Skip to main content

Faculty and Staff Resources to Support Students with Disabilities

The Student Disability Service works with students, faculty, and staff to ensure that students with physical, medical, learning, or psychological disabilities are provided with equal access to all college programs, activities, and services in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Director of Student Disability Services Monica Vance and Assistant Director Jenna Rose advise students about the College's policy, procedure, and resources, reviews students' documentation, and collaborates with students, faculty, and staff to arrange reasonable accommodations that support students' individual needs. Monica works with students with last names beginning with the letters A-K, and Jenna works with students with last names beginning with L-Z. Contact Student Disability Services staff by emailing studentdisabilityservices@swarthmore.edu

Accessible Course Materials

By Federal law, students with disabilities must be given "substantially equivalent ease of access" to course materials.  To ensure equivalent access, any course materials such as articles, Word documents, Powerpoints and any other media that are posted in Moodle, on course websites or distributed in class need to be prepared as accessible documents. Doing so not only supports our students who use screen readers and other text-to-speech software, it also improves usability for all students across multiple platforms including smart phones, tablets and desktop devices. For assistance, please email the college's Accessibility Team at accessibility@swarthmore.edu

Optimizing for Text-to-Speech

  • OCR Scans with Cannon 3235
    • OCR, or Optical Character Recognition, is a technology that enables you to convert different types of documents, such as scanned paper documents, PDF files or images captured by a digital camera into editable and searchable data.
  • Word Documents [pdf]
  • PDF files [pdf]
  • Powerpoint and Keynote presentations [pdf]
  • Webpages [pdf]
  • "SensusAccess" **

    ** SensusAccess is an online service which converts text and image-based documents into different accessible formats ( searchable PDFs, audio, Braille, or e-text). It is available to all Swarthmore staff, students, and faculty with a Swarthmore College email address.

    Please note that the quality of the converted document depends on the quality of the original document. For example, a clearly structured Word document will yield a better result than a poorly scanned PDF.

    To begin converting a document, go to our "SensusAccess" interface, upload a file and select the appropriate format.

Captioning Media

Please purchase videos that contain captioning, a visual representation of audio with more than subtitles. If you cannot find a captioned video, consult with Jason Hamilton in McCabe Library  You will want to plan ahead as creating captions can take weeks. If your students are creating video, please ask them to include captions.

Resources

The National Center on Accessible Instructional Materials website focuses on print- and technology-based educational materials which are usable across the widest range of student variability regardless of format (print, digital, graphical, audio, video) and provides support for the development, selection, and use of accessible technologies.

Syllabus Statement

To help students with disabilities understand their rights and responsibilities, you are welcome to include this statement on your course syllabus and website.

Testing Accommodations

One of the most common types of academic accommodations is extended time on timed tests so that students with disabilities have the same opportunity as their peers to demonstrate their knowledge. The logistics for testing are typically arranged between the student and the faculty member. If needed, Student Disability Services can assist with final exam proctoring.

Confidentiality

Swarthmore College respects the privacy of its students. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act governs all student record information.

Disability Resources

Websites from other colleges and universities, organizations for the disabled, and government agencies offer a wide variety of further resources.