Harper College

Academic Accommodation Glossary

Harper College is committed to ensuring an equal educational opportunity for our programs and services. Access and Disability Services determines reasonable accommodation on a case-by-case with input from the student, instructor, and Access Advocate staff. Your input in this process is important; accommodations should no way compromise the essential elements or objectives of your course. Access and Disability Service is available for a further consultant as needed.

Note: The instructor may receive a faculty notification letter throughout the semester since some students may register with ADS for accommodations later in the semester. Receiving Faculty Notification letter late in the semester is not retroactive to the beginning of the semester.

Alternative Formats

Alternative text offers the student access to print material through different ways such as text-read aloud, electronic files, large print, audio, and braille. The student who is interested in this service is required to show proof to the AT Lab Coordinator that they purchased the book to comply with copyright laws. Alternative text is provided for student’s personal use only and cannot be shared with others.

Large print materials have different text sizes or bold fonts that are easier to read depending on the needs and preference of the individual with low vision. Large print materials are most commonly available in 16-18-point type. The minimum for large print materials is 14-point type. ADS office encourages faculty members to reach out to the student to find out the student’s preferred size. 

CCTV is an assistive technology device that magnifies materials up to 44 times the original size by placing materials under built-in-camera while the individual user zooms out to enlarge the reading materials. It is encouraged that the faculty speak with the student to find out what materials will be compatible with the CCTV.

Kurzweil is an educational assistive technology software that offers text to speech, a learning tool that supplements the concept of reading, and test-taking which makes materials accessible for all students with disabilities. Kurzweil text to speech software is available in print, online, or digital format to support better learning. The student is responsible for obtaining the reading materials from the faculty member before the ADS office can assist students with document conversion. If there is a unique situation, ADS will work directly with the faculty member to determine what reading materials need conversion.


Alternative Testing

Due to the nature of the student’s, it can be difficult for the student to fill in the answers on the scantron. The student should be allowed to handwrite their response rather than computerized answer sheets (scantron/bubble forms).

This accommodation is reasonable for students who have chronic health or physical disability where taking long exams can lead to fatigue affecting their performance and attention during test time. ADS recommends splitting the exam (e.g. Part A on Day 1 and Part B on Day 2, or Questions 1-25 on Day 1 and Questions 26-50 on Day 2) to alleviate the student’s fatigue.  In this case, the faculty member will need to divide and provide detailed instructions as to how two parts can be administered.

Students may need to leave for a short period to take care of their medical condition. Breaks during exams should be limited to 5-10 minutes. Students are not allowed to access their books, notes, or mobile devices during the break.

This accommodation is available to use in our testing center space. ADS will offer the student a pre-loaded MP3 player that they can use while taking an exam/quiz. We will not permit the student to use a personal device.

The interpreter should be available during exam time to interpret instructions, new information, and comments from the instructor, and questions posed by students. Sign language interpreter-administered tests should be considered in the case of multiple-choice, true-false and short answer questions; the interpreter signs the questions and the student writes answers on the test or answer sheet.

Types: Time-and-a-half (1.5x), double time (2x)

Extended time is calculated based on the length of the time that the class is given to complete an exam. For example, if the class is given 50 minutes to complete an exam, students with time-and-a-half will have 75 minutes, and students with double-time will have 100 minutes.

Text-to-speech support allows independent access for students with reading disabilities. Kurzweil software has features for multiple questions, response format including fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice, and true/false in recording response. It will also allow students to go back to listen to the question as needed. The student will use a headphone while using Kurzweil reader during the exam. ADS office will provide the student with the headphone.

A memory aid is a tool used to trigger information that a student has studied but may have difficulty recalling due to cognitive disability. Memory aids can include acronyms, names, short phrases, definitions, pictures, tables, schematic diagrams, sample questions, formulas, key terms/word charts. 

The role of the scribe is defined as the physical act of writing or recording answers on behalf of the student who is unable to do so during an exam. The scribe cannot assist the student with course materials. This accommodation is for students who have difficulty with writing due to their disability or orthopedic injury.

The student starts with Kurzweil reader software, but if that is not successful, the alternative accommodation ADS offers is a live reader. The role of the test reader is reading out loud each question during the exam. The reader does not rephrase the questions, explain, or define words and concepts. This accommodation is reasonable for specific students who have comprehension challenges related to reading.  

While some instructors may have access to quiet/separate space to proctor their student approved for this accommodation, some may not, and/or may be constrained by time.  

