Tips for Facilitating Accommodations

If you have any questions, at any time about working with a student with a disability, please contact the CEA office by emailing us at or by phone at 479-575-3104. We are happy to work with any faculty or instructor. Best practice:

  • Invite students with disabilities to meet with you privately to discuss their accommodation needs.
  • Review their accommodation letters with them. Discuss how accommodations are to be facilitated and follow up the discussion with an email.
  • Have all course materials available several weeks in advance of their use, particularly for students who utilize converted text (e.g., audio format). see point 4 Accessible Course Materials below for more details.
  • Provide outlines and/or copies of overheads or Microsoft PowerPoint presentations on a course website or Blackboard.
  • Identify a potential note-taker for your course (note: you will be contacted by the CEA office by email if one is needed). see point 3. Note-Taking Services below for more details.
  • Identify potential alternative testing locations in advance for students who need extended time and a distraction-reduced testing environment. See point 1. Test/Quiz accommodations for more details.
  • Consult with CEA on access concerns (including website and PDF accessibility).

1. Test/Quiz Accommodations

Given campus-wide space, staffing and safety restrictions, the Center for Educational Access (CEA) Test Center’s capacity is critically limited. As a result, the CEA Test Center will only be available to assist faculty with proctoring students who have more complex test accommodations (e.g. unique assistive software/technology needs).

Faculty will be responsible for facilitating basic accommodations such as extended time, distraction-reduced testing environment, brief breaks, etc., in accordance with APS 1520.20. For this reason, faculty should strongly consider administering online exams taken remotely with a flexible exam window for all students. This will allow faculty to easily facilitate basic accommodations, will reduce the need for large gatherings, and will ensure legal compliance by facilitating test/quiz accommodations in a timely manner. Faculty may consult with CEA about unique circumstances and alternative test proctoring options.

Extended time in Blackboard:

Extended time can be easily facilitated in Blackboard. For information on how to program extended time into Blackboard, please review Blackboard Tips for instructions on how to program extra time into Blackboard.

Assistive Software:

Use of Assistive Software – For Reading

  • Students using text-to-speech assistive technology for reading now have two options ReadSpeaker or Read&Write (Windows OS only).


  • ReadSpeaker Suite of Learning Tools is available to all faculty, staff, and students within the Blackboard Learning Management System only.
  • No downloads or installation necessary.
  • This text-to-speech feature also works within the Respondus LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor


  • Read&Write (R&W) is very useful outside of the Blackboard environment. It works with other programs like MS Applications, Websites (with the Chrome browser plugin), and Acrobat Reader to read out loud text-based information.
  • For students using Windows operating system, R&W will work with Respondus LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor. Students must open Read&Write Before opening Lock Down Browser.

2. Lectures

If lecture content is being delivered via video presentations or web conferencing sessions, we encourage faculty to record and post those lectures for viewing outside of “class time.”  Many students have unexpected barriers arise that may limit their ability to log in, listen and take notes during the scheduled class time.  For example, students experience technical difficulties, visual and auditory processing limitations, an exacerbation of chronic health or psychiatric limitations, and they may be distracted as a result of caring for a child or family member during this time.

3. Note-Taking Services

Although online students might have access to recordings and text in their course, some students will still require note-taking services. In an online environment, examples of when note-taking might be needed include: 

  • Audio files that do not include a transcript. 
  • Videos (lectures, presentations, etc.) that do not include captions; however, even when they include captions, there may be times when note-taking is required. If a transcript can be made available, this will suffice. 
  • Live web conferencing sessions where there is no transcription available. 

CEA will contact you if a note-taker is needed. For courses with a note-taker already assigned, CEA has already requested that the note-taker continue uploading notes.

4. Accessible Course Materials & Educational Documents

When creating new course materials (print, digital, or online), be sure to follow best practices, which are listed on the TIPS website, for creating documents that are fully accessible to individuals with disabilities.

5. Attendance Flexibility And/Or Reasonable Extension of Assignment Deadlines

Although we are operating under special circumstances to maintain the health of our University of Arkansas community, students with attendance flexibility and/or reasonable extension of assignment deadlines as an accommodation typically have disabilities that are episodic and chronic in nature. These accommodation should be provided unless the accommodation threatens the integrity of the course as offered in an online learning environment. 

A. Parameters for a reasonable extension of assignment deadlines are established by faculty during student-faculty discussion of accommodations. The number of days given for each assignment extension depends on the interactive or participatory nature of a course, or is based on department, college or accrediting agency rules. Students must communicate with instructors to determine the maximum extension that can be given on each assignment without compromising the integrity of the course/program. 

B. Now that courses are online, faculty and students need to revisit/revise the attendance flexibility agreement and detail the expectations for making up course requirements, if missed due to a disability exacerbation. The CEA recommends that the details of this discussion be documented in writing using the Attendance Flexibility Agreement Form or via email. 

C. To quickly determine what students have access to these accommodations: 

1. Log into the CEA Faculty Login
2. Enter your UARK username and password and click “Log in.” 
3. Click “Continue to View Student Accommodations.” 
4. Select “Export Student Accommodation Requests.” 
5. Open Excel spreadsheet detailing each student’s individual accommodations. 
6. The “Attendance Flexibility” and “Reasonable extension of assignment deadlines” columns are identified by the word “Yes.” 

6. Communication Access

Contact the CEA to determine how the following communication access accommodations will be implemented in an online setting: 

  • Accessible audio/video – captions needed 
  • Assistive Listening Device (ALD) 
  • Real Time Transcribing 
  • Sign Language Interpreter 
  • Speech-reading statement 
  • Other Communication Aid