Accessibility Resource Guide for Instructors

As an instructor or faculty member at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, you play an important role in ensuring access for students with disabilities. Students with disabilities are encouraged to work with their instructors to obtain reasonable accommodations that provide equal access and equal challenge in the classroom.

This information is intended to assist staff and faculty in developing a greater understanding on how to assure equal access. The Accessibility Center office is available for consultation and short presentations on disability related topics.

  Download the full accessibility resource guide for instructors. 

Accessibility Syllabus Statement

An accessibility statement, directing students with disabilities to resources is required in all syllabi. Verbally referencing this statement early during the course is encouraged. Faculty may customize the statement with directions on preferred contact method regarding accommodation requests (e.g., email, office appointment, etc.). Please note that some students whose disability impacts communication abilities (e.g., autism, anxiety) may be more able to initiate communication via e-mail.

Class Announcement

Inform students on the first day of class that you are committed to providing an accessible experience for all students. List the ways in which you plan to do this (see recommendations below). Read aloud the Accommodation Statement from your syllabus and assure students of your open door to communication regarding any needs for accommodation.


The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh supports the right of all enrolled students to a full and equal educational opportunity.

It is the University’s policy to provide reasonable accommodations to students who have documented disabilities that may affect their ability to take part in course activities or to meet course requirements. Students are expected to inform faculty of the need for accommodations as soon as possible by presenting an Accommodation Plan from either the Accessibility Center or Project Success. Reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities is a shared faculty and student responsibility.

The Accessibility Center is part of the Dean of Students Office and is in 125 Dempsey Hall. For more information, email, call (920) 424-3100, or visit the Accessibility Center Website.

Recommendations for creating an Accessible Classroom Experience:

Creating a Universally Designed Course: Link to developing courses with Universal Design


Microphone – Always use a microphone (depending on availability)

  • Microphones may be requested through classroom technology (
  • Tip: Asking “Can you all hear me?” can single out individuals with hearing impairments who prefer not to disclose their disability.

Closed Captioning

  • Ensure all videos have closed captioning. Many YouTube videos will be already be captioned.  Click “CC” on the bottom right side of the screen to turn on captioning.
    • If you are subscribed to a YouTube Channel and/or create your own videos, visit the following link to add captions:
    • Tip: Contact the Accessibility Center or send your video files directly to at least two weeks in advance of showing the video to the class to have captions added.

Classroom Materials – Supply all handout materials also in accessible format


  • Most furniture requests will be handled by the Accessibility Center prior to the first day of class.
    • Because not all students are registered or have disclosed disabilities in advance, best practice would be to ensure that a table and chair is provided in your classroom for alternative seating on the first day of class.

Exams and Quizzes

  • Alternative forms of measurements are ideal
  • Set multiple dates for exams and use a second version of the exam on the make-up or alternate date (alternate date may or may not be published)
  • For online exams, set wide windows for testing time, to allow for varying internet speeds and other environmental factors impacting online students
    • Example (*enough time is left for students who may have an accommodation for time and a half or double time)
      • Exam date 1/1/2020, Version 1 with open exam time from 12p – 4p with a 2 hour* time limit
      • Exam date 1/2/2020, Version 2 with open exam time from 5p-9p with a 2 hour* time limit
    • If time limits are increased for any exam, accommodation times must also be increased according to the accommodation plan
    • During the Spring of 2020 there was a significant increase of Academic Misconduct cases reported to the Dean of Students Office. It is worth noting that none of the cases related to time windows or the amount of time available to take exams.
      • Decreasing exam time may be perceived to reduce the risk of or discourage cheating, but that risk has not been identified in our experience of academic misconduct. What is guaranteed, however, in decreasing exam time available, is that more students will be put at a greater disadvantage (students with ADHD, processing disorders, autism, all types of anxiety, students with slow or spotty internet).   In considering Universal Design, the majority of students are best served when exam windows are broad and thereby inclusive.
    • All quizzes are to be treated as exams in providing accommodations
    • It is recommended that students be notified in advance for quizzes and that they be held at the end of class to ensure the student is offered extra time and the ability to move to another room
      • Quizzes or pop quizzes held at the beginning of or during class may result in:
        • Exclusion/separation – the student per the accommodation may need to go to another classroom to receive the accommodation of extra time and/or a distraction-reduced environment.
        • Unwanted disclosure – of a disability due to the student needing to go into a separate room or needing to take extra time when the remaining students have finished the exam.
        • The student being forced to choose between using their accommodation time or environment and missing the beginning of lecture.
        • The student receiving a lower grade due to not being provided a distraction-reduced environment.
        • The student accepting whatever parameters are unfairly put in place, especially when surprised, and taking lower grades rather than confronting their instructor during class and being forced to outing their disability.