Testing Center staff proctor exams and quizzes in A-148’s reduced distraction testing environment.  Students approved to test in the Testing Center must store their books, materials and electronic devices before proceeding to the testing space.  While separate from a classroom, this is a shared space where multiple students are observed as they test.  There is minimal paper shuffling, persons entering/leaving the room, or distractions such as tapping.

Students approved for this accommodation will test in a private room with no access to their electronic devices or materials unless specified/authorized by the instructor.  These testing rooms are monitored by ADS staff with cameras in each room and windows beside each door.  Examples of reasonable accommodations for a private testing room may include:  use of assistive technology such as speech-to-text software, the need for a Sign Language interpreter, a live reader or scribe, or a health condition that requires the student to periodically get up and move around during the exam period.

The purpose of using a computer allows students to avoid physical fatigue or provide legible, better-organized answers to essays. The Testing Center or ADS provide word processing programs without internet access for the student to use. 

The use of a four-function type calculator on assessments requiring mathematical calculation (for example, 1+1, 4*3) not being evaluated or essential to the exam/quiz. 


Assistive Technology:

Kurzweil 3000 is an assistive technology, text to speech, learning tool that supports the concept of Universal Design for Learning with a suite of powerful reading, writing, test-taking, and study skill tools that makes curricula accessible to all students.  It is particularly appropriate for students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, those who require reading intervention, students struggling with reading comprehension, and English Language Learners (ELL).

The Livescribe Echo Smartpen is a ballpoint pen and voice recorder combination.  The Echo is capable of converting written notes into a digital recordings that are able to be played back to you, as well as a recorder that can record classroom lectures, meetings, and study sessions.

Nuance Dragon software is speech recognition technology that converts the spoken word into written text.  Currently available on Windows and is compatible with Windows Office Software.  Dragon is approved for students with disabilities who need to dictate their thoughts into written form.  

Non Visual Desktop Access (NVDA) is a free and open source screen reader for the Microsoft Windows operating system.  Providing feedback via synthetic speech and Braille, it enables blind or vision impaired students to access computers running Windows Operating System and many third party apps.  NVDA works with the lockdown browser that is used by other universities for exams. 

For students with visual impairments, Fusion provides the features and benefits of having both ZoomText Screen Magnifier and JAWS Screen Reader in one package.  The two applications can be used together or separately to suit individual user preferences.  By blending ZoomText and JAWS together, Fusion has flexible, high-quality speech using Eloquence and Vocalizer Expressive, powerful keyboard access including navigation on the web, and a wide range of customization options. 

JAWS, Job Access With Speech, developed for computer users whose vision loss prevents them from seeing screen content or navigating with a mouse.  JAWS provides speech and braille output for the most popular computer applications on your PC.  Students are able to navigate the Internet, write a document, read documents, emails, websites and apps, scan and read documents including PDF’s, fill out webforms, save time with Skim Reading and Text Analyzer, surf the net with web browsing keystrokes, read an email, and create presentations.

ZoomText Magnifier/Reader is a fully integrated magnification and reading program tailored for low-vision users.  Magnifier/Reader enlarges and enhances everything on your computer screen up to 36x, echoes your typing and essential program activity, and automatically reads documents, web pages, email. 

NaturalReader is a downloadable text-to-speech desktop software for personal use.  This easy-to-use software with natural-sounding voices can read to you any text such as Microsoft Word files, webpages, PDF files, and E-mails.  The online version is a text to speech web application that converts any written text into spoken words.  Use Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, or iCloud from your mobile to upload and instantly listen to documents on the go. 

Read&Write is a literacy support tool that offers help with everyday tasks like reading text out loud, understanding unfamiliar words, researching assignments and proofing written work.  It contains the following features:

  • Text-to-speech: Read what I type including individual words, passages, or whole documents aloud with easy-to-follow dual color highlighting.
  • Text & Picture Dictionaries: Provide definitions and display images to help with word comprehension.
  • Vocabulary List: Creates a list instantly into a new doc, including selected words, the dictionary definitions, images from Widgit Symbols, and an editable notes column.
  • Check It: Reviews writing for incorrect grammar, spelling (phonetic), capitalization, punctuation, verb tense and more.
  • Audio Maker: Converts selected text into an audio file, and automatically downloads.
  • Talk&Type: Turns the spoken word into text (unavailable for Read&Write for Macusers).

The Revolabs HD Dual-Channel Wireless Microphone System without Microphones is a versatile audio solution for video conferencing or voice reinforcement applications. Its small size allows for an easy and nonintrusive integration for audio solutions that require a limited number of wireless microphones. This system supports up to 2 HD audio wireless microphones.

