Instructors: How To

Note: The decision to disclose disability-related information is personal and confidential. It is important not to ask students for their disability diagnosis. If students wish to disclose, they will do so on their own.

Quick Links

  1. Accommodations Inquiries
  2. Receiving and Acknowledging Student Accommodations Online
  3. Notetaking
    • Recruiting Notetakers
  4. In-Class Test & Midterm Accommodations
    • Scheduling of Class Tests or Exams
  5. Registrar Supervised Final Exam Accommodations
  6. Alternate Text Formats
  7. Classroom Accommodations
  8. Memory Aid/Formula Sheet
    • What is a Memory Aid/Formula Sheet?
    • Memory Aid/Formula Sheet Approval Process

Accommodation Inquiries

  • Academic accommodations should be provided where the accommodations have been communicated through either SAS or the student’s Faculty.
  • Student’s should not be asked to disclose their disability in the accommodation process.
  • You should not be requesting medical documentation in support of accommodation.
  • All requests for accommodation from a student should be referred to the student’s Faculty or SAS.

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Receiving and Acknowledging Student Accommodations Online

*Note: The process as described below is a revision of our system effective as of September 2017.

*Note: Students must first activate academic accommodations online. Paper copies of academic accommodation letters may still be available to students, but only after online activation.

*Note: Student accommodation lists are sent weekly on Fridays via email for each course. Individual student accommodations are not sent, but rather included in this weekly bulk email.

*Note: The following notes are very important for instructors to be aware of in the student academic accommodation self-registering process.

*Note: If you receive a notification email stating you have accommodations to review and after logging in, your list appears blank please contact Ron Schneidersmann (link to his email with subject line: Blank student list) as there is a glitch in the system. This is caused by a delay in the Faculty uploading instructor information. When it is not uploaded, SAS has to manually add the information to grant the student access. Once the Faculty enters instructor information it is automatically sent to our system where it conflicts with the manually added information.  

  • On the basis that activations of accommodations and new intakes are constant, we strongly encourage instructors to continually check course lists and updated accommodation lists throughout the entirety of the term
  • As an instructor, you need to be regularly checking your course lists. It may be beneficial to set up a personal schedule to help yourself remember.
  • All of the information in the SAS database, including course information such as names and email addresses of instructors is a direct extract from Mosaic.
  • For courses where there is a Course Coordinator or an Administrator who is actively overseeing or administering academic accommodations our system has the ability to add another person for accommodation viewing and acknowledgement purposes.
  • Should there be a need to add another person, requests can be sent to the Director of SAS, Tim Nolan (

The following option is recommended if you are instructing multiple courses, as you will be able to see all courses at once:

  • Go to the SAS website and click “Instructor Log In”.
  • Sign in with your McMaster ID and password.
  • On the “Instructor Information” page, select “Accommodation Letters”.
    • A list will appear of all student in all courses assigned to you.
    • This list includes repeated names of students who may be enrolled in multiple courses taught by you.
    • You can filter by course, student name and date.
    • Select “View Letter”.
    • Select “Review PDF Letter” to download and view the letter to read.
    • Select “Acknowledge” under “Step 2”.
    • Submit.
    • After submission, you will be able to see the date it was confirmed.

The following option shows you all accommodations for a specific course:

  • Go to the SAS website and click “Instructor Log In”.
  • Sign in with your McMaster ID and password.
  • On the “Instructor Information” page, select “Courses”.
    • A list of courses will appear in the form of a table.
    • Select “Accommodation Letters”.
    • A list of students that have requested accommodations for that course will appear.
    • Select the student.
    • Select “View Letter”.
    • Select “Review PDF Letter” to download and view the letter to read.
    • Select “Acknowledge” under “Step 2”.
    • Submit.
    • Upon submission, an auto generated email will be sent to the student inviting them to communicate with you directly regarding the details and implementations of their accommodations.

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Because of their disability, some students may experience difficulty in taking class notes independently, or may not be able to take notes at all. Instructors can assist by including a request on course syllabi for volunteer notetakers to register on the SAS website. Instructors may also make notes available to the entire class after lecture online, through Avenue to Learn.

Students with disabilities may need one or more of the following notetaking options, which all students may benefit from:

  • Allowing students to record lectures with a digital recorder.
  • Distributing copies of overhead slides, PowerPoint slides, and/or handouts in advance of lecture.
  • Offering lecture outlines online before class.
  • Recruiting volunteer notetakers through class announcements or online.

Recruiting Notetakers

To recruit student volunteers as notetakers in a class, we provide information on an overhead, a PowerPoint slide or a PDF version.

For other formats, please email

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In-Class Test & Midterm Accommodations

*Note: It is extremely important for you to check emails from SAS. Be sure to check your junk folder, as emails are sometimes filtered into that folder.

