(Attendance Flexibility, Deadline Extensions, Alternate Assignments)
Letter to Teaching Professionals regarding Course Modification Agreements
Dear Teaching Professionals:
The Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) is vested by the University with the authority to respond to students’ requests for accommodations by engaging in a deliberative, interactive process with each student and determining appropriate academic adjustments on an individualized, case-by-case, class-by-class basis. This practice is in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as amended (2008), which provides that no qualified person will be denied access to, participation in, or the benefits of, any program or activity operated by the University because of a disability.
In recent years, the academic adjustments of attendance flexibility (formerly absences from class), deadline extensions (formerly extended time to complete assignments) and alternate assignments have been requested and approved more frequently. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) within the U.S. Department of Justice has indicated to higher education institutions that these adjustments are appropriate accommodations for some students depending upon their conditions and the resulting functional limitations.
CSD believes that it is in the best interest of students to attend class, actively engage in the learning process, and complete assignments as detailed in course syllabi. However, these academic adjustments of attendance flexibility, deadline extensions, and alternate assignments have been determined to be reasonable and appropriate accommodations by OCR.
Additionally, OCR has notified higher education institutions that once approved for academic adjustments of attendance flexibility, deadline extensions, and/or alternate assignments, students cannot negotiate the coordination of these accommodations directly with their faculty. In other words, CSD is required to engage each faculty member who has a student approved for attendance flexibility, deadline extensions, and/or alternate assignments enrolled in their courses to determine: (1) the appropriateness of these adjustments in the course; (2) the nature of the course and how it is taught, including assessments; and (3) flexibility in achieving outcomes or alternate opportunities to complete course requirements without fundamentally altering the course or compromising the technical standards of a program.
Accordingly, CSD has enacted a new process specific to these academic adjustments in order to meet our mandate under federal law to coordinate these modifications on behalf of students and to reduce the gray areas that have caused issues in the past (i.e. how many absences are reasonable?). At present, CSD has information regarding almost 900 courses to complete Course Modification Agreements. If you have a student enrolled in your course this spring approved for a course modification (attendance flexibility, deadline extensions, and/or alternate assignments), the CSD Accommodations Team will be contacting you via email in order for us to collaborate on creating a Course Modification Agreement for your course. If you have already completed a Course Modification Form for your course, the CSD Accommodations Team will email you a copy of your Course Modification Agreement for review based on the information provided. Course Modification Agreements are established on a course-by-course basis. In other words, if you have two students in your course approved for attendance flexibility, the same Course Modification Agreement will be established for both students.
Course Modification Agreement Process:
- The CSD will contact each instructor who has students approved for these academic adjustments in their course each semester.
- The instructor will complete an online Course Modification Form. An instructor’s individual input on this form is an integral part in providing appropriate academic adjustments that work for your course and the student(s) in the course(s) you are teaching. The form will only take 10-12 minutes to complete.
- Instructors will only fill out the Course Modification Form one time and will only have to revise the form when changes are made to their course.
- CSD will use the instructor provided information to create a Course Modification Agreement. The agreement will be emailed to the student(s) and the instructor for each course and the CSD will keep a copy on file.
- By utilizing the Course Modification Agreement, students agree to the terms.
- Questions regarding the procedure outlined above can be directed to the CSD Accommodations Team at CSDCourseModifications@uconn.edu or by calling 860-486-2020.
For more information, contact: CSD Accommodations Team at firstname.lastname@example.org