Course Access for Students with Disabilities

Appropriate and reasonable accommodations or services are determined by the Learning Access Coordinator on an individualized basis. To access courses, students can discuss the following resources with the Learning Access Coordinator:

Note-taking Assistance and Audio Recording
Accessible Textbooks and Course Materials
Assistive Technology Resources
Unique Class permissions
ASL Interpreting, CART, Captioning

Note-taking Strategies and Audio Recording

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, note-taking or audio recording are considered auxiliary aids that students may request if a disability impacts the ability to take notes in a class. To be eligible to request note-taking accommodations, Lewis University students must be approved through an interview process with the Learning Access Coordinator.

Student Considerations

Engaging in class lecture is crucial for academic success. Students are encouraged to explore and find personal strategies to capture lecture content that supports personal learning style.

Attend the first week of the course and explore supplemental materials that are provided by the instructor. Does the professor deliver the lecture using a PowerPoint presentation? Is this a lab, language or computer-based course that are interactive by design, so very little notes are taken? What is the pace of the course? Would recording the lecture or using a computer application help you take notes independently?

There may be supplemental access to lecture content via:
  • PowerPoint slides
  • Word Documents
  • Outlines or instructor notes
  • Recordings of the class
  • Assistance during office hours
  • Tutoring

A student with a disability may request access to PowerPoint presentations or lecture outlines prior to the beginning of the course lecture, if the instructor plans to utilize these materials to supplement their lecture. For many students, this is sufficient and they will not have to request any additional note-taking accommodations.

Other Independent Note-taking Strategies
  • Work with a classmates to share and compare class notes. This may also lead to additional resources, such as exam study partners.
  • Utilize an Audio Recording device.
  • Utilize apps and note-taking technology.
Audio Recording of Lectures

Students who are approved to record lectures as an accommodation are asked to communicate with their instructor prior to using devices to record the professor, discussions, etc. Neither the resulting recordings nor any form of copies of transcripts of the recordings may be used for any other purpose other than understanding class material. Audio recorders are available at the Lewis University Library for check-out.

Students are informed that information contained in the audio lectures is protected under federal copyright legislation, and may not be published or quoted without the lecturer’s consent or crediting the lecturer.

In some cases recording may be prohibited at the discretion of the instructor when the content involves personal discussion or self-disclosure. An alternative accommodation can be requested.

Instructors may ask the student to fill out an audio recording agreement form.

Note-taking Technology

There are a variety of apps available that can be used as a note-taking tool that are open to all students, regardless of disability. Below are some popular apps and software that students can explore, purchase and download independently.

Note-taking and Assistive Technology Resources

How to request an in-person note-taker

If supplemental materials or independent strategies are not effective, meet with your instructor or the Learning Access Coordinator to discuss an in-person note-taker, or fill out the Note-taker request form.

  • Note-taking accommodations are to be used as a tool and not a substitute for attending class. Class attendance and participation is still expected.
  • If additional assistance is necessary beyond notes, tutoring services may be available through Academic Services.
  • It is the responsibility of the student with a disability and the peer note-taker to discuss the best way to deliver notes. Some suggestions are: scan/email, photocopy, carbonless paper (available in the Academic Services Office), Google Docs or other software.
  • If a student is assigned a note-taker and the note-taker is not attending class or sharing notes regularly, the student can inform the Learning Access Coordinator, who will reach out or reassign the note-taker.
Request to borrow Livescribe Smartpen Form
Audio Recording Agreement Form
Note-taker request Form

Accessible Textbooks and Course Materials

Students who have vision, learning, or other disabilities which make accessing traditional printed materials difficult could request course materials in an alternative format as a reasonable accommodation. Alternative formats include audio, braille, large print, color, and electronic versions of course materials. Generally, most course materials are provided directly from the course instructor. However, requests for digital textbooks or braille are handled through the Academic Services office.

Guidelines to request a textbook in an alternative format
  • Submit a list of required text books to the Learning Access Coordinator by completing a request for electronic materials form.
  • The book list should include: the title of the book, the author, the ISBN, and edition.
  • Indicate the format or preferred software that will be utilized to access the textbook. (Demonstrations and recommendations for software programs are available. Certain students may qualify for a free Bookshare account.)
  • Provide “proof of purchase” if the publisher requests this.
Guidelines to request course materials and exams in alternative formats
  • Students are encouraged to talk to their course instructors prior to, or the beginning of the semester to discuss accessibility of handouts, Blackboard, presentations, and other class materials.
  • Student taking exams at the Accommodated Testing Center are encouraged to indicate the need for the exam in an alternative format when they schedule the exam.
  • Students are encouraged to make their request as soon as they register for classes, or when the book list is available from the professor.
  • The preferred deadline to submit a request is two weeks prior to the beginning of the semester. However, a student can make their request at any time. Expect up to two weeks to process the request.
  • Students who are admitted to the University who require materials in braille format should contact the Academic Services office as soon as they are admitted to the University or prior.
Electronic Text Request Form

Assistive Technology Resources

Technology is evolving rapidly. Students who are interested in learning about assistive technology that may aid their understanding of course materials can contact the Learning Access Coordinator for up-to-date resources and tutorials. Examples of assistive technology include text-to-speech software, note-taking tools, voice recognition software (such as Dragon or Google dictate), electronic textbooks, screen overlays, and assistive hearing devices. The handout below highlights some examples of popular technology programs.

Note-taking and Assistive Technology Resources
Popular text-to-speech software comparison chart

Unique Class Permissions

The following accommodations may be approved with appropriate supporting documentation. The documentation must describe the student’s limitations and the request must connect with the student’s disability or condition.
  • Accommodations for math computation, spelling or grammar.
  • Permission to eat or drink in the classroom for medical reasons.
  • Permission to take breaks during prolonged activity.
  • Permission to sit or stand during prolonged lecture.
  • Permission to wear a hat/visor/sunglasses due to light sensitivity.
  • Permission to sit in front of class or away from distractions.
  • Permission to modify a class attendance policy.
  • Laboratory assistance.
Guidelines to request unique class permissions:

Students who have been approved for the accommodations above are encouraged to have a conversation with their course instructor and the Learning Access Coordinator at the beginning of the semester to discuss how and when the accommodation will be implemented.

ASL Interpreting, CART, Captioning

Students who are Deaf, hard of hearing, or have other communication needs may request reasonable accommodations and services to help them fully participate in classes, class related activities, and events open to the public. To be eligible to request accommodations, Lewis University students must be approved through an interview process with the Learning Access Coordinator.

  • Priority Seating
  • Request an instructor to face the class when speaking
  • ASL/Sign Language Interpreting
  • CART (Communication Access Real Time Translation)
  • Text Interpreting (Typewell or C-Print)
  • Assistive Listening Device loans
  • Closed Captioning on videos and media
  • Note-taking
Guidelines and Timeline for Service Requests
  • New students admitted to the university who will be requesting a service or an assistive listening device are encouraged to speak with the Learning Access Coordinator as soon as they accept their offer or even prior.
  • Students are encouraged to officially make a request for a new service as soon as they register for classes, or at least 10 business days prior to the beginning of the semester or before the service is to begin.
  • To make a request, submit your schedule to the Learning Access Coordinator or fill out an interpreting request form.
Cancellation notification
  • Students utilizing sign language interpreters or real-time captioning are asked to give advance notice of cancellations or absences.
  • Students will be given specific training and guidance on the cancellation policy of the contracting agency.
Interpreting Request Form