Disability Services for Students

DSS and Virtual Instruction FAQ

In response to TWU's decision to move courses online for the remainder of the spring semester due to COVID-19, novel coronavirus, DSS has created a helpful resource for students and instructors. Use the navigation links to move to each section below:

Student FAQ

Q: Is Disability Services for Students (DSS) open?   

Yes, DSS is still open Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. All appointments will be conducted via phone or virtually until further notice. DSS will not be proctoring exams while virtual instruction is in place at TWU. If you have a question or concern, please either call the office (Phone: 940-898-3835; VP: (940) 312-7161) or email Disability Services for Students. 

Q: What happens now that exams are online? How do I get extended time for an online exam?  

DSS will not be proctoring exams while the University’s instruction remains online only. Please communicate with your instructors to discuss your exam accommodations in their courses.  

  • Some instructors may opt for alternative assessments (e.g. essays, untimed exams) which would not require exam accommodations.  
  • If your instructor is creating online timed exams, please notify your instructor if you will need extended time. Academic departments are responsible for setting up extended testing time in Canvas and ExamSoft.  

DSS is available to instructors and students to consult about unique circumstances. 

Q: I currently have a volunteer note-taker assigned in my in-person class. Now that class is online, will I still receive a copy of the notes?  

Once you have learned from your instructor on how they will adapt the course for virtual instruction, please email DSS if you would like to continue receiving notes. 

You may find that you no longer need a note-taker due to the course design change. For example, lectures that are pre-recorded videos can be watched at your own pace. On the other hand, some instructors may opt for scheduled class meetings with real-time communication. Professors may record their live sessions to be reviewed afterwards. 

Q: Does this affect Attendance Modification Policy or Extended time on Assignments Agreements?  

 Completed agreements will be honored, though reasonable modifications to the structure of the agreements may be needed with the shift to online instruction. Please contact your instructors to discuss any additional barriers presented by changes to the course format. Let your DSS Coordinator know if you need any assistance right away. 

Q: With the switch to all-virtual instruction, I anticipate barriers and would like to request new accommodations. What are my next steps? 

 If you are not currently registered with DSS, please complete and submit a DSS Accommodation Request FormIf you are a DSS-registered student, please contact your assigned DSS Coordinator. 

Q: How do I meet with a coordinator virtually? 

 All DSS coordinators are available to meet via Google Hangouts or over the phone. You can self schedule an appointment with your coordinator through their calendar link on the DSS website. You must put your phone number in the details box so that your coordinator can contact you. Be sure to add additional information regarding your meeting in the details box.

Instructor FAQ

Q: As I am adapting my course materials for virtual instruction, what should I be considering with regards to disability access? How do I best support my students? 

We acknowledge the significant effort required to quickly adapt your courses to online instruction. We want to collaborate with you to ensure that access for students with disabilities is maintained through this transition. Some students may encounter disability-related barriers with online instruction or assessment (e.g. students who use assistive technology, students with medical limitations on screen usage). DSS staff are available for consultation regarding best practices and accessibility. (Phone: 940-898-3835; VP: (940) 312-7161 or email Disability Services for Students.   

If you have specific questions concerning the transition to online delivery or creating accessible course materials, please contact your Instructional Designer here at TWU’s Teaching and Learning with Technology.

Below are some tips to keep in mind as you are creating virtual course content (adapted from DO-IT): 

  • Use clear, consistent layouts and organization schemes for presenting content, and make instructions and expectations clear for activities, projects, and assigned reading.  
  • Offer outlines, scaffolding tools, and adequate opportunities for practice to help students learn. 
  • When selecting new materials, try to find videos that are already captioned, and articles that are available in a text-searchable format (meaning you can highlight and search the text within the document.)
  • Images can be made accessible to blind and low-vision students by providing captions or inserting alt text into the image. Use large, bold fonts on uncluttered pages with plain backgrounds and color combinations that are high contrast.  

Provide flexibility and understanding as this experience may cause disruption to the student’s home life and available resources – which may negatively impact a student’s disability symptoms.  

Q: How will exam accommodations work? Will DSS proctor online exams?  

Extended time on exams as an accommodation generally only applies to traditional, time-limited exams. If you decide to offer alternative means of assessment (e.g. essays, non-timed exams, project work), then a student’s extended time may no longer be applicable. We encourage instructors to speak with registered students if that is the case. 

DSS will not be proctoring exams while the University’s instruction remains online only.  All exams should be administered online or through other remote assessment methods by faculty. Academic departments are responsible for setting up extended testing time in Canvas.  

Please communicate with your students to discuss their exam accommodations in your courses. DSS is available to instructors and students to consult. 

Q: How do I give students their extended time for online quizzes/exams? 

Prior to making time allotment adjustments, please confirm how much extended time each of your students should get for their quizzes/exams. 

You can confirm an individual student’s extended time by checking their Accommodation Letter email or contacting DSS. 

Extended Time in Canvas: Use the Moderate Quiz function:   

  1. Once your quiz is published, look at the quiz page (From the list of quizzes, click the link for the quiz, but don't click the button to edit it).   
  2. Along the right-hand side, you will see the option to Moderate this Quiz.  From here you can see quiz progress and, depending on your settings, give additional attempts or additional time. 

Extended Time in ExamSoft: Instructors/departments must work with their ExamSoft point-of-contact to apply extended time. For questions, please contact your TWU Instructional Designer. 

Q: Does this affect Attendance Modification Policy or Extended time on Assignments Agreements?  

 Completed agreements should be honored, though reasonable modifications to the structure of the agreements may be needed with the shift to online instruction. Students with agreements should be contacting you to discuss any additional barriers, if any, presented by changes to the course format. DSS is available to instructors and students to consult.



Resources for Transitioning Content Online

Faculty - Digital Accessibility

What is Disability Services for Students?

Disability Services for Students, or DSS, is a resource for Texas Woman’s University students with disabilities on the Denton, Dallas, and Houston campuses. DSS determines appropriate accommodations for students in the classroom and in the use of University facilities in order to provide equal access to educational opportunities at TWU.


Disability Services for Students assists students with disabilities by providing:

  • Sign language interpreters
  • Carbonless note taking paper
  • Testing accommodations
  • Services to ensure equal access to university programs
  • Recommendations for appropriate academic support services 
  • Referrals for other services on campus and in the community

Students requesting services must complete an application form and provide our office with verification of a disability. Once registered, students are eligible to receive appropriate accommodations through the university. Students should register with the office of Disability Services for Students as early as possible to help ensure that all accommodations are in place by the beginning of the semester. 

Mission Statement

Disability Services for Students (DSS) ensures that TWU students with disabilities have equitable access to TWU classes, programs and events. We enhance student learning by promoting self-advocacy and partnering with faculty and staff to create a more accessible environment. We seek to advance representation of TWU students with disabilities and establish disability culture as an essential aspect of diversity, vital to society and the TWU community.


Page last updated 10:09 AM, March 23, 2020