Frequently Asked Questions
Student FAQs for Spring 2021
Will the DSS office be open?
DSS staff will continue to be available during normal business hours (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) via phone or email. The physical DSS office will be closed until further notice.
Will exams be administered in person at the Testing Center in DSS?
Stay tuned for more information about the DSS Testing Center opening on a limited basis in Spring 2021. Due to COVID-19 safety guidelines, seat capacity will be significantly limited in the testing center and will be appointment only. Until further notice, all testing accommodations will be administered by faculty. Please communicate with your instructors to discuss your testing accommodations in their courses. You must let them know you want your testing accommodations a minimum of 2 business days prior to the exam. Our office is available to support any student and/or instructor to address specific questions or concerns. Contact the DSS office if you need assistance.
What do I do if I need my approved testing accommodations?
Start by sending your Faculty Notification Letters through SAM. Next, reach out to your professor at the beginning of the semester to discuss how your testing accommodations will be implemented in your course. You must let them know you want your testing accommodations a minimum of 2 business days prior to the exam. More details about the opening of the DSS testing center for Spring semester will be forthcoming and due to COVID safety guidelines, seat capacity will be significantly limited.
Am I able to receive accommodations if all my courses are online?
Yes. Your reasonable approved accommodations will still be provided through the online platform. Please reach out to your professors to discuss how they will be implemented. Our office is available to support any student and/or instructor to address specific questions or concerns.
What if I need to register for accommodations or update my existing accommodations?
Students can still register for academic accommodations. The DSS office remains open for virtual registration and follow-up appointments. Students will continue to have access to their accommodations whether in-person or online. If you have questions or concerns about how specific accommodations will be implemented, please contact our office.
If I applied for housing accommodations for the fall semester but am not eligible to live on-campus, will I still get my housing accommodations in the spring?
Contact Residence Life and Housing to discuss deferring your housing to the spring semester. All housing requests that were submitted on time will still be in effect when you return to campus. For more information, visit Residence Life and Housing.
Who do I contact with general questions about the University’s plan for the Winter/Spring 2021 semester?
Please visit the University’s Return to Campus website for the most up-to-date information.
Instructor FAQs for Spring 2021
Is the DSS office open?
Although our physical office and testing center remain closed until further notice, the office staff is working virtually and available to answer any questions or concerns you have. Feel free to call us at 302-831-4643 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will exams be administered in person at the Testing Center in DSS?
Stay tuned for more information about the DSS Testing Center opening on a limited basis in Spring 2021. Due to COVID-19 safety guidelines, seat capacity will be significantly limited in the testing center and will be appointment only. All exams should be administered by faculty until further notice.
Students are expected to submit their request for testing accommodations to instructors at least 2 business days prior to an exam. Reasonable testing accommodation requests made within the 2 business days are at the discretion of the professor.
How will students get their accommodations for online exams?
Instructors are responsible for inputting students’ testing accommodations into their online testing platform. We have encouraged all students to notify their instructors of their testing accommodations. Students are expected to submit their request for testing accommodations at least 2 business days prior to an exam. Reasonable testing accommodation requests made within the 2 business days are at the discretion of the professor.
Common testing accommodations include extra time and breaks during testing.
- Extra time can be added to specific students’ timed exams via all online testing platforms. See the links below for more support with adding extra time.
- If a student is approved for breaks during exams, and there is no way for the student to stop and start the clock, add in their total break time to their exam. 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. Historically at the DSS testing center, most students infrequently use this accommodation but require it to be in place in case of an exacerbation of their disability.
Do I have to provide classroom accommodations in a virtual setting?
Yes. Students are still eligible for their approved, reasonable classroom accommodations. Students are encouraged to contact you to discuss the specific implementation of their accommodations
Where can I find resources for creating accessible materials?
It is more important than ever to ensure that the materials you are posting are accessible to all students, including those who use assistive technology. We recognize the significant effort you have put in to adapt your courses to online instruction. DSS will continue to work with students who are registered with our office to provide alternate formats as they are needed. Most platforms (Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Adobe, etc.) have built-in accessibility checkers. UD’s Accessibility Website provides “how to” information, including tools and resources, for making your materials accessible. Designing an Accessible Online Course from ExploreAccess.org is also a good resource to provide guidance on how to design a course with accessibility in mind.
What should I do if a student’s testing accommodations include assistive technology, assistive software, Kurzweil format, etc.?