The HD Dual-Channel system utilizes Revolabs' Designed For Speech technology. This technology provides wideband frequency that improves the intelligibility and presence of speech, allowing the system to pick up the entire human voice spectrum. The technology consists of proprietary audio processing algorithms resulting in the accurate reproduction of human speech. It provides bi-directional audio, which allows audio to be sent back to the microphone so that you can listen using a headset.

Hardware that is available for students registered with ADS to borrow each semester from the Access and Disability Services Technology Lab:

  • Digital Recorders that are able to record lectures and notes.
  • Laptops available to students with speech to text needs.  Computers come equipped with Dragon and Read & Write Software.
  • Braille keyboards are available to students with visual disabilities.
  • Webcams for students needing to use with online meetings or recoding lectures.

ADS is also in the process of rolling out an iPad project for 2023.  The goal of this project will be to optimize student ability to utilize iPads educational purposes and to address any technology barriers the student may experience during time at Harper College.  A pilot group of students utilized the iPads for educational purposes, including notetaking, digital organization, dictation, magnification of digital content, productivity, assignment, and project management; the iPads may also serve as a platform for access to digital content.  Students provided with an ADS iPad loaded with apps that will assist accessibility and provide them with a platform to access educational content are also trained to their use.


Classroom Accommodations:

This accommodation allows students with disabilities to have equal access to information during class to supplement their notetaking needs. Students should have the opportunity to record lectures using a digital recorder provided by ADS or personal device.  Recording lectures is an alternative option to peer note-takers. Students can determine the best placement for recording the lecture with their instructor.

Instructors may object to recording classes that include interactive, self-disclosure, personal reflection, confidential discussion from students, and presenters as part of the class curriculum. If these open discussions are not appropriate for students taking notes, then instructors should make a general announcement in class to ask all students to stop taking notes which include turning off the recording device.

Qualified students with disabilities who are eligible to utilize recording as accommodation are required to review and sign the “agreement for recording lecture accommodation” form before the utilization of the tape recording.

Students who need accessible furniture for their classrooms should contact the Access Advocate to evaluate the classroom setting as soon as possible. ADS will need one-week advance notice to ensure that the accessible furniture is in place for the first day of class.  ADS will make an effort to accommodate late requests but cannot guarantee that the furniture will be in place for the first day of class.

Students with chronic health and physical disabilities may find that sitting and/or remaining in the same position for long periods during a lecture can exacerbate symptoms of their disability. It is reasonable to allow students to step out for a short break.

Some students with specific disabilities may not catch all the information during the lecture and may request PowerPoint slides if available for review.  The instructor is not required to create new materials to meet this request.

Extended due dates for assignments can be regarded as a reasonable accommodation for students with disabilities that impact their ability to attend class and turn in assignments or may become ill when an assignment is due.

Access Advocate will contact each instructor to set up the parameter related to the extended due dates on assignments at the beginning of the semester. ADS recommend that the extended due date agreement should be set up within two weeks after the class begins. Instructor, Access Advocate and Student must discuss the need for an extension of how and when the assignments will be turned in as soon as possible. After the discussion, the agreement must be recorded in writing and sent to the student and instructor by the Access Advocate. The parameters of the extension shall not fundamentally alter the requirements of the course. 

Flexible attendance is considered a reasonable accommodation for students with specific disabilities or chronic medical conditions. The Access Advocate will contact each instructor to set up the parameter related to class attendance at the beginning of the semester. ADS recommends that the attendance agreement should be set up within two weeks after the class begins. Instructor, Access Advocate, and Student should be engaged in conversations to arrive at a reasonable agreement and re-confirm the new proposed arrangement through email.

Each course has its attendance expectations, and requirements vary.  The questionnaires below are general for your guidance on how to evaluate reasonable attendance accommodation. Feel free to contact the assigned access advocate for further consultation:

  1. What are the course description, syllabus, practice, and policy regarding attendance?
  2. Is there classroom interaction between instructor and students, and among students?
  3. Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process?
  4. Does the fundamental nature of the course rely on student’s participation as an essential method of learning?
  5. Which method is used to calculate the final grade?

If a student goes beyond the reasonable number of absences or these absences have not been discussed, please contact the assigned access advocate of this situation and they can assist you in how to proceed. If the student does not complete or meet course expectations after the initial agreement, the student should be graded accordingly.

Adjusted class participation may be available for a student who experiences a disability that prevents their functioning during cold-calling sessions, in-class discussions, and/or oral presentations. If class-participation is an essential learning objective, then the instructor can relay an advance notification to the student that cold-session participation will happen on a specific date so that they can prepare their response.

