Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about Online Courses

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers- About Online Instruction for Students with Disabilities

Q: Are the Offices of Disability Services (ODS) still operational at every Rutgers campus?   

A: Yes, the Offices of Disability Services at each Rutgers campus are still operating Monday – Friday. However, all or most employees at each office are working remotely and the physical offices are closed.  All appointments and services will be conducted via phone or virtually until further notice. Go to our Operating Status page for the most up-to-date information on the Rutgers Office of Disability Services operating statuses.

If you have questions or concerns or simply need to reach out to someone in ODS, please refer to our Contact Us page for a list of all campus Disability Services staff.

Q:  Will I continue to receive my approved accommodations if my course is now online?

Yes, the student accommodations for in-person courses outlined in the Letter of Accommodations provided by the Office of Disability Services for fall 2020 are still relevant.  However, how they are implemented in an online environment may need to be adapted or adjusted and will depend on specific Learning Management Systems (e.g., Blackboard, Canvas, Sakai), content, and assessments (e.g., quizzes, exams, papers).  We ask that everyone be as flexible as possible as these nuances are worked out. Please review the information we have developed about how receiving accommodations online.  Please, don’t hesitate to reach out to your ODS Coordinator with any questions or concerns. 

Q: What can I do if I am having difficulty fully accessing materials online? Can I update my accommodations?

Yes. We recognize that existing accommodations may not be applicable or compatible with instruction occurring in an online environment. Students having difficulty accessing course content due to the change to an online format should contact their ODS Coordinator to discuss the possibility of additional accommodations. 

Q: Can I register with ODS if I have not already done so this semester?

Yes. We understand that some students with disabilities may have elected not to register their disability previously with ODS or have disabilities that are new or progressing, and may wish to do so at this time. To begin, please go to our registration page to review the process and complete the registration form.

Q: How do I share my Letter of Accommodations with instructors now that the class is online?

If you already have an electronic format of your Letter of Accommodations, please share this with your instructor by sending a copy to your instructor via email.  If you need a new electronic copy for any reason, especially if your accommodations have recently changed, please complete the Letter of Accommodations request form.  

Q: What happens now that exams are online? How do I get extended time for an online exam?  

Once a student has submitted their LOA a student and professor can:

  • work out the details directly, with no involvement from our office, or
  • submit an exam accommodation request form to ODS, and our office can assist in setting up the exam accommodations. For those students submitting an exam request form, we email a confirmation to both the student and faculty approximately 1 week prior to the exam with information about what accommodations are needed.
  • visit our Exam Accommodations page for more information about this process at each Rutgers campus.

Q: What if I log into my online exam or quiz and my additional time has not been added?

As a reminder, you must share your LOA with your professor and fill out an exam request form prior to the exam. If you have taken all these steps, and your time is not correct, log out of the exam immediately and contact your professor either by email, text (if available), or other means as instructed on the course syllabus. We also suggest you copy your ODS Coordinator or exam coordinator on your communication with the professor.

Q: What if I have a question for my professor while I am taking an online quiz or exam?

We strongly encourage you to talk with your faculty member in advance of the test or quiz to determine how (or if) they will be responding to questions during the exam. Each faculty member may have a different approach depending on how they are conducing the assessment.

Q: Will ODS be able to proctor my exams in person if I need this? 

ODS will most likely not be unable to proctor exams in person while virtual instruction is in place at Rutgers University due to restrictions at the time due to the pandemic. At this time, the Testing Centers at most campuses are closed.  Please check with your ODS Coordinator to find out details for your specific Rutgers campus. 

Most exams and quizzes have moved to online systems within your Learning Management System (Canvas, Sakai, or Blackboard) and some may be using online proctoring software such as ProctorTrack.  Please see our Technology Information Page for Online Learning for more information on exam accommodations and proctoring systems. 

If you have questions or concerns about how this will work for you please contact your ODS Coordinator as soon as possible so they can work with you and your faculty on a possible solution. 

Q: Where can I find more information about how to take a class online?

The technology information for online classes page has the latest updates and information about videoconferencing, learning management systems, and getting help with technology services and systems.  If any student, including those with disabilities have general technology or learning management system related questions, not related to their disability, the fastest method of obtaining answers is to reach out to the Office of Information Technology Help Desk.

If you will be using Canvas, we encourage you to explore the self paced Student Orientation Tutorial for more information about getting started with, and navigating a course in Canvas.

The Learning Centers have also developed a number of tutorials to assist students who need information about how to succeed in an online class.

We know this is a new situation for many of you, and encourage you to take some time reviewing the available resources. 

Q: I was participating in a study group and meeting with an academic coach. Can I still do that?

Most services offered by the New Brunswick Learning Center are still being offered, but in an online format. Please visit the Learning Center website for additional details.

For Newark students, Student Support, such as the Learning Center and Writing Center, will be continuing in an online format. Please visit the Student Support website for additional details.

For Camden Students: 

Online tutoring is available via Smarthinking. This support service allows students to connect with online tutors across a wide variety of subject areas 24 hours a day. Students can access the service via the web by going to https://learn.camden.rutgers.edu/ and clicking on the Smarthinking link located under the Tutoring Resources heading on the right of the page. Android and IOS apps are available so students can log on via their mobile devices. If you have specific questions regarding Smarthinking, please contact the Learning Center at 856-225-6442. 

Q: I currently have a note-taker assigned in my in-person class. Now that class is online, will I still receive a copy of the notes?  

Yes, but you may find that you no longer need a note-taker due to the course design changes. For example, your class may move to content that is largely all readings and papers - activities for which a note taker is not needed. On the other hand, some instructors may still opt for scheduled web based class meetings or pre-recorded video lectures where having notes provided would still be applicable.  

All established note-takers will be asked to continue taking notes and providing them in the same way you were receiving them in the past.  All previously paid note-takers will continue to receive compensation for their notes if notes are still needed within a course. Please refer to our page about receiving accommodations online for more information.  

Q: I'm currently using Note Taking Express. How do I upload an online recording?

For students who are approved for and using Note Taking Express (NTE) we are recommending two programs to assist with creating a recording to upload: Audacity and OBS Studio. You can find more information about both programs on the Online Recordings with NTE page.