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Implementing Academic Accommodations

A guide for course instructors/departments/schools on implementing common academic accommodations in post secondary

Assignment Extension Accommodations

Some reasons why a student's disability may impact timely completion of an assignment

  • episodic health complications
  • chronic or cyclical acute episodes affecting stamina and/or alertness, especially when there are adjustments in medical management
  • hospitalization

* with these impacts a reduced course load or support with time management may not eliminate a student's need for consideration of extensions

Discuss with your student the possibility of assignment extensions and if approved, how late work will be completed and what will happen if work is not submitted according to the revised due date

  • Initiate an interactive process with your student about any assignment due dates as early as possible in the term. We encourage students to also initiate this process as soon as possible.
  • Consider and communicate the plan for due date flexibility and define what work or participation will need to be made up, how it will be completed and when it will be due.
  • Depending on the situation, (i.e. the student is hospitalized) it may not be appropriate to discuss a plan for completion at the time your student notifies you.

Some options that may be considered include:

  • How the grade is to be determined.
  • Provision of advance notice of completion deadlines. The advance notice allows students to be able to begin work earlier and be proactive.
  • Any additional reading, papers, projects and examination which you could assign.
  • A makeup assignment for points which may have been lost due to the late submission on an assignment where an extension could not be given.

*The assignment extension accommodation is not meant to excuse absences. Students who have been absent for an extended period of time, and who are unable to meet course objectives, will require support to explore alternative options. In these situations, please refer students to their CAL Instructor for consultation or consult directly with the CAL Instructor.

Extra time on assignments as an accommodation does not mean:

  • Open ended deadlines
  • Elimination of all in-course deadlines or permission to submit interval-scheduled work all at the same time at the end of the course
  • Permission to submit assignments at the student's convenience
  • Automatic re-weighting of grades to compensate for assignments not submitted
  • Submitting assignments after answers have been posted or other students have received feedback on their work

Things to Do and Consider

What you can do

  • Inform students about the due date policy in your course syllabus. Establish clear expectations of how assignment deadlines and instructor notification will be handled in case of disability related requests for flexibility.
  • Deliberately consider if, or to what degree, timely completion of assignments is essential to your course and communicate this to your student(s).
    • Does the fundamental nature of the course rely upon timely completion of assignments as an essential requirement for learning?
    • Are submissions of assignments a significant component of the learning process or an essential method of learning in your course?
      • I.e. does each week's content build sequentially on the outcomes learned from the graded assignment from the previous week?
    • To what degree does a late assignment constitute a significant loss to the educational experience of other students in the class?
    • Would an extension (or multiple extensions) fundamentally alter the course?
    • What does the course description and syllabus indicate regarding late work or completion deadlines?
  • Meet with students with extension accommodations to discuss their needs/progress. Your student is responsible for keeping you informed of progress and following up with you as soon as possible if a plan for extension requires adjustment.

Meeting Essential Course Requirements

The student is responsible for fulfilling the essential requirements of the course

  • Evaluate requests for extensions on a student-by-student, case-by-case basis and review any reasonable alternatives for completion.
  • Extensions on assignments must be an appropriate response to a disability-related need without compromising academic standards or fundamentally altering the curriculum.
  • If the student does not complete the coursework or does not meet the course expectations after accommodations have been put into place, they should be graded accordingly.

Extending Assignment Durations in D2L

Online assignments through D2L or other digital platforms are administered directly by instructors. Instructors are the only ones who have access to set the start and due dates for assignments for their students.

If your students in D2L need extensions on assignment due dates, please follow these instructions to extend their time Setting up Special Access for Accommodations in an Assignment - D2L Tutorial

For further information contact CETL's eLearning support.