To manage a student’s disability condition, s/he may need to bring food and drink to the classroom/lab.

Students who are either blind or have limited vision may not be able to see the information written on the board. The instructor is asked to read written information aloud to provide the student with equal access to the information.

Students with specific disabilities may need preferential seating such as sitting near the front or back of the room or a clear view of the instructor or sign language interpreter/in-person captioning, seating near or away from windows, and doors. The student and instructor are encouraged to discuss the preferential seating for the semester as soon as possible.

Due to the nature of their disability, a student who experiences challenges taking notes by hand may request permission to use a laptop or tablet in class.


Deaf and Hard of Hearing:

Students who have hearing loss may use an assistive listening device (ALD) during the lecture. The student will give a clip-on microphone with a small transmitter that the instructor turns on before lecturing.

It is required that media be captioned for Deaf and hard of hearing students. Before ADS can begin producing a captioned copy or a printed script alternative, your department, division, or the Harper Library must attempt to procure a captioned copy/permission from the publisher.  Our library may already own a captioned copy of media you require, thus please contact the library (x6184) to find out if one exists in their catalog.

If you cannot find a captioned copy of the media, please promptly submit a captioning request to our office via the link on our web page (www.harpercollege.edu) and click on “Request captioning or interpreting services.” If you have any questions, contact Sara Lucas at (slucas@harpercollege.edu). We work on a ‘first come-first served’ basis, and it takes approximately 8-10 hours to caption one hour of video. Please request media captioning in a timely manner as we receive a high volume of requests at the beginning of each semester.

Holders of this State of Illinois certification are deaf or hard of hearing individuals who have demonstrated knowledge and understanding of interpreting, deafness, the Deaf community, and Deaf culture. Holders have specialized training and/or experience in the use of many tools to enhance communication. Holders possess native or near-native fluency in American Sign Language and are recommended for a broad range of assignments where an interpreter who is deaf or hard-of-hearing would be beneficial.

The State of Illinois certified interpreter translates from spoken English to American Sign Language for the student. When a student responds in ASL, the interpreter then voices for the student. Some students may choose to voice for themselves. It is important to work with the student to identify the optimal placement of the interpreter in the classroom as well as the best visual access to the teacher. It is helpful for the instructor to provide copies of handouts, lecture material, reading and vocabulary lists that might help the interpreter understand and quickly follow the information presented in class.

Real-time captioning/transcribing is a method using specialized software to convert spoken language into the visual text that the student reads at the moment via a laptop screen or tablet during the lecture. There are two types of real-time transcribing services ADS offer to the students:

  • Communication Access Real-Time (CART): The captionist uses a stenographic machine and computer software to transcribe the spoken words into written word-for-word text. This service captures verbatim all that is communicated, including um’s and ah’s of the speaker.
  • Typewell and C-Print: Typewell provides a transcript based on meaning rather than the word-for-word translation provided by CART.

It is helpful for the instructor to provide copies of handouts, lecture material, reading and vocabulary lists to the captionist so they may quickly and accurately follow the information presented in class.


Notetaking Services:

The ADS office requests that students attend the first week of class and determine whether or not a notetaker is needed for their class. If the student confirms that a peer notetaker is needed, then you will receive a second email with a script. We kindly ask that you read the script to your students in the class; this will assist in recruiting a notetaker.



ADS appreciates that having the syllabus earlier will give a student time to review the overview and expectations for the course before the start of the class. An early syllabus also permits a student to make their alternative format request and get their materials converted in a timely manner. (Some conversion of materials to large print or Braille may take 1-3 weeks to process.)  If it is not possible, then the past syllabus from the previous semester will be acceptable.

A student with a learning disability which impacts their spelling may qualify for reasonable accommodation for in-class assignments and exams. Students can use the spell check device and/or won’t be penalized for spelling errors. If spelling is essential to the course requirement, then this accommodation is not reasonable.

A service animal is trained to do specific work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, including, but not limited to physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disabilities. Examples of work or tasks include guiding/assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, and providing physical support or assistance with balance and stability to individuals with a mobility disability.

The role of a lab assistant is to assist with various lab requirements and procedures that a student with a disability may need support in completing. The lab assistant only performs tasks directed by the student, they do not explain or interpret lab assignments/questions, and the result of their support should not guide a student in any way. Examples that the lab assistant will help with pouring, lifting, retrieval of supplies and equipment.

Some students with disabilities may be eligible for this accommodation and may bring stress relief gadgets such as stress ball to class.


Last Updated: 6/6/24