Access Services

Faculty Resources

Resources for Faculty


Course Availability in Canvas: Please be sure to publish your Fall 2022 course. Doing so keeps in line with University policy of allowing students to see course content two (2) weeks prior to the start of the term. There are two ways to publish your course.

Option 1: Publish from Dashboard

  • When logged into Canvas and on your Dashboard, scroll to the unpublished list and click the Publish button on the course image. Doing so will make the course available for all enrolled students. 

Option 2: Publish from course: 

  • When you are in your Fall 22 course you can publish the course by clicking on the publish button the top right corner of the course page

Check out the Canvas Training and Support Document

Update your Canvas home page, overview and more




  • Built into Canvas is an Immersive Reader tool. This allows any user to customize the way they see and interact with a page when in Canvas. The tool can change the way a page is viewed; provides translation and dictionary support; and can read the page to a user. Please encourage your students to use this feature as needed. 

  • Click this link for a tutorial on how to use the Immersive Too


ALLY (Accessibility Tool)  

The Ally Accessibility tool is available in Canvas! This gives instructors the opportunity to optimize course content to ensure it is as accessible as possible. Also, it allows students to view content in alternative formats to best suit their learning styles and modalities.   



Zoom is a preferred option by most.  Consider this infographic that was posted to address whether you should require students to turn on their videos during virtual class meetings.  

  • Setting up Zoom and Canvas

    • This page will cover adding Zoom to your course and scheduling a Zoom session



Instructors and Panopto

 Save Zoom Recordings to Panopto


RESPONDUS (Lockdown Browser And Monitor)

We have expanded the electronic testing opportunities in collaboration with the testing services at the Student Success Center


TURNITIN (Plagiarism Review)



  • While this is the first term for many of you in Canvas we have a great team ready to support you and your courses.

  • As we move through this semester together, be sure to check out the CELT website for upcoming training opportunities  to further advance your understanding of the various instructional technology tools at your disposal. 

  • As a last reminder, Please send any request or issues to the helpdesk at




What is Universal Design for Learning?

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is the concept that products and environments should be designed to be usable by all people, without the need for adaptations, modifications, or alterations.

UDL assumes that any difference and variation in human characteristics is ordinary.  Accessibility and flexibility should be integrated into design.

In the university setting, UDL principles provide a basic framework that encourages faculty members to actively utilize inclusive instructional practices into their courses. These inclusive teaching methods reach a broader range of learners than many traditional classroom approaches.  By creating inclusive instructional practices, the need for modifications and accommodations is greatly reduced.

Students are incredibly diverse in their learning needs, preparation, and approaches. UDL offers a practical instructional method to anticipate this learner variability and provide every student with equal opportunities to learn.


Universal Design at SMU

Utilize this presentation for creating a Universally Designed Learning atmosphere for your students



Tips for Teaching an Accessible Online Course

The Center for Universal Design in Education has published a new tutorial that can be used by instructors to guide them in the creation of accessible online courses. It complements the popular checklist


Universal Design “Plus One” Thinking

As you think about how students experience your course, consider ways to enhance something you already do in your course.  Universal Design for Learning (UDL) does not mean implementing all strategies at once.  Instead, as you renew a course for a new semester, consider “Plus One” thinking!


Universal Resources


Creating Accessible Digital Zoom Meetings

View this link to create accessible Zoom meetings


11 Steps to Digital Accessibility


1. Use clear and consistent layouts.  Avoid background colors.

2. Use styles instead of individual style buttons.

3. Create Hyperlinks using descriptive language.

4. Use concise alt-text for images and tables and consider audio description for videos.

5. Caption or transcribe video and audio at 99% accuracy.

6. Use high contrast color combinations and consistent fonts throughout.

7. Avoid overuse of underlining words, CAPS, bold, italics, or animated and blinking graphics.

8. Create Accessible Documents and NCDAE Cheatsheet for application(s) you often use.

9. Include the SMU Accessibility Statement and Access Services Website on your syllabus for resources.

10. Please consider access issues using Zoom. 

11. Post syllabus and open course 2 weeks prior to the start of the course.



Digital Accessibility PPT

Here is the Digital Accessibility PowerPoint created by Access Services for insight into useful tools and information regarding Accessibility. 


Higher Education Compliance Kit

Higher Ed Compliance Kit: by the Rev Higher Education Team meets the needs of your students in the post-COVID-19 era. Get the resources you need to understand the laws affecting your university in this new world–including tips on how to make your content far more accessible.


How to Add Captions to a Video with Panopto

Utilize this resource to add ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) to your course videos!


Resources for Online Teaching

Below you will find a number of useful resources to support you as your classes go online.