If a student course uses Kurzweil or other assistive software for reading or writing, it would be best to check with the student to see what they need for exams. Several of the assistive technology tools are compatible with Canvas. If you are using a different platform for exams, you can contact the DSS office for more information.
A student is using Kurzweil as an accommodation; where can I find more information about it?
Kurzweil is an assistive technology tool that is offered through the DSS office. Please visit Kurzweil for Higher Education for more details on the software.
What does Disability Support Services do?
Disability Support Services (DSS) provides services to students with disabilities to ensure accessibility to university classes and programs. DSS offers information and services related to accommodations and disability, Assistive Technology (AT), and interpreter services for academic purposes. DSS does not offer evaluation testing, tutoring, help with class scheduling (these questions go to Academic Advisors), or student financial services. Tutoring services are offered through the Office of Academic Enrichment.
What constitutes a disability?
A disability is defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities. If you currently have a physical or mental condition, a history of such a condition, or a condition that may be considered substantially limiting, you may have a legally defined disability.
Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, substantially limiting is defined as being unable to perform a major life activity, or significantly restricted as to the manner, condition, or duration under which a major life activity can be performed, in comparison to the average person. A major life activity is defined as performing manual tasks, caring for oneself, seeing, hearing, walking, breathing, speaking, working, and learning.
What should I do if I have a disability and want to receive accommodations?
If you suspect you have a disability and have been previously documented as an individual with a disability or if you have a disability that is impacting your academic performance, you will need to apply and provide documentation of that disability to DSS. This documentation must be supplied by a qualified professional who is licensed or certified to diagnose the disability in question.
Once you have submitted your application in SAM, you are not able to access it again until after your first appointment with an Accommodation Coordinator. To upload your documentation, you will need to either go through the link sent to you in the confirming email or it can be faxed or emailed to our office to upload.
What role do my parents/family play in the process?
College students are regarded as adults therefore the students are responsible for their own accommodation requests and other disability-related decisions. However, students may want to have an open dialogue with their parents or family for a source of support.
If a student registers with DSS, will it show up on transcripts and/or diplomas?
No. The fact that a student is registered with our office does not appear on student academic records. Accommodations are designed to mitigate the limitations that a disability may have upon the student’s ability to have the same access as other students. Students who receive accommodations earn the same degree as all other graduates of the University of Delaware.
What kinds of accommodations are available?
All academic accommodations are based on the student’s documentation and an initial registration meeting with a DSS accommodation coordinator. Examples of some accommodations include: distraction-reduced testing at the Test Accommodation Center (TAC), extended time for testing, audio recording lectures, housing accommodations, text-to-speech/speech-to-text software, and other assistive technology.
When sending my faculty notification emails, why don’t I see all of my testing accommodations listed?
When requesting your accommodations on your Faculty Notification Emails, you will NOT see all your testing accommodations listed (such as, 1.5x extended time or breaks). To double check the testing accommodations you are approved for, you can click the “My Eligibility” tab on SAM. All the alternative testing/quizzes accommodations listed, WILL be sent in your notification emails, if you check the box marked “Alternative Testing/Quizzes (Will be Itemized on Letter)” when requesting your accommodations.
Are professors notified that a student needs an academic accommodation?
Yes. After registering with DSS, the student requests faculty notification emails be sent to the faculty for each class in which the student is requesting accommodations. This process is reviewed during the initial registration meeting. Faculty notification emails must be sent every semester for courses in which the student would like to use accommodations. Students are expected to communicate with faculty individually to discuss how each accommodation will be implemented in each course.
Can a faculty member forbid a student with a disability to record in class?
Once students are approved to record lectures as a reasonable accommodation, they sign an agreement on the appropriate use of a recording device in the classroom. Instructors generally permit students to record the lecture when a reasonable accommodation has been approved. Recording is generally for the faculty lectures and not necessarily for discussion or questions by other students in the course.
Do I have to be a full-time student to receive assistance from DSS?
No. DSS serves any qualified student at the University of Delaware regardless of enrollment status.
Does DSS provide services to students with temporary injuries, due to broken bones, recovery from surgeries, concussions, etc.?
Yes, we do! These conditions may fall under the same guidelines as long-term or permanent disabilities. We will work with you and your instructors to make sure you are able to attend class, to assist with class room or test taking needs and provide information on other resources.