Accommodations are adjustments to courses, programs, and services that provide equal access and improve a student’s ability to fully engage in the college experience.
- They do not fundamentally alter the requirements of the college’s standards, course, or program requirements.
- They do not modify the content or rigor of the course. All students are held to the same standards.
Examples of Accommodations:
- Testing accommodations: extra time and/or use of a distraction reduced environment for testing
- Reader or scribe for exams
- Texts in alternative format: use of software to read books aloud or use of audio book format, Braille or Nemeth code
- Peer note taker to supply notes
- Smartpen to record lectures
- Preferential seating
- Use of computer on exams
- Captioning of videos
- Course substitutions for foreign language or math
- Priority registration
- Lower lab benches in a science class to accommodate a wheelchair
- Having the class sit in a circle to allow for lip reading
- Making alternative arrangements for presentations such as a written paper or recorded speech.
- Rides to class for students with impaired mobility.
Some students require dietary or housing accommodations. Disability Services will refer students to the campus dietician or Residential Life if these accommodations are needed. More information about these accommodations is available online at:
- Make an appointment with Disability Services staff in the Academic Support Center or by calling the ASC at 507-933-7027.
- Discuss with Disability Services staff the academic impact of your condition and how these impacts have been addressed in the past. Personalized accommodations are determined in conversation between the Disability Services staff and the student. If documentation is available, it is helpful to bring it to the initial meeting. Disability Services staff will provide you with more information if additional documentation is needed. See Documentation Guidelines for more information.
- The Disability Services staff will create and email the student an accommodation letter that explains the impact of the disability on the student and what accommodations are appropriate. The student is responsible for sending this letter to their professors.
- The student is then responsible for initiating a conversation with faculty regarding specific learning needs and accommodations for each course. This allows the student and professor to talk about how accommodations will be implemented for that particular course.
Students are responsible for requesting an updated accommodation letter each semester.
Talking with professors regarding your accommodations is necessary to determine how they will be implemented. This also helps to establish a relationship with your professors. Here are some recommendations to guide your conversation:
- Schedule a meeting as soon as possible. Ideally this should happen in the first week of class or shortly after you have established accommodations through Disability Services. You may approach your professor before or after class to arrange a time or arrange a time via email.
- Start with the professors who you feel most comfortable with. This will help you gain confidence in approaching other professors.
- Plan ahead. Think about what information regarding your accommodations you want to discuss. You do not need to share your specific diagnosis. The focus should be on what your needs are and how to accommodate them.
- Use your accommodation letter as a starting point for the conversation. Determine how accommodations will be implemented and how you will communicate with your professors regarding your accommodations if needed (e.g. if you use testing accommodations, or need to be absent).
Students who have testing accommodations will need to arrange an alternative space for testing before each test. Professors are asked to make arrangements for students with testing accommodations in their department. If they cannot make these arrangements, the student and professor will request to take a test in the Academic Support Center using the Arranging Testing Form. This form should be filled out by the student and professor and submitted at least three work days before the test. The testing form should be supplied by the student and can be printed and returned to Tracey Peymann in the Academic Support Center.
Alternative Text Formats
Students with alternative text accommodations have several options to access books. Disability Services staff will assist students in the process of getting books in alternative format if this accommodation is determined. Our students use Learning Ally to listen to audio books and Kurzweil software to have books read to them. Finding books in alternative format can take time so it is beneficial to request books as soon as possible, preferably before the start of the semester. Braille and Nemeth Code (a Braille code for mathematics) will also be made available if required.
Learning Ally is a site that offers books in audio format to students with disabilities. Once given access by Disability Services staff, students can search for books. Students download Read Hear software from this site and can listen to audio books from their own computer or device.
If a student is not able to find books on Learning Ally, communicate this to Disability Services staff by telling them the title, author, publishing date, and ISBN. Disability Services staff will locate books and instruct students to access Kurzweil 3000 or its online partner Firefly to read books aloud.
Kurzweil is a software program that provides a visual of the text while it reads aloud electronic versions of textbooks. If you are new to Kurzweil, you will be given your books on a flashdrive to use on the computer in Library 103C.
Firefly is an online version of Kurzweil 3000. Once given a username and password by Disability Services staff, students can access this site from anywhere. Books are uploaded to student accounts by Disability Services staff.
- Gustavus Wiki page about Kurzweil
- Instructions for Firefly installation for Mac
- Instructions for Firefly installation for Windows
- Installation How to Videos
Naturalreader is a text to speech software that is free to download. This software can read Word, PDF, emails, and webpages.
Smartpens record lectures while you take notes. Students can listen to recorded lectures and go back to what was spoken when they wrote notes. Disability Services has a limited number of these pens for students to try out.
Inspiration is software that helps people: organize thoughts and ideas, brainstorm and visualize ideas with maps and diagrams, make sense of complex concepts and projects, build critical thinking and reasoning skills, organize for studying, and build study skills and note taking skills.
This software is available for anyone to use on the 9 iMacs on Level 1 of the library. It is also on the computers in the Mattson Lab; this lab is available to all students.
Rescue Time is a free app that can be used as a time management tool. This app tracks and reports how time has been spent on the computer.