Helpful articles for online learning:

Useful Resources for Online Learning:
Digital Technology
Access Services Syllabus Statement Winona Campus

Saint Mary’s University is committed to assuring that students with documented disabilities have access to equal educational programs and activities at the university. If you believe that you have a disability that may interfere with your ability to participate in the activities, coursework, or assessments of this course, you may be entitled to accommodation.  Please contact Access Services within the Student Success Center, as early in the semester as possible to arrange a confidential discussion about your need for accommodation. Please email and/or schedule an appointment with Access Services.

Access Services Syllabus Statement Twin Cities Campus

Saint Mary’s University is committed to ensuring that students with documented disabilities have access to equal educational programs and activities at the university. If you believe that you have a disability that may interfere with your ability to participate in the activities, coursework, or assessments of this course, you may be entitled to accommodation. Please contact Laura Lanning at as soon as possible to arrange a confidential discussion about your need for accommodation.

Faculty Testing Form

Please fill out the Faculty Testing Form for all students who plan to take your exams/quizzes in the SSC




Faculty Testing Protocol and Processes

Access Services will notify faculty of student accommodations via email.

Faculty have the option to administer tests / exams in Canvas using Respondus Lockdown Browser and Respondus Monitor. If faculty select this option, please follow these procedures:

  • If faculty choose to administer a paper test / exam, please follow these procedures:
    • Students will notify faculty via email one week prior to the exam and copy Access Services ( that they will be taking a test in the Student Success Testing Center. ***It may be a good idea to ask students if their intent is to take each exam in the SSC and therefore eliminating the need to wait each time for email notification.
    • Faculty will submit their exam with instructions via this Faculty Testing Form 48 hours prior to the exam.
    • Access Services will print or prepare an electronic exam for student
    • Access Services will email student with instructions for taking the exam
    • Upon completion of the exam,  Access Services will scan the student’s exam and email faculty the exam within 24 hours.

Faculty teaching classes in the evening, will need to discuss alternative times for exams during the SSC testing hours of 8:00 am and 3:30 pm.  Special arrangements can be made for evening hours if the option of the daytime hours is not possible.


Saint Mary’s University of MN Licenses Lockdown Browser and Respondus Monitor

These applications are used to deter cheating during online examinations.

  • LockDown Browser prevents students from printing, copying, going to different URLs or accessing other applications during an online exam. It’s ideal for use in testing centers and proctored environments.
  • Respondus Monitor enhances LockDown Browser by using a student’s webcam to record the assessment session. This enables online exams to be taken in non-proctored environments and deters students from accessing other resources during an exam (such as a phone, a second computer, etc.). It also ensures the right student is taking the exam, and that the student isn’t getting help from others.
 Helpful Tools

If you’d like to attend a training webinar hosted by Respondus, you’ll find dates and registration information here:

National Disability COVID-19 Healthcare Support and Advocacy Hotline

Announcing the National Disability COVID-19 Healthcare Support and Advocacy Hotline

  • Call 800-626-4959  Available 24/7
  • Call via Voice or Relay if you are disabled and need COVID-19-related medical advocacy or other support.

A project of the Disability Underground, a newly formed group of activists, in collaboration with The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies.

For more information:
Contact Disability Underground

Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies  


Resources for Mental Health


Join in NAMI Minnesota’s Free Online Mental Health Classes

  • NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) has set up a wide variety of free online mental health classes for May and June. They include classes such as Hope for Recovery, Transitions, Ending the Silence, Understanding Early Episode Psychosis for Families, In Our Own Voice, Family to Family, Positive Psychology, Creating Caring Communities, a suicide prevention class called QPR – Question, Persuade and Refer, a special QPR class for Agricultural Communities and many more.
  • The classes are designed for family members and caregivers, persons living with a mental illness, service providers, and also the general public. Find a complete listing of these classes and how to join in by going to and clicking on “Classes” or go straight to
Notification of Accommodation Information

Students must provide documentation from a professional with appropriate qualifications for treating their disability; the nature of their disability, however, is not disclosed to faculty unless the student chooses to disclose this information or gives written permission to Access Services to share this information.

The ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act both use the same definition of disability, and neither law outlines a list of conditions that are considered to be disabilities. Students are considered to have a disability if they have either a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such impairment, or are regarded as having such impairment (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 1992). Therefore, some students with mental health impairments will have a disability covered under the ADA and some will not, depending on how each individual’s disability impacts his or her situation.

