Academic Accommodations

Students seeking academic accommodations must first register with the Office of Accessibility Resources (OAR). Eligibility for academic adjustments and modifications are determined through an interactive process between the student and the Director of Accessibility Resources during which the intersection of the disability and the academic environment will be discussed.   Following this discussion, a Letter of Accommodation will be developed and given to the student to provide to instructors.  The Letter of  Accommodation serves as verification that the student has a disability and outlines the reasonable accommodations to be implemented by faculty. While faculty will be expected to assist with the provision of accommodations when reasonable and necessary, they are not expected to compromise essential elements of the course or evaluation standards. The Letter of Accommodation also invites students and/or faculty to contact OAR if there are concerns or questions about the provision of accommodations.

Following the initial semester students register with OAR, they must request accommodations each subsequent semester either in person (for those requesting new accommodations only) or through on online form. A link on the left menu bar will direct registered students to Request Academic Accommodations for the current or upcoming semester.

 The following section highlights some of the accommodations that have been requested by our students. The list is certainly not exhaustive and OAR encourages all students to meet with OAR to discuss other reasonable accommodations.

Accommodations

Extended Time for Exams

  • Extended time for exams means that the student is given “time and a half” to complete the exam (i.e., for a 50-minute exam, a student with this accommodation is given 75 minutes). Time and a half is the standard accommodation at the post-secondary level.
  • Double time for exams means that the student is given twice as long to complete an exam (i.e., for a 60-minute exam, the student with this accommodation is given 120 minutes). Double time is considered for students who have demonstrated that time and a half is not sufficient to provide access.

Guidance for the instructor:

  • The Office of Accessibility Resources (OAR) strongly encourages instructors to proctor extended time exams if their schedules allow for it.
  • An accommodation for a "distraction-reduced testing setting" does not mean "private" testing setting. It simply means a space that minimizes visual and auditory distractions.
  • Instructors should schedule extended time directly before or immediately after a scheduled exam time, during office hours, or at any other mutually agreed upon time and location, provided that this arrangement does not interfere with the student's course schedule. Instructors are not required to schedule exams around any student activity that is unrelated to a course, job or mandatory team sport.
  • If instructors are able to proctor the exam, but are unsure of what that entails, please contact OAR for assistance at 508-565-1306 or accessibility-resources@stonehill.edu.
  • Instructors who are unable to proctor exams should direct students to OAR to complete an Exam Accommodation Request Form. OAR will coordinate a proctored exam in our Testing Center located in MacPhaidin Library Room 106. 

Guidance for the student:

  • It is the student’s responsibility to self-advocate, and to make arrangements with his or her instructors at least 3 business days in advance of a quiz, exam or other assessment.
  • If the instructor is unable to proctor the exam, the student must fill out an Exam Accommodations Form with the instructor, and submit the form to the OAR at least 3 business days prior to the scheduled exam date. Prior notice is essential so that OAR can schedule a proctor.  If advance notice is not provided, OAR cannot guarantee that proctoring will be available which may result in the student not being able to use the accommodation(s).

Distraction-Reduced Setting For Exams

  • Based upon the nature of the disability, a student may require a distraction-reduced environment in which to take an exam.
  • Instructors may administer their exams before or after class, during office hours or through a staff assistant to administer the exam with the separate setting accommodation provided this arrangement does not interfere with the student's course schedule. Instructors are not required to schedule exams around any student activity that is unrelated to a course, job or mandatory team sport. 
  • If the instructor is able to proctor the student’s exam but unsure what that entails, please contact the OAR for further instruction.
  • If the exam is unable to be proctored by the instructor due to scheduling conflicts, the student is responsible for contacting the OAR to make exam accommodations arrangements
  • To take an exam at ODS; the student is responsible for filling out an Exam Accommodations Form with their instructor, and submitting this form to  OAR at least 3 business days prior to the scheduled exam date. Prior notice is essential so that OAR can schedule a proctor.  If advance notice is not provided, OAR cannot guarantee that proctoring will be available which may result in the student not being able to use the accommodation(s).
  • The Office of Disability Services strongly discourages the allowance of “time intervals” while taking an exam (i.e., allowing a student to begin an exam, leave to attend another class, and return to complete the exam). Exams should be completed during the initial administration of the exam.

