Online Exams for Students With Disabilities


If your course has an online exam component, and you have students with disabilities who require exam accommodations, please read the following carefully (prepared by the Centre for Accessibility).

One key takeaway is that the process of students registering for accommodations remains the same – they should have approached you at some point during the course, and you should receive notifications of exam accommodations via email. However, the way in which exams are administered will vary depending on the situation. I would suggest that you file this email and refer to if needed.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.




The University is committed to ensuring that students with disabilities are able to complete their coursework within the term where ever possible. The Centre for Accessibility will not be conducting any in-person exams for the remainder of this term.

Students requiring exam accommodations will be asked to continue to use Clockwork to book their exams following the standard procedure. Instructors or Department staff will be responsible for implementing the accommodations for online exams. Detailed information regarding the implementation of accommodations is included below.

An automated confirmation message sent to instructors 7 days in advance of the exam will provide information regarding the issues to consider when providing accommodations for online exams and links to tutorials or instructions on how to provide extended time for students requiring this accommodation.

Centre for Accessibility staff will also review all exam bookings and work with instructors to arrange more complex accommodations.

Centre for Accessibility Exam Coordinators and an extended team will serve as support for instructors who need one-on-one assistance to set up their exams accommodations for students. This support is available to instructors on both campuses. As needed, staff from the VPS portfolio will be reassigned to help the Exam Coordinators respond to requests for assistance from instructors. Email for assistance.

Complex issues should go directly to the Accessibility Advisor listed on the Accommodation Letter which should have been provided to the instructor at the beginning of term.

Implementation of Exam Accommodations

Extra time accommodation – instructors will be asked to manage this for each exam. Many are already doing so for any quizzes, exams in Canvas. A tutorial will be created for instructors who have not done this before now. Centre for Accessibility staff will be available to assist remotely.

Private space or distraction-reduced environment – students will be responsible for finding a suitable space in their home or alternative to write the exam.

Alternative Format – e-text and audio is already uploaded to a secure site for course materials so we can do this for exams as well. As is the case now, Braille will be contracted out to a company with high security standards. Much of the coursework has already been produced for this term.

Students requiring in person supports – a scribe or mobility assistant as examples – will be worked out on a case by case basis. Family members or roommates may be asked to serve in this function and will be asked to sign a document confirming they understand and agree to the restrictions required for exam integrity.

Adaptive Technology/Technology – most student who require adaptive technology should already have it on their personal computer. Some may require financial and technical support if this is not the case. We are exploring options for students who are not tech savvy and were already struggling with Canvas and other on-line activities.

Traditional take home exams where students are given more than a day to complete the exam. The accommodation of extended time does not typically apply in these cases. Students who believe they would still require this would connect with their advisor as they do under normal circumstances.

Canvas, Proctorio and other online platforms

Canvas is compatible with most adaptive software. Unfortunately, some adaptive software such as Read and Write Gold (a widely used product for many students with disabilities) is not compatible. Alternative platforms will have to be used to accommodate students who require this software.

Proctorio is incompatible with many accommodations required by students with disabilities and will require adjustments to typical procedures. Many students with chronic health conditions require frequent access to a washroom or the ability to move around the room, alternate between sitting and standing and/or to stretch or lay down during exams. In other cases, students may have rituals or routines associated with their disability or their coping strategies and will be extremely anxious if they feel that their instructor or TA is witness to these behaviours.

We recognize that a wide variety of online platforms are being used by programs and instructors across campus. Centre for Accessibility staff are available to assess the accessibility of these platforms. Please email for assistance.

To address these concerns the following measures have been agreed to by the Associate Deans – Academic on the Vancouver Campus:

  1. Centre for Accessibility will invigilate Proctorio and other video enabled exams for students with the following accommodations:
    • Close proximity to a washroom
    • Private space
    • Ability to move around the room
  2. Alternative platforms will be required for students when it is not possible to provide the appropriate accommodations through Canvas, Proctorio, or other selected software
  3. Academic Concession where no immediate solution exists

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