  • Students need to have a conversation with you about test accommodations.
  • You will receive an auto generated email with the date, time and location of the test after the student has booked the test. It is extremely important to check emails incase there are problems with the booking.
  • The initial email includes the student’s accommodations.
  • The following reminder email simply lists all the students scheduled to write (without accommodation information).
  • Deliver a copy of the test 48 hours prior to the test writing time.
  • It is essential that the test is delivered in the correct format as indicated in the student’s accommodations (e.g., large font or PDF).
  • Include details on the test such as duration and what aids are allowed. You are expected to provide information related to the test to both the student and SAS (e.g., if a calculator is allowed, or if spell check is disallowed).
  • If there is an error with the test, email the correction to and call ext. 24407.
  • Provide contact information for questions during a student’s test time (e.g., McMaster extension or cell phone number). *Note: This information is kept confidential from students.
  • Pick up the test at the SAS Testing Centre (Commons B104) within 5 business days after completion of the test. *Note: If you are authorizing a TA to pick up the test, you must inform the SAS Testing Centre.


Scheduling of Class Tests or Exams

  • If a student requires an accommodation to move a test or exam due to a conflict (e.g., two tests/exams on the same day), the test/exam occurring second is rescheduled.
  • If the two tests/exams are happening at the same time on the same day, the one in which the class occurs later in the day/week would be moved.

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Registrar Supervised Final Exam Accommodations

  • The Office of the Registrar arranges all accommodations for all students with disabilities writing exams under their administration.
  • Instructors are notified of the date, time, and location a student may be writing for all courses taught by the instructor.
  • Instructors are responsible for either attending the exam, or providing contact information in order that any questions can be addressed.

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Alternate Text Formats

Some students with a print disability (i.e., students who cannot read, see, or manipulate print on paper) may require textbooks in a format alternate to print (e.g., Braille, MP3, PDF, Word)

  1. The student will arrange for alternate format texts through Library Accessibility Services.
  2. Receiving text in alternate formats can take a significant amount of time (e.g., Braille can take up to three months or more to produce).
  3. Therefore, provide textbook lists as early in the summer as possible to allow sufficient time for the conversion process.
  4. Many texts are already available in alternate formats. Where possible, try to select texts from this resource pool. For more information, contact Library Accessibility Services by email or phone (ext. 26058).

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Classroom Accommodations

It is the responsibility of students to meet with you, preferably in your office during office hours or by appointment, to discuss accommodations to assist with their successful completion of the course. These accommodations may include in-class supports. Listed are some common accommodation types and general best practices to follow.

  • Provide copies of lecture notes, overhead slides, PowerPoint slides, and handouts in advance of lecture.
  • Allow students to record lectures.
  • Assist with arranging or recruiting notetakers via class announcements.
  • Allow consideration for extensions on assignments.
  • Allow consideration for missed class-work due to absence from class, potentially allowing for alternate evaluation methods.
  • Provide an alternate evaluation method for class presentations.
  • Provide an alternate evaluation method for group work.
  • Face the class when speaking, and do not cover your mouth.
  • Use an FM hearing system.
  • Provide alternatives to inaccessible teaching tools (e.g., online quizzes may be inaccessible to some students).
  • Reserve seats at the front of class for those who require them.
  • Select textbooks or videos in inclusive formats (e.g., alternate format texts or videos with captioning/descriptive audio).

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Memory Aid/Formula Sheet

What is a Memory Aid/Formula Sheet?

Memory aids/formula sheets are testing accommodations to support students who have challenges with memory. Memory aids give students an equal opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge in a test/exam by lessening the impact of their disability. The accommodation is not intended to reduce academic requirements or alter the standards by which academic performance is assessed. A student’s Program Coordinator in Student Accessibility Services will determine if a memory aid is an appropriate accommodation.

A memory aid is typically an 8 1/2 by 11″ piece of paper that can be handwritten or typed in 10 or 12 point font. It can include diagrams, mind maps, general formulas, acronyms, pictures, etc. It can be organized chronologically, or by module or chapter. It makes sense only to the student who created it and will use it. It includes only the information the student cannot remember and triggers to retrieve it. The contents of a memory aid are at the instructor’s discretion and should not run contrary to the essential requirements of the course. Download a handout on memory aids (PDF) that may be helpful.

Memory Aid/Formula Sheet Approval Process

First, the student must discuss the content of the memory aid/formula sheet with the instructor. The student then books his or her test/exam. The student creates a memory aid and then gives it to the instructor for editing and final approval at least 5 working days before the test/exam. The instructor approves the memory aid at least 2 working days before the test/exam. Once the memory aid is approved, the instructor attached it to the test/exam and submits it to SAS Tests (Commons Building B104, or via email to In the case of exams, to the Exams Office (GH 114). The memory aid will be returned with the completion of the test/exam.

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Online Services Outage July 18th

Online services including: Schedule an in-class test, mid-term or quiz; Book an Appointment; Course Notes etc.; unavailable between 2:15pm and 4pm on Thursday July 18th.

New SAS Site

SAS will be launching a redesigned website by the end of the summer.

Important Instructor Information: The Yellow File

The Yellow File is meant to provide instructors and the teaching team with basic information regarding students with disabilities, SAS and the academic accommodation process. This file is available for download here: SAS Yellow File 2017-2018.

Crisis Resources

Is your student in crisis? Refer them to these resources.