Faculty & Staff Resources

Faculty Tips: Accessible Online Learning for Students with Disabilities

Towson University is committed to providing access in all forms of learning environments, including online courses. The Office of Accessibility and Disability Services (ADS) is available to support faculty and students through the transition to remote teaching and learning.

All ADS staff are working remotely to facilitate accommodations and address your concerns. The staff will be answering email and voicemail messages Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Messages left on the ADS main phone line (410-704-2638) and by email at  will be checked during business hours and forwarded to staff. All meetings will be offered virtually using tele-conference platforms such as WebEx or Zoom, or by phone.

Digital Accessibility

Barriers to accessibility and accommodation needs in an online environment may be different from those present in a traditional classroom. Here are some suggested guidelines and resources.

You can facilitate accessibility by creating digital materials that can benefit students with a wide variety of learning needs. This can reduce the need for reactive accommodation and improve access for all students. Please make your digital resources accessible before posting or sharing them. To help make your courses more accessible and inclusive, see Technology & Information Accessibility.

Online Teaching FAQS

Do you know which students in your courses have accommodations?

Know who is eligible to receive accommodations so early arrangements can be made. If you are unsure, it is appropriate to email the whole class, asking any student who is approved for accommodations to follow up with you. Honor current accommodation for students with disabilities, and encourage students to contact their ADS specialist if different accommodations are needed.

ADS will issue a new accommodation memo if approved. ADS can email you digital copies of accommodation memos.

Who should you contact if you have questions about providing accommodations?

Each student works with an assigned ADS Specialist who is listed on the accommodation memo. The specialist will be able to answer questions about student accommodations. If you are unsure who the student’s specialist is, you can email .

What can you do if the online environment presents significant barriers to a student?

When a student is experiencing barriers, reasonable accommodations may need to change for that student. Additional flexibility on 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 can be key to making the transition to alternative instruction more accessible. 

What things help students with disabilities succeed in an online course?

Students with disabilities will generally benefit from asynchronous rather than synchronous learning. Keep the structure of your Blackboard page simple and organized. Untimed assessments are also helpful.

Chat rooms can present challenges, so offer an alternative or make them optional. Here is an additional resource from the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Center with great suggestions for teaching accessible online courses. 

How will exams be handled?

Many ADS students are approved for extended time for testing and will likely need this accommodation online. Extended time can be provided for individual students through, see Blackboard Guidance. Additionally, while the Testing Services Center is closed, Patrick Chachulski, ADS Testing Center Coordinator, is available for consultation and can be reached at .

Can students register with ADS now that the learning environment has changed?

Yes. There are many students not yet registered with ADS who have developed their own strategies to compensate for their disabilities. While these strategies may work well in face-to-face classes, these students may struggle online. We are still conducting intakes with students so please continue to refer students to our office.

Information for Faculty and Staff with Disabilities

For more information please email  or call the Office of Human Resources at 410-704-2162. 

To request a job accommodation, faculty and staff should visit  Current Employees in the Office of Human Resources.