Office of Student Life

Disability Services

Managing Accommodation Requests


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The Basics:



  1. After a student generates their Course Accessibility Letter for your course, you will receive their letter via email. You can also view and manage all accommodation requests in your courses using the Instructor Portal.

  2. Review the letter for the student's accommodations. If unsure of your responsibilities for that particular accommodation, review the instructions on this page.

  3. Collaborate with the student and our office to implement the accommodation in a timely manner. Consult with the student's Access Specialist if you have any concerns about the feasibility of an accommodation in your course.

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How to Use the Instructor Portal

The AIM Instructor Portal allows you to view and manage all student accommodations in your courses. Click here to view the tutorial for the instructor portal.

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Feasibility and Timing of Requests

Please view a student's accommodation letter as a conversation starter to determine how best to provide an accessible learning environment. If you have other ideas regarding how to create access for your course beyond what is listed in this letter, we encourage you to speak with the student to explore alternative modifications. You are also welcome to consult with our office to discuss course design, learning objectives and reasonable access options. 

If you have any concerns about the feasibility of an accommodation in your course, please contact us. We want to learn more about your course design and collaborate on a plan that works for everyone. Note: It is important to never deny a student's accommodation request without first consulting with our office. 

Students can register with SLDS and/or request accommodations in a course at any time during the semester. However, students are expected to make proactive requests within a reasonable timeframe. Accommodations are designed to be implemented at the point of request moving forward. Retroactive accommodations are typically only given at instructor discretion. We encourage you to consult with us when considering retroactive requests. 

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Shared Responsibilities Summary

Students are responsible for: 

  • communicating with their instructors and our office throughout the semester
  • requesting accommodations in a timely manner
  • following accommodation procedures and expectations (as outlined in the SLDS student handbook and website)

You (as the instructor) are responsible for: 

  • communicating with students and our office throughout the semester
  • implementing accommodations in a timely manner
  • consulting with us when you have questions or concerns about requested accommodations
  • maintaining student confidentiality

We (SLDS) are responsible for: 

  • approving/training registered students for using accommodations
  • providing services and accommodations in a timely manner
  • consulting with students and instructors on how to best implement accommodations
  • maintaining student confidentiality

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Exam Accommodations

What qualifies as an "exam" for exam accommodations?

Exam accommodations apply to timed quizzes, midterms, and finals. More specifically, exam accommodations apply to any timed written assessment that is designed to be completed in a single sitting and is graded for accuracy.

Exam accommodations typically do not apply to lab work, homework/projects, untimed "take-home style" exams which students can complete over multiple days, OSCEs, dissertations, or Law school exams longer than 8 hours. If a student requests for their exam accommodations to apply to anything on this list, please refer the student to their Access Specialist to discuss. 

Take-at-Home (Online) Exams

If your exam is designed for students to take at home utilizing Carmen or other virtual assessment method, students will not schedule these exams at SLDS, and you do not need to complete a Testing Agreement. Instead, you will adjust the student’s time allotted, availability window, and/or due dates accordingly. (see "Adding Extended Time in Carmen" section below for instructions)

In-Person Exams

If your exams are designed to be administered in-person, then student with accommodations will schedule their exams with SLDS.  If you are willing to proctor the exam with accommodations yourself, that is also an alternative option. As a result of SLDS operational changes, students will be able to schedule exams the class exam day +2 business days after, based on the date you specify on the Testing Agreement.

Policy Reminders for SLDS Exam Services

 To continue to meet growing demand with the available resources, we would like to remind you of the following operational procedures for exams:

  1. Seating Cap for Scheduling: Historically, SLDS has not limited the number of exams that could be scheduled at the same time. Going forward, students will only be able to schedule an exam in our AIM database if there truly is a seat available.
  2. 3-Day Scheduling Window: To implement the seat cap while meeting exam demand, SLDS will allow students to schedule their exams within a 3-day window (class exam day + 2 days after). Students are expected to schedule as close to their class time as possible, but due to the seat cap and scheduling conflicts this will not be feasible for all assessments. Faculty will be required to be flexible in allowing students to test within this 3-day window. Instructors may choose to create different versions of their exam (of equivalent difficulty). This scheduling window DOES NOT apply to final exams during the university's finals week. 
  3. Start Times on the Half-Hour: To maximize efficiency of available seats, SLDS will require exam start times to be scheduled on half-hour increments (10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m.). SLDS will also implement a plus or minus 15-minute grace period for check-ins to accommodate students’ travel time or class conflicts.

Many instructors have developed new and innovative ways to assess student learning without using timed exams. SLDS strongly encourages instructors and departments to continue this practice, following the principles of Universal Design for Learning. While UDL does not eliminate the need for all accommodations, it can create a more accessible and inclusive educational experience for all students.

