process is similar in that the student is responsible for reserving a seat for their exams through R'Ability. The SDRC follows the final exams schedule published by the University. However, because the SDRC closes at 9:00 p.m. during final exams week, students who have 7:00 p.m. final exams, will be scheduled to start their exam at 4:30 p.m. If there are schedule conflicts with exam times, SDRC staff will work with faculty and students to identify an agreeable solution.
What format should exams be submitted to the SDRC Testing Center?
Please submit electronic .doc or docx exams, as they are easier to convert into accessible formats when needed. Exams submitted in image .pdf or other non-accessible formats may result in the exam being delayed to a day and time when the exam may be provided to the student in an accessible format.
Does SDRC electronically scan the student's finished exam back to the instructor?
Requests have been made from faculty/instructors to electronically scan completed exams back to them. Unfortunately, due to the volume of exams and quality control required, SDRC is not able to provide this function. However, the one exception is GradeScope exams. The SDRC Testing Center will scan GradeScope answer sheets to faculty (upon request), provided they are no more than two (2) pages per student, per exam.
Can faculty proctor exams with accommodations?
Yes. Faculty may proctor exams with accommodations, as long as the SDRC-approved accommodation is being provided as intended. Faculty are encouraged to consult with SDRC if they have questions about exam proctoring.
Does the SDRC proctor online, take-home, or remote exams?
The SDRC Testing Center typically does not proctor online or remote exams for students if the student is approved by SDRC to just receive "extended time on exams". This accommodation will need to be proctored through the online or take-home formats used by their faculty. Faculty will need to make appropriate adjustments in the platforms to ensure the student receives the legally required accommodation.
Students with other accommodations (i.e., alternate media, scribe), SDRC will work with the faculty and student regarding these arangements.
What happens if the exam is scheduled to happen outside of SDRC hours of operation?
- The exam appointment with SDRC can be moved to the following morning. Testing Center staff will review the student's courses and schedule the first available appointment the first business day after the original exam date.
- Instructors of their TAs may proctor the exam with the accommodations at the original class time.
- Instructors may offer a remote proctoring session on a platform like Yuja. Instructions and and additional information is available from the XCITE website and can be found here. This would allow the students to take the exam at the original class time with accommodations.
- Instructors may opt to change the exam structure for the whole class to online or take-home, rather than in-person. Instructions on extending time for individual students in eLearn/Canvas can be found here.
How may faculty implement accommodations for Quizzes and In-Class Assignments?
If you have a student with disability who receives exam accommodations and they request to use their SDRC-approved accommodations for quizzes or timed in-class assignments, please work with the student and/or SDRC to ensure the student has access to the accommodations without missing class material/discussion. Recommendations to make in-class quizzes accessible:
- Do the quizzes before class (if it is a 10 minute quiz, adjust the timer for the students with extended time, to start before the rest of the class) so all students have the same finish time.
- Do the quizzes towards the end of class (same start time, different finish times).
- Present the quiz as an in-class quiz, tell the class it is a 5-minute quiz, but you will get a window of 10 minutes to ensure those who require extended time get their needed accommodations, and then review the responses. Note: If you say, everyone gets 10 minutes, then those with the extended time accommodations are entitled to have their prescribed extension beyond the 10 minutes.
- Treat the quiz as a take-home assignment. Feel free to contact us a firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to consult about quizzes with accommodations, scheduling, etc.
What are my responsibilities to ensure student privacy?
Please ensure a student's disability status and information about their accommodations are kept private! Do not inquire or ask a student with a disability about their medical diagnosis, treatment, etc. Some students may share more personal information and some may overshare information. Do not take or accept medical documentation from a student if it is regarding a disability (including chronic health issues). This can create liability for you and the University, and it is best to refer the student to SDRC if they are seeking additional accommodation beyond what has been approved by SDRC.
Under FERPA, it is okay to let T.A.s and lecturers who have instructional responsibilties with the students with disabilities in your class(es) know which students should be receiving accommodations and the details of the accommodations. Please coach T.A.s on the importance of respecting individual student's privacy.
