Palomar College Learning For Success

Disability Resource Center

Counseling Services Division

What Instructors Need to Know Regarding COVID-19 and Accessibility, Accommodation, and the DRC

Exams with Accommodations

Due to state and college guidance related to COVID-19, the Disability Resource Center’s Testing Center will no longer be administering onsite exams in the DRC until further notice.

Exams will need to be provided in the alternative instruction environment of each course. As instructors adjust the course content to online and alternative learning formats, we anticipate students will receive more information about potential changes to the exam administration. If students have questions about exam administration, they should first ask their instructors for clarification and expectations. After talking to their instructor, students can reach out to DRC’s Testing Coordinator at or schedule a meeting with a DRC Counselor by contacting or 760-744-1150, ext. 2375 as necessary. Here are steps students and instructors should take to ensure accessible exams:

  1. Student talks to their instructor and uses resources/technology available in their course.
  2. If access is not possible using existing course resources/technology in the alternative instruction environment, the student contacts or a DRC counselor to explore remote accommodation possibilities.
  3. If no remote accommodation possibilities exist, then the DRC Counselor works with the instructor regarding alternative assessment possibilities.

Will exams be administered in person by the Disability Resource Center?

No. For the foreseeable future, the DRC Testing Center is not scheduling exams to be administered in the DRC. Exams will need to be provided in the alternative instruction environment of your course. As instructors adjust course content to online and alternative learning formats, students may need additional information about potential changes to exam administration. Students who require complex exam accommodations should reach out to their DRC Counselor to discuss their specific needs as soon as they are known. The DRC Counselor will reach out to instructors to explore what is possible. Please be patient throughout this process.

How do I extend time on a Canvas quiz for students with extended time accommodations?

If it’s a Classic Quiz the instructions are at: This allows, per student per quiz, for a specific amount of extra time to be added.

If it’s a New Quiz there are two possibilities. The way that matches the Classic Quiz method is documented at But the other option is to simply allow either an additional set amount of time or a multiplier for a student, so all New Quiz attempts have the time limits automatically adjusted. That’s documented at .

What if my student needs an exam accommodation that is not available in Canvas?

Contact a DRC Counselor on the student’s accommodation letter to explore alternate ways to assess the student’s knowledge or contact the DRC at or 760-744-1150, ext. 2375.

Digital accessibility resources and best practices

The transition to alternative learning formats will require both flexibility and attention to the effect of the alternative environment on the needs of students with disabilities. Student accommodations are changes in your course environment for an individual student that make it possible for that student to participate in your class. As your class environment changes, student accommodation needs may also change. Please reach out to the DRC if you have questions about meeting the needs of a specific student. The DRC is here to assist you in providing effective accommodations in your course.

Additionally, you can facilitate accessibility by proactively creating digital materials that can be used by the greatest number of people without modification. This can both reduce the need for reactive accommodation and improve access for all students. We encourage you to do what you can to make your digital resources accessible before posting or sharing them.

Here are a few best practices in online course accessibility from another institution of higher education:

How to Get Help at Palomar College

Accommodations and access for instructors who have students with disabilities in your courses.

Palomar College is committed to providing access in all forms of learning environments. The DRC is providing the following information to support instructors through the transition to alternative learning formats. We have also communicated with students who are registered with the DRC about what these changes mean for them.

As the College moves to alternative instruction, students with disabilities will need you to implement accommodations. However, the barriers in the online environment may be different from those present in a traditional classroom. Here are a few guidelines and resources to support you in providing appropriate accommodations:

  1. Honor current accommodation letters for students with disabilities, and encourage students to contact their DRC Counselor if different accommodations may be needed.
  2. Curiosity and flexibility are key to exploring what facilitates effective and reasonable access and participation for all students – particularly students with disabilities – in the new alternative instruction environments.
  3. Please connect with your students to explore their access needs and what accommodations they may need in the new environment. For students who have DRC accommodation letters, the DRC Counselor listed on the accommodation letter can be a resource regarding specific accommodations.
  4. DRC Counselors can be available for drop-in phone consultation. Please reach out by email at If you need to reach out by phone, please call 760-744-1150, ext. 2375 and leave a voicemail; a staff member will return your call or respond by email as soon as we are able.
  5. If the new environment presents significant barriers to a student, what is reasonable with regard to accommodations may change. For example, additional flexibility on assignment deadlines and alternative methods of assessment may be reasonable for some students due to additional barriers present in the new environment. Flexibility and using multiple methods for students to demonstrate their learning will be key to making the transition to alternative instruction more accessible for students with disabilities.
  6. When the barriers to alternative instruction are too significant, exploring an incomplete may also become reasonable.
  7. Planning for accessibility from the beginning is key to reducing barriers for students with disabilities.

The following are additional resources for your review from the University of Minnesota:

Palomar College Disability Resource Center-Related FAQs

Is the Disability Resource Center open?

Until further notice, the DRC will operate as follows:

  • DRC Counselors are available for remote appointments from 8:00 am 5:00 pm, M-TH, and 8-2 pm on Fridays, with evening appointments in April and May. . All student appointments and instructor consultations will be done via phone or video conference using Zoom. Please leave a message at either or 760-744-1150, ext. 2375 to schedule an appointment.
  • Students who require complex exam accommodations should reach out to their DRC Counselor to discuss their specific needs as soon as they are known. The DRC Counselor will reach out to your instructor to explore what is possible. Please be patient throughout this process.