Instructors or departments that are not amicable to these operations are welcome to proctor their own accommodated exams in-house. Instructors or departments are always welcome to consult with SLDS staff to discuss other assessment strategies or in-department proctoring options.

Instructor Responsibilities:

  • Complete a Testing Agreement (see instructions below).
  • Submit exam materials to SLDS by 3 p.m. the business day before the exam via uploading to the Instructor Portal(see instructions below).
  • If the in-person exam is delivered via Carmen/ExamSoft: adjust the time allotted, availability windows, and due dates directly in Carmen/ExamSoft accordingly (see instructions below).
  • Be available for student questions or troubleshooting while testing at SLDS.

Completing a Testing Agreement:

  1. Login to the Instructor Portal.

  2. Click the “Continue to View Student Accommodations” button to continue to the “Overview” page. This page lists the students who have requested accommodations in your classes.

  3. Click the “Alternative Testing” link on the left side of the screen.

  4. Within the “Specify Alternative Testing Agreement” box, select the course with the section number from the drop-down menu.

  5. Click the “Continue to Specify Alternative Agreement” button.

  6. Once all questions are complete, click the “Submit Alternative Testing Agreement” button.

  7. A green check mark will appear on the screen to confirm your submission.

  8. If you'd like to copy the Testing Agreement content for another course section: use the drop-down menus and "Copy to" button.

If you need to edit the Testing Agreement:

  1. Select the course/section number from the "List Alternative Testing Agreement" drop down menu.

  2. Click the "View" button

  3. Make your edits and click the "Update Alternative Testing Agreement" button when finished.

  4. A green check mark will appear on the screen to confirm your submission.

Uploading Exam Materials to AIM:

  1. Login to the Instructor Portal.

  2. Click “Alternative Testing” on the left side of the screen. 

  3. Under “Step 2 – Select from the following Courses”, select each student who should receive the exam. If you are using different versions of an exam by day or random assignment, be sure to only select the applicable students for each file upload. If a student is not listed, they have not scheduled their exam at SLDS. 

  4. Click the “Step 3 – Confirmation” button.

  5. In the “File Information” box, click the “Choose File” button to select the exam file. 

  6. Click the “Upload Exam” button.

  7. A green check mark will appear on the screen to confirm your submission.

Adding Extended Time in Carmen  

First, confirm the student's extended time multiplier. You can view an individual student’s multiplier by checking their Course Accessibility Letter (sent via email). To view the extended time multipliers for all of your students, login to the Instructor Portal and click the gray button: “Courses with Eligibility” to download an Excel spreadsheet.

Next, apply the student's extended time using the Moderate Quiz function (for Classic Quizzes) or (for New Quizzes)

  1. Once your quiz is published, look at the quiz page (From the list of quizzes, click the link for the quiz, but don't click the button to edit it).   

  2. Along the right-hand side, you will see the option to Moderate this Quiz.  From here you can see quiz progress and, depending on your settings, give additional attempts or additional time.

  3. If you have set your quiz to have a limited testing window, you must also adjust the availability window and/or due dates so that they do not conflict with your student's extended time. 
    • For example, if you have a 60-minute quiz only available to take from 2 p.m. - 3:15 p.m., then for a student with 1.5x extended time you would need to both (1) change the time allotted to 90 minutes and (2) adjust the availability window and due date to end at 3:45 p.m. If the student has a scheduling conflict (e.g. their next synchronous class starts at 3:30 p.m.), you would need to further adjust the availability window so that the student's accommodated exams do not conflict with their other classes.

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Notetaking Support  

Use of Personal Notetaking Technology/Apps 

Notetaking technologies allow students with disabilities to more efficiently take notes in class. If you have a no-tech or no-recording policy in your course, please make an exception for students with this accommodation. Students sign an SLDS agreement that recordings are for their personal use only and that they are not to share the recordings. They also understand that doing so would be against SLDS procedures and a potential violation of the Code of Student Conduct.

Access to Lecture Slides in Advance  

This accommodation benefits a student's notetaking in two ways: (1) students can review the slides prior to class to prime themselves for the content, and (2) using the slides as an outline, students can focus their notetaking on adding on supplemental information from the lecture. With this in mind, please communicate with the student how they can receive advance access to the lecture slides.

Peer Notetaking Services (Synchronous Courses Only)

The purpose of a notetaker is to assist students in capturing real-time course content, such as in a traditional lecture. Therefore, you should only recruit a notetaker in your course if it has synchronous class meetings. Courses that are asynchronous (e.g. pre-recorded lectures) typically present no barriers for students to capture content independently. If a student is requesting a notetaker for your asynchronous course, please first consult with us.