Accommodation provision information may be shared when necessary for the coordination or provision of accommodations.
- Can I share with the TA that a student receives SDRC accommodations?
How do I increase accessibility in an online course?
- If you have specific questions about a student needing accessible course material, please contact email@example.com
- Universal design increases accessibility and learning for all students
- Resources from UCR's XCITE Center for Teaching and Learning.
- Distance learning faculty resources are available from the University of Washington.
What resources are available for students with regards to online classes?
Students with disabilities may request disability-related accommodations at Student Disability Resource Center. If the student is approved for accommodations, a letter of accommodation may be provided to the faculty (if the student is wishing to have access to accommodations in that course). If you have questions about a letter of accommodation and how the accommodations apply to your online course, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- How are disability-related accommodations implemented in intructional or research laboratories?
Do academic courses that involve field experience, clinical work, practicums, etc. also mean SDRC-approved accommodations may be required?
Yes. If there is a student enrolled in the program and they have a need for a disability-related accommodation at these external sites, this will need to be reviewed by SDRC. The University has a legal obligation to ensure learning environments are accessible. If there is a barrier to access, SDRC will work the the faculty and host site to determine the barrier can be removed or if a modification may be made that doesn't fundamentally alter the experience as part of the course/degree program.
Do you have a sample syllabi statement I could use?
"UC Riverside is committed to providing equal access to learning opportunities to students with documented disabilities. To ensure access to this class, and your program, please contact the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) to engage in a confidential conversation about the process for requesting accommodations in courses, classrooms, labs, etc. More information is available at https://sdrc.ucr.edu. If you are a student registered with the SDRC, please ensure you send your accommodation letters to faculty through rability.ucr.edu each quarter/term."
For more information about designing an accessible course syllabus, please visit UW's Equal Access: Universal Design of Your Syllabus or UW's How can you integrate accessibility into your syllabus?
Can I convert my own documents into accessible media?
Yes! Currently, UCR is licensed to use SensusAccess for this feature. All you need is a ucr.edu email address to use this program. More information is available at SDRC SensusAccess.
What is accessible technology?
Accessible technology is a technology designed with the needs of the largest amount of users in mind, also known as universal design. It is technology with built-in customization features so that users can really individualize their experience to meet their needs.
Assistive technology is specifically designed to help a person with a disability to perform a task. Assistive technology alone will never guarantee access for people with disabilities. Accessing information in any form is only possible when that information is born accessible, designed with accessibility in mind.
Some technologies used by students at UC Riverside include, but are not limited to:
May students who are approved for audio-recording as an accommodation be told not to do so in class?
The short answer is generally "no". There are students who are approved to audio-record classes because SDRC has determined this is necessary given the nature of the disability and what the students requires as part of their learning process. This means the student is authorized by SDRC to use an audio-recording device, smart-pen, etc. to record the class lecture for their own personal academic use, during the current term. If information is being discussed during class in which the student is accountable for remembering, analyzing, and/or know for in future course assessments (projects, papers, exams), then the student needs to be able to audio-record the information. Students are informed they may not share or reproduce the recordings, and must destroy the recordings at the conclusion of the academic term. With the platforms that may be available for in-person or online courses, there are different options for meeting this accommodation. Please consult with SDRC if there are specific questions about this accommodation.
What if a student brings an animal into the learning environment (classroom, laboratory, field site, etc.) and indicates it is a service, support, or assistance animal?
There are differences between the types of animals used for disability-related reasons. These are defined by Federal and State regulations. UCR has a campus policy regarding assistive animals. For questions or concerns, regarding students and service dogs or other support animals, please contact the SDRC or visit SDRC's webpage on service/support animals.
What if I have an undergraduate or graduate student who is employed by my department and they need disability-related accommodations for their work responsibilities?
The Disability Management Office works with faculty and staff who are in need of employment-related accommodations. Undergraduate and graduate student employees would also work with this office to coordinate work-related accommodations. The Disability Management office may be reached through email at email@example.com.
