Accessibility Support Process

What do you do when a student with a disability enrolls in your course and requests accommodations? What kind of accommodations might be necessary for an online course?

Overview of the process

This graphic provides an overview of the support process starting when a student first provides documentation with the Disability Resource Center (DRC) for specific accommodations.

Student self-identifies with disability to DRC



DRClogoThe Disability Resource Center (located in Dodge Hall) supports both onground and online faculty and students in overseeing accommodations for students with all types of disabilities.  The DRC can coordinate access to Real-Time Captioning (CART), enabling students with hearing disabilities or difficulties access to multimedia materials, as well as other accommodations according to the needs of the students.

For more information on the process of supporting a student with a disability at NU Online, read the Accessibility Support Process- Online Courses.

What kind of accommodations might be requested for an online course?

Extended time on tests: With the recent updates to Blackboard, instructors can now easily extend time for students right in the Test Availability Exceptions section in Test Options.

Text equivalent for any multimedia:  Providing captions for video materials; transcript for any audio. As much as possible, faculty should determine in advance that videos used in class are captioned. This is especially important when a student with a hearing disability requests captioned videos.

Real-time captioning (CART) is a method where captions are simultaneously prepared and transmitted at the time of origination by specially trained real-time captioners using a stenotype machine. The stenotype machine is connected to a computer with software that translates stenographic shorthand into words in caption formats and standard spellings.

Alternative format materials: e-text, large print.  The DRC may assist with helping students find textbooks in accessible formats such as digital copies in which text can be enlarged, listened to with assistive technology, or converted into Braille.


Q: How will I know if one of my students has a disability?

A:  Students must disclose to their instructor if they want to be able to use the accommodations they have been granted.  Disclosure is in the form of a Professor Notification Letter (PNL) emailed to you from the Disability Resource Center.

Q: What does the Professor Notification Letter consist of and do I need to sign it?

A:  You will receive the Professor Notification Letter (PNL) by email. Here is a sample letter that verifies that the student is registered with the DRC and is eligible to receive accommodations.   You do not need to sign the PNL, but it is important that you acknowledge receipt of it with the DRC.     Sample DRC Letter – Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students Online Classes

Q: What if I am teaching a hybrid course and one of my students needs an interpreter for my lectures?

A:  Students with hearing disabilities are directed to fill out DRC’s online request form for a Sign Language Interpreter for upcoming classes in advance.

Q: Do I need to worry about accessibility if I don’t have a student with a disability requesting accommodation?

A:  Building your course materials with accessibility in mind benefits multiple audiences. It is easier to build it when you are adding/creating content for your course than to get a last-minute request for a captioned version of the video you posted two weeks ago.