Faculty Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is an out of class letter?
When a student is absent from a class due to a personal or medical circumstance, and has supplied documentation, the Dean of Students Office will send faculty an email notifying them of the excused absence. The student is responsible to follow up with each faculty member to complete any academic work that was missed. Absences are only excused if sufficient documentation is provided (i.e. note from practitioner, obituary, etc.).  During the COVID-19 Pandemic, out of class letter requests will be granted with fewer documentation requirements.

2. What does flexibility in attendance mean?
Flexibility in attendance is given out in exceptional circumstances with the proper documentation. Flexibility in attendance requires clear communication between the instructor and the student. The student and instructor must come to an agreement together regarding absences, time frames, communication processes and this agreement should ideally happen at start of semester and be established before any absences become an issue.  During the COVID-19 Pandemic, flexibility in attendance should be determined on a case-by-case basis within each department and while giving consideration to the directive from the Provost’s Office.

If the absence is related to an impairment or disability and the student is not obligated to disclose any details of the disability. For further questions and clarifications please reach out to the Accessibility Center.

 3. My student has an accommodation for specific furniture in the classroom. Do I have to make those arrangements?
The accessibility center submits furniture work orders through Facilities Management prior to the start of the semester. If the furniture does not appear in a reasonable timeframe, please contact our office for support.

4. I was told I have a student in my class who has accommodations, but I do not know the student’s name. How can I comply with the accommodations?
It is the student’s responsibility to show their instructors their accommodation plan at the start of the course to make any necessary arrangements with the professor. With the goal of Universal Design in mind, captioning and microphones are reasonable accommodations for all students and should not require accommodation plans.

5. I have a student who needs enlarged text/print for exams, quizzes, and class handouts. How do I do that?
Please note that distributing materials in both handout and electronic format (ideally editable but otherwise PDF) will be most helpful to all students as it allows for magnification and other alternative viewing options.

If one of your students requires an accommodation of enlarged font/printing the student should also have access to added note-taking support such as PowerPoint slides in advance of class (if used) or similar types of handouts.  Having and reviewing materials in advance allows for the student to more fully attend to the class lecture and discussion rather than struggling to
take notes. 

The Accessibility Center is available to pre-print any materials as needed.  Please submit any documents for printing to at least one week in advance for printing preparation and processing through our office or another department if more advanced services are needed. 

6. I have a student who has an accommodation for closed captioning, how do I request closed captioning or for the videos I show in class?
In most cases, when using DVD media, you can simply turn on the captioning in the DVD Setup.  When using videos from YouTube or similar web resources, adding “closed captioned” to your search query should also provide a captioned version of the same video.

In the event that you are not able to find a captioned version of the video, you may send the video to the Accessibility Coordinator or to Learning Technologies and we’ll work to get captions added to the video and provide instructions on how to turn them on.  This process requires as many as two weeks for submission, preparation and return so please plan accordingly. Alternatively, staff in Polk Library may be able to aid in obtaining new versions of existing videos with correct captioning.

Accessibility Center is part of Dean of Students Office
Office Hours

Dempsey Hall 125
7:45 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.


University Police

Emergency: (920) 424-1212
Non-Emergency: (920) 424-1216