Captioning of Videos or other Instructional Material

Instructional content can be delivered in two different ways:

  • Asynchronous – Such as a recorded Zoom session, video, powerpoint with audio
  • Synchronous – Such as a live Zoom session

There are also different forms of effective communication and accommodations for students with hearing loss to access audio content. Decisions surrounding which form to use largely depends upon the preferred method of communication for the student AND the instructional content itself.

  • Captioning: Captioning divides transcript text into time-coded chunks, known as caption frames. Captions, composed of text, are used to access content delivered by spoken words and sounds.
  • Real-time Captioning: Real-time captions, or Computer Assisted Real-time Translation (CART), are created as an event takes place.
  • Sign Language Interpreting: helps individuals who are deaf understand a spoken language by converting it into their preferred language, American Sign Language.
    • Remote real-time captioning and interpreting occur at a remote location and then the words/captions or sign language is transmitted to the student in a different location. For example, in a lecture hall an instructor can talk into a microphone that is connected via the Internet to a captioner in a different city. Or an interpreter logs into a Zoom session and translates the spoken words into sign language visible to the student/class in Zoom.
  • Transcript: speech or audio that is converted into a written text document.

In what ways can the DRC assist with making synchronous and asynchronous course content accessible for students who are deaf?

DRC can provide resources and assistance for captioning the following content:

  1. Content that is instructor made (both synchronous or asynchronous)
  2. Content on Youtube or Vimeo, (asynchronous)
  3. Content in which the instructor has access to the video/source files. (asynchronous)

The DRC can’t arrange captions for other content due to the absence of a source file. An example of what the DRC can’t caption would be a video on National Geographic. NOVA, or PBS website.

I am an instructor and have a student who is deaf in my course. Who do I contact first for support in making my videos and other instructional content accessible?

First, ask the student if he/she is registered/a participant of the DRC. If not, refer them to the DRC: or

  • If the student is registered with the DRC and has been approved for accommodations, Denise VanderStoel from the DRC interpreting/captioning department will contact you regarding making course content accessible.
    • The DRC interpreting/captioning department will ask which types of course content need captions, then will send you a form to complete to allow us to assist you. Complete the form as quickly as possible and return it to
    • The DRC interpreting/captioning department will then either apply for a DECT grant or provide you with instructions to send your videos to 3CMedia for captioning. The DECT grant will provide funding for video captioning of certain types of media as well as for live, synchronous captioning and transcription. 3CMedia provides only asynchronous captioning and transcription.
    • The process of writing the grant and having the instructional content captioned by an approved third party vendor, takes approximately 3 weeks. The actual turnaround time for producing captions depends on multiple factors: file format of the video, length of the video, and type of vocabulary used. During the first week of the semester, vendor turnaround time increases due to the heavy volume of captioning requests. Completing this process several weeks prior to the start of the semester will allow for the shortest turnaround time.
    • The Palomar 3D Portal also provides many training opportunities to learn how to self-caption or self-edit automatically generated captions.

I have a student in my class who has sign language interpreters and these interpreters provide interpreting of my live Zoom sessions. Do I still need to caption my recorded Zoom lectures?

There are various options for making the recorded Zoom lecture accessible to the student(s) if using an ASL interpreter and recording a session. These options depend upon many factors, unique to each class/professor/student:

  • Make the ASL interpreters both cohosts and be sure the meeting host “Spotlights” the ASL provider’s video so that the ASL is captured in the recording. In this way, the recorded Zoom session will be accessible to the student. Click here for instructions on how to “Spotlight”
  • Please Allow the student to record their unique screen set-up to ensure they will see the interpreters’ video tiles in a much larger format when accessing the recording playback. To assign recording privileges to a Zoom participant, follow these steps:
  • PRIOR to a Zoom session, make sure your Zoom settings allow for local recordings:
    • Click on My Meeting Settings In the Recording tab, navigate to the Local Recording option and verify that the setting is enabled (it will be blue when enabled)
  • During a Zoom session, click on Manage Participants
  • Find the Deaf student’s name, click in MORE next to their name
  • A message will be sent to the student that they can begin recording their screen. When they are recording, you will see a recording icon next to their name on your list of participants.
    Click here for more information

How do I add captions to a video I’m distributing to my students?

If you have a student in your class who has an Authorized Accommodation Letter from the DRC and an accommodation of captioning or sign language interpreting, and you have the source file (see above), e-mail Due to the large volume of videos/recorded courses, we need to receive these videos as soon as possible.

To proactively add captions to facilitate better access for all students:

What will happen with students working with sign language interpreters and other access needs?

We’re communicating directly with students who utilize accommodations such as sign language interpreters and real-time captioners, and their instructors, and encouraging them to contact the DRC to explore their access needs given the new alternative instruction directive.

Resources for the Faculty to Visit for Captioning Assistance and Support:

The Palomar College Library has numerous videos. All of these videos are captioned. This should be visited first.

  • The library has videos that are already captioned from Nova, etc.
  • Youtube does automatic captions. The captions aren’t always 100% accurate. You will need to correct the captions. The less background noise, the more accurate the captions will be.
  • Faculty can also contact the Publisher of the content to try to get the content/source file. If received, forward the source file to Then the DRC can write a DECT grant that can provide auto captions (see process outlined above)
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