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Academic Accommodations

Academic accommodations are defined as all adjustments, alterations, and/or modifications that allow a student with a documented disability or impairment to have equal access to university programs and activities.

Registering with Disability Services

Before you can request academic accommodations, you must first register with Disability Services by providing documentation of your disability.

We reserve the right to request additional information, should the documentation provided be insufficient in diagnosing and describing the disability or in providing enough information to determine academic accommodations. We are not responsible for ensuring academic accommodations for students who identify themselves only to faculty and not directly through Disability Services.

Requesting Academic Accommodations

To request academic accommodations, you must complete the following steps:

1. Provide Disability Services with the appropriate documentation and need for academic accommodations.

2. Schedule an appointment with the assistant director of disability services by calling 781.891.2274 during the first four weeks of classes, or soon after diagnosis, to request academic accommodations. During the appointment, an academic accommodation form will be completed indicating the approved accommodations, modifications, and/or auxiliary aids for that semester. It must be signed by both parties. You must repeat this process each semester for which you would like to receive academic accommodations.

3. At the conclusion of your appointment, you are responsible for making appointments with your instructors to provide them with the accommodation letter and confirm a clear and complete understanding by both parties involved. Instructors have one week to implement these academic accommodations after receiving the letter. The assistant director of disability services will assist with this process, should the need arise.

4. If instructors have questions or concerns about the awarded academic accommodations, you are responsible for immediately contacting the assistant director of disability services to resolve the issue.

5. An academic accommodation letter applies for the entire semester indicated, but may not be used after the conclusion of the semester. If you need assistance, please contact the assistant director of disability services at 781.891.2274 or sbrodeur@bentley.edu.

Types of Academic Accommodations

Course Accommodations

Course accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

  • Note sharer support
  • Permission to tape-record lectures (pending faculty approval)
  • Sign language interpreter
  • Assistive listening devices (e.g., FM listening device)
  • Materials in enlarged print

Exam Accommodations

Exam accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

  • Additional time to complete exams, quizzes, and/or in-class writing assignments
  • Quiet, distraction-reduced testing location. This does not imply private testing, but a greatly reduced number of students present.
  • Reading assistance (e.g. reading the test questions out loud to the student, placing the exam on tape, explaining extraneous vocabulary, clarifying test questions and rewording test questions)
  • Use of hand-written responses, rather than computerized answer sheet
  • Use of computer or word processor for essay questions
  • No penalty for spelling mistakes or use of portable spell checker
  • Use of a calculator in the classroom 
  • Permission to take exams in sections (e.g. one page at a time)
  • Oral rather than written exam
  • Scribe
  • Verbatim text reader
  • Exam rescheduling when more than one exam is scheduled on the same day

Additional Academic Accommodations

Additional academic accommodations that are available include:

  • Early registration
  • Reduced course load
  • Audiobooks
  • Speech magnification software (e.g., ZoomText)
  • Text-to-speech software (e.g., Natural Reader)
  • Speech-to-text software (e.g., Dragon Naturally Speaking)

Note Sharer Service

When appropriate, we may permit a student with a qualified, documented disability that interferes with his or her ability to take notes in class to receive notes from a classmate for in-class lectures.

Identifying a Note Sharer

Upon approval, it is the responsibility of the student requesting the accommodation to recruit a classmate to provide notes, and to refer him or her to the Office of Disability Services to complete paperwork. We encourage the student receiving the accommodation to attend classes first to best determine in which courses note sharers are needed.

If you need assistance identifying a note sharer, we recommend that you speak with your professor confidentially to ask that they make an announcement in class.

Once identified, it is your responsibility to first meet with the note sharer, have him or her complete the Note Sharer Information Form, and deliver the paperwork to the Office of Disability Services.

The note sharer will receive a stipend for his or her efforts.

Working with a Note Sharer

You must work directly with the note sharer to receive notes in a timely manner by requesting that he or she provide notes with 24 hours of each scheduled class. You should discuss this with the note sharer early in the process.

Having a note sharer does not relieve you of the necessity to attend class. If you do not attend class, the note sharer is not obligated to provide the materials from the missed class. If there is a medically documented reason to miss class, it is recommended that you discuss this with the note sharer. It is the note sharer's decision to provide notes from the classes missed.

Note Sharer Responsibilities

If you have been identified as a note sharer for a classmate, he or she first will refer you to the Office of Disability Services for a meeting and to ensure all necessary paperwork has been completed. In working as a note sharer, you must abide by the following:

  • It is your responsibility to work closely with the student receiving the note sharer accommodation. Notes should be delivered directly to the student approved for this accommodation no later than 24 hours after the class meeting.
  • You should notify the student if you will be absent from class, so he or she can make alternate arrangements.
  • Having a note sharer is not a substitute for attending or an excuse for missing class by the student receiving this accommodation.
  • The note sharer service is confidential. You should not divulge the name of a student with whom notes are being shared.

At the end of the semester, you will receive an email from the Office of Disability Services asking you to collect a stipend for your efforts. The stipend must be collected by the last day of the semester.

Alternative Format Textbooks

Students with qualified learning disabilities and visual impairments may need textbooks and other course-related written material in an alternate format to assist them in their reading and coursework. You must provide documentation that specifically supports this request.

We support numerous alternative formats, such as:

  • e-Text in a secure format from a variety of resources (e.g., Bookshare.org)
  • e-Text from the publisher provided to the student on CD or via electronic mail
  • Text scanned by the Academic Technology Center (ATC) and provided on CD
  • Audiotape in four-track format from a variety of resources (e.g., Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic)
  • Braille
  • Large print

Documentation Requirements

Your documentation must satisfy the following criteria to be approved for access to alternative format textbooks:

  • Meet Bentley guidelines for what constitutes a specific learning disability or visual impairment
  • State the existence of a specific reading deficit in the areas of reading comprehension, decoding, or reading rate; or a type of visual impairment including, but not limited to, ocular motility dysfunction, vengeance dysfunction, strabismus, amblyopia, or visual sensory disorders
  • Evidence must be apparent of your ability to benefit from having written material presented in an alternate format

The Office of Disability Services will make the determination concerning your eligibility for receiving textbooks or other course materials in an alternate format.

Request Process

Once you have been approved to use alternative format textbooks, you must complete the following:

1. Purchase each textbook or other course material requested from the bookstore, and provide proof of text ownership to the Office of Disability Services. Failure to do so will prevent you from receiving this auxiliary aid.

2. Register with www.bookshare.org and search for your book. If Bookshare carries your book, you can download the file to your computer, free of charge.

3. If Bookshare does not carry your book, complete and submit an Alternate Format Request Form [NEED PDF] to the Office of Disability Services for each textbook or other course material you are seeking in an alternate format. This must include:

  • Complete course code (e.g., GO100-012)
  • Instructor’s full name
  • Complete title of textbook or course material
  • Author and editor (if applicable)
  • Publisher
  • Edition number
  • Copyright year
  • ISBN number
  • Exact page numbers (included even if entire text is requested)
  • Electronic format preference (e.g., CD, flash stick, etc.)

4. We will take your specific format request into consideration when seeking and obtaining alternate format materials; however, not every item will be readily available in every format. In such cases, you must accept the specific format available.

After submitting all of the proper information, you can expect a four- to six-week wait before receiving requested materials in alternate format; however, wait time will vary depending upon the specific materials and the format being requested. You are strongly encouraged to provide the requested information as far in advance as possible to receive alternate materials in a timely manner.

If you wish to have printed material converted into an alternate format but do not meet the specific criteria stated above, you may speak with the Office of Disability Services to discuss options. A variety of software that "reads" text can be made available to you.