Important Changes Regarding Professor Notification Letters for the Disability Services Office

Letters will be sent electronically to professors.  Please either save them electronically or print copies for your records, as they apply to accommodations throughout the entire semester

Details Regarding the new Policies:

  • The professor notification letters are being sent electronically in an effort to save paper.  The accommodations listed in the letters will apply to students throughout the entire semester, so that it will be important for faculty to retain either an electronic or hard copy for your records on each student who receives accommodations.
  • Students will be encouraged to meet with each of their professors to explain and answer any questions regarding the requested accommodations
Faculty Responsibilities

Instructor Rights and Responsibilities

Instructor Rights

As a Saint Mary’s University instructor, you have the right to: 

  • Require a student to initiate a request for accommodations. 
  • Require that a student provide you with a Notice of Accommodation (NOA) from Access Services before providing any requested accommodations. 
  • Require that a student meet with you to discuss their accommodations at the beginning of the semester or as soon as they receive accommodations to clarify the information. 
  • Question Access Services regarding accommodations that you believe would result in a fundamental alteration to an essential component of the course. 

Limitations to Instructor Rights 

On the other hand, you do not have the right to: 

  • Deny a student reasonable accommodation(s) listed on a Notice of Accommodation (NOA). 
  • Ask students questions about their disability including any  diagnosis or the nature of any disability.  
  • Ask if the accommodation is necessary. 
  • Request documentation of a disability directly from a student. 

Instructor Responsibilities

  • Ensure instructional materials are in accessible formats, which include captioned videos, text readable documents, etc. For additional information see: Accessiblity Procedures
  • Finalize textbooks and reading lists in a timely manner to allow time for books to be put in an accessible format. 
  • Include a statement in the syllabus as to how students can receive accommodations. See Access Services Syllabus Statement
  • Announce to your class how you prefer to communicate with students with disabilities regarding their accommodations at the beginning of the semester. 
  • Meet with students who provide a Notice of Accommodations (NOA) from Access Services to discuss implementation of their approved accommodations. 
  • Provide accommodations in a timely manner.  
  • Do not  provide accommodations to students who self-identify as having a disability, but are not registered with Access Services. Refer those students to Access Services. 
  • Maintain appropriate confidentiality of accommodation notifications and communications regarding disability. 
  • Contact Access Services with any questions or concerns about an approved accommodation, or how to best work with a student with a particular disability.  
Faculty Zoom Accessibility Resource

Frequently Asked Questions

How are students at Saint Mary’s University determined to have a disability in need of accommodations?

Students are required to work with Access Services and follow the procedure for obtaining accommodations.

A student with a disability who requests academic assistance must provide professionally recognized documentation of the disability and the need for services requested.  Students are responsible for furnishing current documentation of their disability to the Access Services Director or Coordinator at the campus where they are enrolled.

Determination of eligibility for academic support services will be made by the Access Services, with input from any appropriate administrative and faculty members, taking into account the eligible student’s stated preferences. The services provided will be within the legal parameters of “reasonable accommodations”.

While requests to determine eligibility may occur at any time during the student’s career at the university, a request for specific services relating to a preexisting condition should be made as soon as possible in the semester. This time frame allows the university to secure the approved services.

Absolute confidentiality is important. Please do not make any reference to a student’s disability in class or in front of other students.  A student may opt to tell you about his or her disability, and you are free to ask for details about the ways in which the disability impacts his/her class performance and learning.

Is it really fair to the other students to grant one student an accommodation like extra time for an exam?

Accommodations for students with disabilities do not weaken the academic standards of your course.  An accommodation provides a student with an alternative or modified way of accomplishing the requirements of the course, by eliminating or reducing disability-related barriers.

What if the student asks for accommodations but I have not received an email letter of accommodation?

If a student identifies themselves as having a disability and requests accommodations, but you have never received an accommodation email, please refer the student to Access Services on their respective campus.

Are all students with disabilities registered with Access Services?

No. It is possible that a student with a disability has chosen not to submit documentation or register with Access Services. In either instance, faculty do not need to provide accommodations for those students.  If a student requests an accommodation and you have not received an official notification letter from Access Services, please refer the student to Access Services.

What if I have concerns about how an accommodation will affect my course?

Accommodations should not alter or compromise the basic nature of your course.  Accommodations and other learning aids are provided to “level the playing field” for students with disabilities.  If you are concerned that an accommodation will fundamentally alter the nature of your course, please contact Access Services to discuss your concerns.

How does Access Services assist faculty?

Access Services advises faculty members throughout the accommodation process and also makes recommendations for the ways in which needs of students can best be met. Access Services can also provide additional information on various disabilities and the accompanying barriers to learning.

I have a student who is having difficulty in my class. I think this student may have a disability. What should I do to help the student?

You may talk privately with the student to discuss your observations. Do not openly suggest that a student may have a disability.  Do not assume that the student’s difficulties are a result of a disability, but if, through discussion with the student, it appears appropriate, refer the student to Access Services.  If the student discloses that he or she does have a disability, suggest that the student contact Access Services to explore options for accommodations.