Use of a Computer for an Exam

  • When appropriate, a student will be permitted the use of a computer to take an exam or to complete an in-class assignment. In most cases, the student will be limited to the word processing function of the computer for the exam.
  • Under no circumstances is the student permitted to view files or connect to the internet while taking the exam.
  • If a student is seeking to utilize a computer on their exam, it is the student’s responsibility to submit an Exam Accommodation Request form to the OAR at least 3 business days prior to the scheduled exam date. Prior notice is essential so that OAR can schedule a proctor.  If advance notice is not provided, OAR cannot guarantee that proctoring will be available which may result in the student not being able to use the accommodation(s).
  • To take a proctored exam through OAR,  the student is responsible for filling out an Exam Accommodations Form with their instructor, and submitting this form at least 3 business days prior to scheduled exam date.

Peer Note Taker

  • OAR will request that the professor help to identify a peer note taker in the class. The note taker will need to meet with the OAR Director to review responsibilities. The peer note taker receives a gift card at the end of the semester as a thank you for assisting with note taking services.  

Permission to Audio Record Lectures

  • Under certain circumstances, a student will be allowed to record lectures during class. This accommodation is not intended for discussion based classes or when there is a heavy student participation component.
  • A student is required to inform the instructor of this accommodation prior to the first day of recording. The student is responsible for bringing a recording device to class.
  • If important information from the course is provided in other formats (i.e written instructions, videos, instructor's notes, power point slides) then the accommodation needs may be met by these other forms of communication.

Reader/Scribe for Exams

  • Students who are unable to read or write their exam independently due to either a neurological, physical or visual disability, may require assistance reading/writing.  However,  OAR encourages students to use assistive technology for this purpose as a better way to ensure that their work is completed independently.  If assistive technology (i.e. Kurzweil, Dragon) is not an available or appropriate option given the circumstances, OAR can assist with locating a scribe.
  • It is the student's responsibility to complete an Exam Accommodations Form with their instructor for this accommodation. The student is required to submit the Exam Accommodations Form to OAR at least 3 business days prior to the scheduled exam date. Prior notice is essential so that OAR can schedule a proctor. If advance notice is not provided, OAR cannot guarantee that a reader/scribe will be available which may result in the student not being able to use the accommodation(s).

Interpreters/Transcribers

  •    OAR will consider a students preference and history when determining accommodations related to communication needs. An interpreter/transcriber is simply one who bridges the gap between the spoken and Deaf world. When the teacher or a classmate speaks, the interpreter/transcriber translates the spoken words into the language preferred by the Deaf or hard of hearing student.   The student likewise participates in the classroom by signing or typing the information and the interpreter voices it (talks) for the class. The interpreter is not meant to be a participant in the classroom, but a communication facilitator, making sure that communication is easily accessible for the deaf and hearing populations equally.  

Closed Captioning

  •  All DVD’s, video tapes, streaming digital media, video files and other course materials that include an audio portion should be captioned. If captioning is not available, a transcript of the audio must be provided before the media is used. Uncaptioned materials cannot be assigned as a course requirement. 

Preferential Seating Arrangement

  • While seating in most college classrooms are unassigned, a student may need to sit in a certain area of the classroom in order to have equal access to information. The student's need-based preference will be considered. Students who have limited hearing, vision or difficulty with attention, distraction or an ability to focus will typically need to sit as close to the instructor as possible.

Laptop for Note Taking

  • When appropriate, a student will be permitted to use a laptop in class to support their note taking efforts.

Use of a Calculator

  • Permission to use a calculator for basic math functions may be permitted unless the instructor determines that basic computational skills without the use of a calculator is essential to the course. In other words, if a test or assignment is designed to measure the student’s ability to perform functions a calculator would perform then this accommodation is inappropriate.

Extensions on Coursework Accommodation

  •    Ordinarily, students with disabilities will be expected to complete all course assignments on time, based on the schedule in the course syllabus, and will plan accordingly.
  •  Depending on the specific nature of students’ disabilities, they may on occasion, require a reasonable extension on the due dates of some course assignments.
  •    If a student with a disability is unable to meet a particular deadline due to unforeseen or extenuating circumstances, it is the student’s responsibility to request an extension from the professor in advance of the scheduled due date.
  •    Any extension will be granted on an individual basis by the professor for a specific assignment and not as a blanket allowance for all assignments.
  •    The guideline for any extension should be a reasonable accommodation at the professor’s discretion, should be time limited, and not at the expense of the integrity of the essentials of the course plan.
  •    A professor is not required to give an extension on coursework that would fundamentally alter the curriculum of the course. If a professor has questions as to whether or not this accommodation would change the course curriculum, they are encouraged to speak with OAR.

