Accommodating Students in Canvas

As an instructor, you may be asked to provide reasonable academic accommodations for a student in your course who has a documented disability on file with Disability Support Services (DSS). This is likely to include assisting with accommodations in Canvas. Below are answers to some of the most common questions we've received.

How do I ensure my content is accessible in Canvas?

There are several tools available to help ensure your course content is accessible to all users.

How do I give additional time on exams and quizzes?

A Canvas “quiz” is any question-and-answer-based assessment [e.g., final exam] created and given in Canvas. If a student is eligible for extra time, it is the instructor’s responsibility to provide that extra time for any exams or quizzes in Canvas. Each student’s accommodation letter from DSS specifies the amount of extra time they are allotted. If one or more of your students needs the time-extension accommodation, you can set up your exam in Canvas so that only these students receive extra time.

How to Add Extra Time on a Canvas Quiz
Please note: When setting the availability date/time for your quiz, be sure your quiz is available long enough to accommodate the extra time. If the “until” date/time passes when students are taking the quiz with extended time, the quiz auto-submits even if the student’s time extension has not expired. To avoid this: in the quiz settings, make sure you add a separate “due date”, “available from” and “until” for any student requiring extra time if the amount of total time that the quiz is open does not cover the maximum amount of time needed for a student with an accommodation.

How to Give Students Extra Attempts on a Canvas Quiz

How do I give breaks during exams and quizzes?

There is no way for students to stop and start the clock in Canvas when taking a break. Therefore, if a student requires breaks during exams, add in their total break time to their exam time. For students who are approved for extra time and breaks, they will require their extra time as specified on their accommodations sheet, as well as additional time for breaks. For example, it is possible that a student will require extra time 1.5x plus an additional 20 minutes in break time. Please communicate with your students to determine how much time they require, as every student’s needs will be different.

How do I allow a student to take an exam at a different time?

Specific situations, such as a student’s extra time causing their exam to overlap with another course, may require a student to take an exam at a different time than the rest of the class. In these situations, the student should communicate this need and work collaboratively with you to find another time to take the exam.

How do I make a quiz available before or after the due date.

How do I differentiate assignment due dates?

If a student is eligible for extensions on assignments, instructors may assign the same graded activity to different students on different dates. Students should communicate with their instructor when they need an extension on a specific assignment. If needed, there is also a feature to excuse a student from a specific assignment.

How do I assign an assignment to an individual student?

How do I excuse an assignment for a student in the Gradebook?

How do I use the Ally Tool in Canvas?

The Ally tool is integrated seamlessly into Canvas. Ally will give you information regarding how accessible your course materials are using the WCAG accessibility standards. Besides checking your files (PDFs, images, Office documents, HTML), guidance is provided to help you improve your files’ accessibility.

Ally Quick Start Guide[PDF]

Ally can provide students with a number of different alternate formats. Alternative formats benefit all learners and provide greater opportunity for students to access the information they need in the way they need or want it. To learn more, visit Alternative Formats on Blackboard Ally.

How do I add Interpreters, or Transcribers to my Canvas course?

If a student is eligible for interpreting or transcribing accommodations in your course, the DSS office will coordinate obtaining the interpreter or transcriber. However, it is the instructor’s responsibility to provide the interpreter or transcriber access to course materials in Canvas. Interpreters and Transcribers will need access to the course as early as possible in order to download handouts, PowerPoint presentations, and other course materials in advance. That way, transcribers can input names or vocabulary that will be used often in a lecture into the dictionary that is part of the transcribing software they use, and interpreters and the Deaf/hard of hearing student that is receiving accommodations can discuss and select vocabulary/name sign choices prior to class.

The DSS office will create a guest account and sponsor the transcriber or interpreter. The system must run overnight for the guest to be recognized in the system. Once this is approved, faculty will need to do the following:

  1. In your Canvas course, select PEOPLE from your course menu.
  2. Click the blue +People button.
  3. In the email address field, use the email of the captioning company (DSS will have provided this to you).
  4. Select the role. It is recommended that you use the Student or Observer role. DO NOT use a teacher or TA role.
  5. Select NEXT.
  6. Confirm the user information brings up the username that DSS has provided you.
  7. Click ADD Users.