The Disability Management Office and SDRC does consult with each other as needed when a UCR student has accommodation needs with both their campus employment and their academic program or other aspects of campus life.
What if a faculty or staff member needs a disability-related accommodation?
The Disability Management Office works with faculty and staff who are in need of employment-related accommodations. If you are in need of a disability-related accommodation yourself to do your work, you would work with this office to request and coordinate such accommodations. The Disability Management office may be reached through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most Common Accommodations and Definitions
American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreters
Used primarily by deaf and hard of hearing (DHOH) students, interpreters may be needed for classroom and/or course communication. Although we are in a primarily in-person instructional environment, sign language vendors continue to provide most of their services virtually. If you have a student(s) that requires this legally mandated accommdoation, SDRC will need to work with you and the student to implement the accommodation with available technology. Periodically, we may be able to obtain in-person interpreters for students. However, availability is extremely limited at this time.
Real-time Transcriptioning/Captioning (CART)
Used primarily by deaf and hard of hearing (DHOH) students, this accommodation may also be needed by students with other types of disabilities. Transcriptioner/captioners may be needed for classroom and/or course communication. Although we are in a primarily in-person instructional environment, CART vendors continue to provide most of their services virtually. If you have a student(s) that requires this legally mandated accommdoation, SDRC will need to work with you and the student to implement the accommodation with available technology. Periodically, we may be able to obtain in-person CART services for students. However, availability is extremely limited at this time.
Computer Use for Note Taking/Assignments
- Student may use their personal device for note taking
- Student may use their personal device (laptop) for in-class written assignments
Audio Record Lectures for Personal Use
- Student may use their own device to record lectures/discussions for personal use ONLY
- Recordings are not a substitute for attendance
- A note-sharing announcement will be emailed to the course instructor with information on recruiting a note taker
- Faculty will receive one (1) note taker announcement per student in the course requesting a note taker
- Note sharing is not a substitute for attendance
- If you believe that this accommodations does not apply to your course, please contact email@example.com for guidance
Peer Note Sharing and ONLINE Courses
- Video/audio recorded and captioned lectures decrease the need for a peer note taker
- Having the ability to pause, re-play, adjust volume, and/or read the lecture material improves accessibility and learning for all
- Some students may still need access to a note taker due to functional limitations in the areas of writing/typing
- Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance if you believe a note taker is not necessary in your online course
E-Text/Alternate Format for Course Materials
- Electronic version of textbooks and other course materials for accessibility
- When selecting your course text, please select text with alternative formats, and provide your text list to the bookstore as early as possible
- When an e-version is not available, SDRC can assist in identifying alternatives, which can take up to three weeks from the time the student makes the request for alternate media
- Please provide accessible, electronic versions of course readers and course materials
Student makes the request with SDRC and furniture is place in the classroom
The FM system consists of a transmitter microphone used by the speaker (such as the course instructor) and the receiver is used by the SWD
- Medical Disability Related Absence Agreement
Exam Accommodations: In-Class Timed Assessment
Reduced Distraction: Typically a small group testing environment, away from the typical classroom disruptions. Reduced distraction may be in a separate testing environment, away from the classroom, such as the SDRC testing rooms. Reduced distraction may also be achieved within the classroom (with the right environmental modifications).
Extended Testing Time: The amount of extended time for the student with the disability (SWD) is calculated from the time allotted to the class. If the class gets 50 minutes and the SWD is approved for 1.5x extended time, the SWD is allotted 75 minutes for the exam.
Exams in Alternate Format: Exams are converted from their original form to the specified form needed by the SWD. Alternate format exams my include, but are not limited to, electronic text to be used with various adaptive software, Braille, Tactile Graphics/Raised Lined Drawings, screen readers, screen magnifiers, large print, etc. Faculty can help SDRC in the creation of alternate format exams by submitting electronic versions of exams early. Some exam conversions can take a few days to complete.