How to Recruit a Notetaker: 

  1. Make note of the name and email address of the SLDS-registered student who made the request. You will need to reference this information after identifying a notetaker. 

  2. If there is not already an established notetaker in the class, make an announcement to the class (both during class and via email/Carmen) to recruit a notetaker. Please do NOT reveal the name of the student with a disability. We suggest saying: "Disability Services is recruiting a volunteer to be a notetaker for this course. Being a notetaker is an opportunity to help Disability Services provide equal access to a college education for all students. As a notetaker, you’ll be emailing a copy of your notes after each class period. You will be compensated either with a stipend $25 per credit hour or by receiving a certificate of your volunteer hours. If you are interested, please contact me ASAP and include in your message whether or not you currently have an on-campus job.)"

  3. Select a notetaker within 3 business days.
    • If you get one volunteer: please select them.
    • If you get multiple volunteers: university policy requires that you prioritize choosing a student who does NOT have an on-campus job.
    • If you get no volunteers: please make a second announcement at the next class meeting. If you still get no volunteers, please notify the student’s Access Specialist. They can briefly join your next class meeting to directly recruit someone. 

  4. Provide the notetaker with the link to the SLDS “Note-Taker Instructions” page (  

  5. If you receive any more peer notetaking requests in this course, the same notetaker should be assigned to all requesting students. SLDS is only able to compensate one notetaker per course section. A notetaker's stipend is based on the credit hours for the course and stays the same regardless of the number of students for whom they provide notes.

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Intermittent Flex Plan (formerly "ADM Agreements")

Due to unpredictable flare-ups of their disability, this student is approved for a reasonable amount of flexibility with excused absences, make-up exams, deadline extensions, and participation points. Each course has its own unique design and learning outcomes. Therefore, this accommodation requires careful consideration and an open dialogue between the student, instructor, and SLDS. This accommodation is NOT intended to provide unlimited flexibility nor be automatically applied to all assignments. 

If this is your first experience with Intermittent Flex Plans, please review our instructor guidance. All instructors are welcome to consult with us about the particulars of your course and what level of flexibility makes sense. Instructors are welcome to consult with SLDS ( about the particulars of your course and what level of flexibility makes sense.

Creating an Intermittent Flex Plan for your Course

  1. After receiving your first flex plan request, complete the online flex plan form ( You only need to complete 1 form per course (or 1 per course section, if your syllabus policies vary between sections). Instructors may choose to fill out the form proactively at the beginning of the semester.
    • NOTE: No student meeting is required prior to completing the form. Because the flex plan is based in the curriculum and could apply to any eligible student in the course, individual student conversations are not necessary prior to completing the form. While you are welcome to encourage students to meet with you to discuss accommodations, it should not be a prerequisite to you completing the flex plan form. 

  2. After completing the Qualtrics form, you will receive a confirmation email with your responses, faculty instructions, and student instructions. This confirmation email functions as the flex plan.

  3. As you receive Course Accessibility Letters for students in your course, please individually forward the flex plan confirmation email to each student who requests a flex plan. Alternatively, you can upload the confirmation email to Carmen and refer any student eligible for the flex plan to it. Do NOT send the plan to multiple students at once, as this would violate student confidentiality. 

  4. Students may follow up with you with questions or contact SLDS if they need individualized adjustments to the flex plan. 

Default Plan Option

While completing the flex plan form, you may choose to opt-in to SLDS’s “default flex plan”. The default plan outlines a baseline of flexibility that should work for many traditional lecture courses. We encourage you to create custom flex plans for courses with significant hands-on or interactive components, such as labs and clinical. The default plan is as follows: 

  • Attendance (if graded): 50% additional excused absences 
  • Participation (if graded): Asynchronous opportunity to make up points (e.g. written contribution, reading summary) 
  • Quizzes/Exams (if date-specific): Makeup opportunity within 1 week 
  • Deadlines (for solo assignments): Extend up to 3 days 

Parameters for Intermittent Flex Plans 

  • Troubleshooting/Conflict: Under no circumstances are students solely responsible for the resolution of conflicts arising from disability-related absences. Please contact SLDS if a conflict or disagreement occurs. 

  • Documentation and Communication: The need for a student’s flex plan has been documented through Disability Services; no additional medical documentation is needed. If your course policy requires medical documentation for an excused absence, make-up exam, etc., the student's Course Accessibility Letter should serve as sufficient documentation. The student is still expected to maintain prompt and regular communication with you as flare-ups occur throughout the semester. While proactive notice is strongly encouraged, that may not always be possible given the nature of a student's acute episode. It is permissible to require notice within 24 hours of the missed class/assignment.

