"When education is the practice of freedom, students are not the only ones who are asked to share, to confess. Engaged pedagogy does not seek simply to empower students. Any classroom that employs a holistic model of learning will also be a place where teachers grow, and are empowered by the process. That empowerment cannot happen if we refuse to be vulnerable while encouraging students to take risks." - bell hooks

Disability Services is committed to making reasonable, effective and appropriate accommodations to meet the needs of students with disabilities and help create a barrier free campus. Faculty members are poised to play a critical role in assisting in the removal of barriers for students with disabilities, and are often called upon to provide classroom accommodations directly. Each student who is eligible for an ADA accommodation and is registered with Disability Services may request academic adjustments. Accommodations are determined by consultation between students and an Access Coordinator on an individual basis. 

Disability Services relies on timely information and communication from Instructors to put accommodations in place.  

Please plan to: 

  • Provide syllabus info on SPIRE with as much information as possible regarding texts, media use, instructor contact information and location when the class is added for registration. ISBN numbers for texts, media links and due dates are very helpful. This information is crucial for DS to obtain alternate formats of texts, captions, audio descriptions and proper interpreter preparation, which can take several weeks to prepare. 
  • Provide any notes you have on the LMS or the course website. Students will use Glean for Education (Glean) an AI transcription service that provides students easy access to taking notes. In some instances, Glean won't be an appropriate tool for note taking, in those instances, DS can provide you an announcement to be made in class or placed on the syllabus to assist in recruiting student note takers. DS provides 1 P/F practicum credit or 45 hours of community service as an incentive and handles all administrative set up, simply refer interested note takers to us here. If you are opposed to students using Glean in your classroom, please inform us by sharing your full name and the course info (e.x. HIST 100, Section 2) to notes@umass.edu. DS will request each student assigned Glean provide a signed 'Glean agreement for recording' document that clarified the student may not share or post class content, hinder the instructors access to copyright or a classmates right to participation.
  • Provide 5 business days notice of any remote exams that will require the assistance of the Exam Proctoring Center (EPC) and ensure the EPC receives your exam by noon the day prior and 3 days in advance for Final Exams. Book finals by April 22, 2024.
  • Obtain captioned materials for use in the course or provide captions for media. (Closed Captions should always be utilized on media but must be provided if an accommodation need is determined in your course and on all public facing web content).
  • Communicate questions or concerns with DS as soon as possible.  Access delayed may be considered access denied, in the eyes of the law.

Additional examples of accommodations an instructor can provide include: 

  • Implement universal design principles in the planning of course instruction.
  • Organize distraction reduced settings and extended time for exams for your class.
  • Make room for an interpreter(s) at the front of the class, in the sight line of the student or remotely, provide them quick access to LMS resources and include them in zoom classes.
  • Wear a lapel mic when requested for communication access and restate questions posed from the class.
  • Prepare visual media files in advance of your class. When you have a Blind/Low vision student in class who need audio descriptions as an accommodation, all visual media files must have audio descriptions utilized. If audio descriptions are not available, have the media audio described by a vendor. Make a habit of using descriptive language.
  • Agree to sign off on requests for audio or visual recordings of a class for the full inclusion of a student's accommodation need.
  • Provide clean text information for scanning to alternate formats.
  • Allow for flexibility when students must take exams at the proctoring center, particularly for night exams that must be taken during the day.
  • Familiarize oneself on how to make accessible course materials. Here are a few resources: Universal Design: Process, Principles, and Applications, Introduction to Web Accessibility. The Center for Teaching & Learning & The Instructional Media Lab and IDEAS Team also serve as resources. 
  • Understand that due to a limited amount of accessible classroom space available on campus, particularly large auditoriums, classes may need to be moved with little advance notice to accommodate a need and communicating the room change to their students in a timely manner.