Classroom Assistant

  • A Classroom Assistant is a current student that has been hired and trained by OAR. The Assistant will attend all classes with the student and assist with academic tasks. These tasks may include, but are not limited to:
    • Provide copies of notes
    • Scan course materials
    • Computer navigation
    • Scribe
    • Exam/quiz proctoring
    • Organize academic materials 
    • The Classroom Assistant will report to the Director of OAR and will submit a weekly report.
    • The Classroom Assistant is not responsible to attend to personal care needs. 

Personal Care Attendant

  • Some students require the services of a Personal Care Attendant (PCA) who may, or may not be in attendance in the classroom.
  • The PCA is employed by the student.
  • The PCA is required to follow Stonehill College policies and procedures.
  • The PCA may assist with personal care needs in the classroom but may not assist with academic needs. It is the not the responsibility of the PCA to be an academic advocate. It is the College’s responsibility to provide reasonable academic accommodations that do not alter the course of study.
  • The PCA is expected to allow the student to take responsibility for his/her own actions, avoid speaking on behalf of the student, and refrain from discussing confidential information with others.

Electronic Format of Course Material

  •  Course materials, including syllabus, handouts, rubrics, and copies of power point presentations, shoould be sent to the student electronically.

Assistive Listening Device

  • ALDs usually refers to a type of wireless system that helps people better understand speech in noisy situations.  The ALD will be provided by OAR unless the student prefers to use his/her own personal device. The student will provide the instructor with an transmitter microphone to wear during class via clip-on or lavaliere, or the transmitter is placed in the middle of the group (picking up speech from all around). The student is responsible for storing the device.
  • Using harmless radio waves, the FM system sends speech signal(s) to the listener, who wears a tiny FM receiver behind the ear.

Access to teacher handouts, slides, overheads

  • Having access to handouts is needed either because a student needs to have the extra time to read them, in advance of class, or they may be beneficial to a student who is not able to access the course information by recording lectures. Materials are posted to eLearn suffice in meeting the needs of the student with this accommodation.

Extended time on in-class assignments  

  • Some students due to their disability may require additional time on any in-class writing.  OAR recommends that the faculty member and the student work out how to best handle this situation directly.  If there are any questions, please feel free to contact OAR. This accommodations would not apply to an online course requirement where the assignment is essentialy completed at home over a pre-determined period of time.

Movement Breaks  

  • Some students with medical conditions may need to leave the class if problems due to their medical condition occur.  It is recommended that students who have issues during class, email or contact their instructor as soon as possible after the incident occurs keeping in mind that it is the student's responsibility to make up any missed work.  If this happens continuously, OAR recommends that the instructor talk with the student and also talk with OAR to determine appropriate action.

Personal Care Attendant

  • Some students with significant medical or physical disabilities may require a personal care attendant to travel with them.  Depending on the needs of the student, the attendant may or may not sit with the person in class.

No Scantron 

  • Some students due to visual processing issues or visual disabilities, may not be able to transfer their answers to a scantron.  In this case, we ask that the student be able to answer directly on the test.  If this is not possible, please contact OAR to determine what other options might be available.

No Penalty for Spelling Errors

  • The use of a spellchecker will help this student and may help the grader by making tests easier to read. If a spellchecker is not able to discern more technical terminology, then it may be appropriate to not penalize for spelling errors.  If the function of the test or assignment includes measuring spelling ability, this accommodation may not be appropriate.

Alternative Format Course Materials  

  • Students who are blind or low vision will need to have any materials that are needed for the class available in an appropriate alternative format (large print, braille, electronic) so that they have access to the same information as other students.  Many times documents can be emailed to them directly from the professor.
  • Students with a variety of disabilities including, but not limited to, Blind or low vision, physical disabilities and learning disabilities, may require their books to be produced in an alternative format (electronic, large print or Braille).  This process takes time.  Therefore, it is critically important for students to get their books into OAR before they go home for the break at the end of the semester.  Faculty can help by getting their book lists into the bookstore early.