  • Makeup Exams: Makeup exams of equivalent difficulty must be offered to students with flex plans, even if the course policy is to drop the lowest exam or offer a comprehensive makeup exam at the end of the semester. While a student may choose to opt-in to these alternative options, an equivalent makeup exam must be on the table. 

  • Asynchronous Weekly Participation Assignments: While flex plans do cover deadline extensions for most types of homework, they do not typically apply to asynchronous weekly participation assignments. By that we mean short discussion board posts, 5 minute Carmen quizzes, or other coursework common to online classes which are open for the whole week and require very little time to complete. Students are expected to complete these assignments within their standard timeframes. However, if a student has extenuating circumstances (e.g. hospitalization), they should contact you and their Access Specialist so that we can discuss the situation on a case-by-case basis. 

  • Falling Behind: If at any point students’ symptoms worsen to the point that they are falling behind and are unable to meet the terms of your flex plan, please contact the student’s Access Specialist. We can work together with the student to determine the best path forward. 

  • Carmen Quizzes:  If you have Carmen quizzes and a student is also eligible for extended testing time (e.g. 1.5x extended time), you still need to adjust their quiz time limit accordingly

Note: Flex plans are NOT intended to provide...

  • Unlimited flexibility. Almost all classes have a limit to the amount of flexibility possible, based on the course design.

  • Automatic flexibility. Flexibility should only be applied in the event of a disability-related acute episode or essential medical treatment. 

  • Flexibility for perfectionism, avoidance coping, executive functioning, or chronic limits on daily productivity (i.e. spoons theory). If these issues are impacting a student's academics, please refer them to their SLDS Access Specialist to discuss alterative accommodations and available resources.

One-Off Flexibility as Needed; Remain-in-Class Plans 

With these new ADM options, no proactive plan is needed. An Access Specialist will contact you in the event as student needs one-off flexibility (for a recently stable condition) or a remain-in-class plan (for a prolonged acute episode or medical treatment). 

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Accessible Media  

Students approved for accessible media require course materials in alternative formats, such as electronic text or captioned videos. Our Accessible Media team is proactively working with instructors to ensure that print materials you provide to our team are made accessible.  We work with you to ensure that Deaf/Hard of Hearing students have captions for prerecorded videos and that interpreting/transcribing services are available for real-time class meetings. The team also proactively works with instructors of blind students to discuss accessibility strategies.

If you have students in your course who are utilizing accessible media, please notify our Accessible Media Team of any added materials by contacting slds-altmedia@osu.eduYou can also contact us with any questions or material conversion requests.

For tips on creating accessible courses in Carmen, visit the Teaching and Learning Resource Center. The Digital Accessibility Center provides additional resources and can direct you to your college or unit's Digital Access Coordinator

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 Deaf/Hard of Hearing Access  

Includes Interpreting/Transcribing Services, Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs), and captioned videos 

Upon student request, we will provide a sign language interpreter or transcriber for any real-time class meetings, regardless of modality. We will reach out to instructors to discuss best practices in utilizing interpreting and transcribing services in the virtual classroom setup. If you will be screen-sharing videos during class, or assigning videos to watch outside of class, these videos must include captions. Please contact with any questions or material conversion requests.

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 Participation Access  

Includes alternative method for class participation or presentations; audio descriptions for visual content; breaks during class; food/water medicine in the classroom; lab assistant; spelling error flexibility; and voluntary contributions during class 

Accommodations in this group may modify how a student participates and contributes to the learning environment due to a disability-related barrier. Different modes of instruction can present different barriers and disability-related concerns for students. If a student requests this accommodation in your course, please reach out to them to discuss their specific concerns and how these accommodation/s could best be implemented. For questions or consultation, contact SLDS. 

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Animals, Disability-Related

There are three types of disability-related animals that may accompany university community members on campus: service dogs, emotional support animals (ESA), and visiting therapy animals. Each type has its own distinct purpose and set of qualifications for being on campus. To learn more, review the following document: "Disability-Related Animals on Campus: Summary of University Policy."

You may see one of the following related accommodations on a student's Course Accessibility Letter:

  • Service Dog Notification: This student has a trained service dog for their disability. While prior notice is not required, the student has opted to add this notification to their letter. A service dog is generally permitted to go wherever their handler (ie. the student) is allowed to go. Service dogs are trained to be attentive and non-disruptive. Please do not attempt to pet, talk to, or otherwise distract the service dog. Remember: the dog is working.  If you have questions or concerns about this notification, please contact us.

  • Emotional Support Animal (ESA) permitted in the classroom: While ESA's are usually only approved for housing facilities, this specific student has been approved to bring their ESA to the classroom. Part of the approval process involved reviewing behavioral expectations with the student. The ESA’s behavior is considered an extension of the student’s behavior and should not be disruptive. For more information, please contact us.

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