Instructors: How To

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 – MAKE PAGE

  • Academic accommodations should be provided only where the accommodations have been communicated through either SAS or the student’s Faculty.
  • Students should not be asked to disclose their disability or diagnosis in the academic accommodation process.
  • You should not request at any time medical documentation in support of accommodation.
  • All requests for accommodation from a student should be referred to the student’s Faculty or SAS.
  • Academic accommodations provided should only be those communicated by either SAS or the student’s Faculty.
  • Any discussion related to academic accommodations should only be about the details related to implementation of accommodations (e.g. date of a test booking, extended date for submission of an assignment, etc.)
  • MSAF cannot be used in replacement of the provision of an accommodation.

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Receiving and Acknowledging Student Accommodations Online – PAGE MADE

*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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Notetaking – MAKE PAGE

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.

  • In some instances SAS may be in touch with you to discuss or confirm the presence of a SAS assigned notetaker to your class. In these circumstances, it may bee necessary for you to ensure that there is a seat in the class available to the assigned notetaker.
    • Any questions related to a SAS assigned notetaker can be sent to

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, SAS can 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 – MAKE PAGE

  • *Note: It is extremely important for you to check emails from SAS. Be sure to check your junk folder, as emails from SAS may sometimes be filtered to that folder.
  • Please be reminded it is inappropriate to speak with a student about any midterm, class test (or any other accommodation) in the presence of other students or in front of the class. All such conversation should be private.
  • Students need to have a conversation with you about test accommodations. If they do not in advance, it is reasonable to reach out to them directly and individually.
  • 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 test booking confirmation email from SAS will include the student’s test accommodations.
  • Two follow-up reminder emails from SAS (7 and 2 days in advance of booking) will list all the students scheduled to write (without accommodation information).
  • Deliver a copy of the test 48 hours prior to the first scheduled 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 a memory aid is a provided accommodation, you must submit the approved memory aid with the copy of the test in advance of the booking (any questions related to a memory aid should be directed to the student’s SAS Program Coordinator.
  • 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). 
    • 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. 
    • If you are authorizing a TA to pick up the test, you must inform the SAS Testing Centre
  • Identification will be requested when picking up completed tests for security purposes.

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 typically 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 typically be moved.

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Registrar Supervised Final Exam Accommodations – MAKE PAGE

  • The Office of the Registrar arranges all accommodations for all students with disabilities writing exams under the Registrar’s 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 timely.
  • Any final exam scheduled during the regular exam period, which would be administered by you the instructor, shall be accommodated in the same way as noted above for a class test or midterm. Students writing instructor exams during the exam period, must contact SAS to arrange date, time and location for that exam.

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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)

  • The student will arrange for alternate format texts through Library Accessibility Services.
  • 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).
  • It is important that you provide textbook lists as early in the summer as possible to allow sufficient time for the conversion process.
  • 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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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 – MAKE PAGE

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 memory aid is typically a double-sided 8 1/2″ by 11″ piece of paper, handwritten or typed in 10 or 12 point font.
    • It may include diagrams, mind maps, general formulas, acronyms, pictures, etc.
  • It should be relevant only to the student who created it and will use it.
  • It should include only the information the student needs to trigger processing and recall of information.
  • The content of a memory aid are at the instructor’s discretion and should not run contrary to the essential requirements of the course.
  • View the following handout for the design and process for administering a memory aid accommodation.

Memory Aid Approval Procedure

  1. Your student must discuss with you the need for a memory aid, and its possible content well in advance of the scheduled date for the class test/exam.
  2. The student then books his or her test/exam.
  3. Your student must compose the draft memory aid and submit it to you for review and any amendment a minimum of 5 business days in advance of the scheduled test/exam.
  4. You must submit the final version of the memory aid with a copy of the test/exam to be written two days in advance of the scheduled test/exam (please note that the timeline for submitting the final memory aid may be different for the Office of the Registrar).
  5. Additional Note: The memory aid should be contained in the envelope with the completed test/exam. If not, you may want to consult with either SAS Tests or the Office of the Registrar.

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Last Updated: August 2 2019