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Student Disability Resource Center

Classroom Accessibility

An open mind and a few minor adjustments can make a substantial difference in fostering the success of your students.

Facilitating Access

Following the recommendations in the areas below can assist you in facilitating access to students in the classroom and campus environment.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to discuss accommodations with students at the beginning of each semester. Having a disability statement on your course syllabi is an effective way of indicating that the university welcomes and encourages students with disabilities to participate in programs. You may want to include a similar statement (below) on your syllabi:

Students with Disabilities: The University of South Carolina is committed to providing equitable access to learning opportunities to students with documented disabilities (e.g., ADHD, Learning Disabilities, mental health concerns, physical conditions, sensory conditions, chronic medical conditions, etc.), through reasonable services and accommodations to provide accessible learning experiences and education.

Accommodations and not provided retroactively. If you are a student with a disability and you feel you may encounter academic barriers due to your condition, please contact The Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) at 803-777-6142 or via e-mail at for information on application, registration accommodations, guidelines and procedures.

After receiving approval for accommodations through SDRC, please let me know immediately to discuss your accommodations. This will help to ensure that accommodations may be implemented in a timely manner. 

When accommodations are requested by a student, your response in a timely manner is essential to access. Completing forms, submitting exams, contacting SDRC with questions or concerns, as well as following protocols and guidelines for access are equally important.

Students request accommodations by providing the instructor the Faculty Notification Letter (FNL) via email and are encouraged to initiate a conversation about how the accommodations will be put implemented within the learning environment. Instructors can assist in the process by completing and submitting forms necessary for accommodation utilization (e.g. test scheduling forms), submitting exams to the SDRC Proctoring Suite for processing per the established guidelines, and to follow other policies, procedures, and guidelines in a timely manner.

If Instructors have any questions or concerns regarding an accommodation request, they should seek assistance and consultation from SDRC staff in a timely manner, as well. Due to the nature of some disabilities, as well as responsibilities of the class, the processing of some requests can be time sensitive and immediate response can be crucial to the provision of access.

Faculty are encouraged to consider accessibility and use in designing and developing course materials, whether or not a reasonable accommodation has been requested. 

  • Accessible design is a process in which the needs of people with disabilities are specifically considered. 
  • Usable design serves to create products that are easy and efficient to use.
  • Universal design is a broader concept where"the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design."

Consistently selecting course materials that can be utilized by anyone allows for reasonable accommodations to be implemented quickly, and can benefit all students, with and without disabilities (for example, a student with hearing impairment and a student with English as a second language may both benefit from captions on a video).

Faculty are also encouraged to consider including universal design learning (UDL) principles in the development of their courses.

All disability-related information including documentation, accommodation letters, correspondence, and consultations are considered confidential and will be managed in accordance with The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations.

Maintaining a high standard of privacy and anonymity also serves to sustain an environment in which students with disabilities feel protected, safe, supported, and respected.

Here are some ways that faculty can ensure that confidential student information is kept secure:

  1. Discuss Accommodation Letters and logistics of implementing accommodations with students in private. Make yourself available by email, during office hours, or by appointment to discuss. Refrain from discussing a student’s disability status and necessary accommodations within hearing range of fellow students, faculty, staff, or others who do not have an “educational need to know.”

  2. Requesting specific information about a student’s disability is inappropriate. Requesting a letter from the student’s physician is inappropriate. The Accommodation Letter is all that is needed to justify the accommodation. If a student voluntarily discloses the nature of their disability to you, even if it is obvious, do not disclose it to others.

  3. At no time should the class be informed that a student has a disability.

  4. Do not assume that students registered with Student Disabilities Services are aware of other students’ disability status. Blind copy (BCC) students so they are not privy to other student’s information, or better yet, send separate emails to each student.

  5. Do not leave student disability information visible on your computer or in any printed format that others can see, and dispose of it securely at the end of the quarter.

  6. If a student tries to provide you with their primary disability documentation, refuse to read or accept it and refer the student to Student Disabilities Services.

  7. Remember: All information that a student shares with a faculty member is to be used specifically for arranging reasonable accommodations for the course of study/ learning environment.

The provision, implementation of services and accommodations takes a team approach as we, including the student, are essential partners in making sure that all students have equal access to academic success. Please reach out to our staff if you:

  1. Have any issues, questions, or concerns regarding the provision of reasonable accommodations,
  2. would like guidance in the delivery of services and accommodations,
  3. need clarification of any SDRC procedures and guidelines, or
  4. need assistance in completing accommodated related forms

Requesting Consultation:

SDRC staff members are available for consultation with faculty and staff at any time. SDRC staff can also present to small groups, departments, etc. To inquire about a consultation or presentation, please contact SDRC at 803-777-6142 or email us at

Documents and Digital Content

More and more classroom materials are being shared online, whether through USC's Blackboard system or through other web-based resources, which makes web accessibility an incredibly important part of a student's academic success.

Students with disabilities should have access to all aspects of the class and learning environment, including class documents and materials. This can include but is not limited to:

  • accessible PDF or WORD documents to be accessed by screen readers and text to speech programs
  • electronic notes, slides, handouts, etc. provided to students in advance
  • captioned video and audio files and available transcripts
  • live captions/ transcription for remote communications platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams 

Although providing course content in accessible formats is essential for ensuring an equitable learning and educational experiences for students with disabilities, accessibility features can also benefit all learners with and without disabilities, through the principles of universal design.

Who Can Help?

USC's Digital Accessibility Team is available to provide consultation and assistance in is to work with faculty and staff in all matters concerning digital accessibility, including developing accessible documents and classroom materials and content. Their Digital Accessibility Toolbox is a valuable resource to assist you in ensuring accessibility and usability on the content you work with every day.

Alternative Testing and Blackboard Accessibility

Blackboard is USC's online course and learning management system available to the entire USC community. The following resources will provide you with some insights on how to accommodate students who may require exceptions when using the tool.

  • Blackboard Test Exceptions
    A video about Test Options and how to set exceptions (e.g. extended test time) for specific students.
  • Blackboard Test Options
    Blackboard article about adding extended test time to online tests for students that receive that accommodation from our office

For more information related to Blackboard and Testing, USC's Digital Accessibility Team is available to provide consultation and assistance

For more information related to test proctoring, please visit the Alternative Testing page for Instructors

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.