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LSS Policies & Procedures

Both the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and its predecessor, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, make it unlawful for post-secondary educational institutions to discriminate against students on the basis of disability. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, applies to institutions (such as Villanova University) receiving federal financial assistance.

No otherwise qualified individual with a disability…shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Who is protected?

In order to be entitled to the protections of the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, students or applicants must establish that they are a “qualified individual with a disability.” Individuals must show both that a disability exists and that they can meet the requirements of the program, with or without “reasonable accommodation.”

Requirements under the ADA and Section 504 for Academic Accommodations

Students have the responsibility to self-identify by providing notice of their disability and the required documentation to the University. The university is then required to provide “appropriate academic accommodations” based on the nature of the disability and the academic environment.

LSS is very sensitive to and respectful of a student’s right to privacy and confidentiality. The university recognizes that student disability records contain confidential information and are to be treated as such. Therefore, documentation of a student’s disability is maintained in a confidential file in LSS. Information related to a disability may be disclosed only with the permission of the student or as permitted by the university’s student records policy and federal law.

  • Each semester students must complete a Request for Accommodations in ClockWork to receive accommodations for that term. By completing this request in ClockWork you will be able to send a copy of your accommodations letter to the professors of the courses in which you are enrolled.
  • Although students are providing their accommodation letters to their professors electronically, professors and students are expected to discuss the accommodations to make sure all parties are clear on what is needed. LSS staff are available to answer any questions or concerns and can help facilitate conversations between students and faculty. Students who would like assistance communicating with their professors should contact LSS.
  • Arrangements need to be made in advance for all accommodations, but especially for extended-time testing. LSS provides test proctoring services when professors are unable to provide all required testing accommodations for a student.
  • When professors are unable to provide all required testing accommodations, students must book their quizzes, tests, and final exams at least 3 business days in advance through ClockWork to take their test with LSS. With few exceptions, students are expected to take a test on the assigned date. The accommodation of extended test time does not mean extended preparation time.
  • Faculty members cannot retroactively provide academic accommodations for course requirements for students who have not previously presented a letter from the Learning Support Office supporting such requests.
  • LSS recommends that students send a copy of their accommodation letter to their academic advisor and/or athletic academic advisor. Please refer to our Guidelines for Sending Accommodation Letters to Advisors to learn how to do this in ClockWork.
  • Students in the College of Nursing who have more than one professor listed for a course will have the option to share their accommodation letter with the person listed as the primary professor. The primary professor will share it with the appropriate faculty member(s).

Talking to Professors about Accommodations

Professors and students are expected to discuss the accommodations to make sure all parties are clear on what is needed. LSS staff are available to answer any questions or concerns.

Check out our tips for how to begin the conversation with your professors about the accommodations you are receiving from LSS. We have added an accurate transcription of the audio, which can be accessed using closed captioning.

  • Professors and students are expected to discuss the accommodations to make sure all parties are clear on what is needed. This should be done as early as possible in the semester. You do not need to identify your disability; however, explaining how you learn best and how you can best be assessed will be helpful.
  • If your accommodation is for extra time on tests, you will need to discuss how and where your test will be proctored. Potential conflicts exist if you or the professor has a class immediately following a test. Potential solutions may be starting ahead of time in the professor’s office, taking the exam back to the office after class, taking it in a nearby conference room or office, or arranging to have it proctored with LSS.
  • All of your professors will have posted office hours. Villanova professors do encourage their students to make full use of the office hours. They are available to help you with your course work and questions so take full advantage of this one-on-one opportunity.
  • Ask for any advice they might offer on learning the material, studying for exams, or otherwise performing well in the class. Do they post their notes or practice problems? Do they conduct review sessions before exams? Will they review a rough draft for any writing assignments?
  • It is appropriate to share with them what works for you (or doesn’t help you) in the course and to compliment them on the techniques that you find aid your learning. For example, “The outlines of your notes are very helpful in following the lecture or when you are writing on the board while explaining a problem, but I am unable to follow you (or hear you) when…”

Students who have an approved accommodation for notetaking support should contact LSS to coordinate the type of notetaking assistance they will receive.  Below is an overview of the different notetaking options from which students can choose. LSS covers any costs associated with notetaking accommodations for students who have been approved for this accommodation. Students should communicate with LSS about how to access the notetaking option they want to use by emailing Emily Harris or learning.support.services@villanova.edu

Notetaking Technology:

OneNote: One Note is a digital notebook that helps you keep all your notes organized and can be used to record audio. This software is available for free to all Villanova students through Office 365. To access OneNote (and other Office 365 features) go to: http://office.villanova.edu and sign in with your Villanova username and password. Explore UNIT’s OneNote resource page and watch the OneNote video to learn more about how to use OneNote.

AudioNote: AudioNote enables you to type notes and link them to an audio recording. Your notes will be time-stamped, allowing you to playback the recording from that point in the lecture so you can fill in any missing notes. You can also upload pictures and lecture slides to enhance your notes. You can download AudioNote to your computer, smart phone, or tablet. Check out the AudioNote video that describes several features of AudioNote. LSS will reimburse eligible students who purchase AudioNote for their notetaking accommodation.

Livescribe Smart Pens: Livescribe Smart Pens are pens that record audio while you take notes. That audio is time-stamped to your notes (similarly to AudioNote) allowing you to seamlessly review notes, fill in gaps, and create study guides without missing a word. Check out the Smart Pens video about how to use the Livescribe Smart Pens. LSS can provide eligible students with a Livescribe Smart Pen to borrow for the academic year.

Other Notetaking Options:

If the above technology options do not meet your notetaking needs, please contact learning.support.services@villanova.edu and we will discuss the other notetaking options available.

Many students will participate in pre-approved summer courses at another university as well as study abroad programs for a semester, a summer, or a year. In both cases, it is of the utmost importance that students make contact with the program director for the planned program.

For a Summer Course at Another University:

Students need to find out if a letter from LSS verifying the accommodations received at Villanova will be sufficient or if they need to send a full copy of their disability documentation. LSS can provide this to the summer university with students' written permission.

For a Study Abroad Program:

The process begins with accessing the Office of Education Abroad to explore the many program offerings. It is important to learn more about the provision of accommodations in the various countries and begin to identify potential access barriers and how they can be proactively addressed. Laws similar to the U.S. may or may not exist in the countries being considered. For example, some medications for ADHD that are commonly used in the United States are illegal in other countries. Or students may only receive an extra 25 minutes to complete an exam, regardless of the length of the test, rather than getting the full 50% extra time that they would receive in the United States. 

Once a program is chosen, students must communicate with the Program Director to find out what documentation is needed. Students need to find out if a letter from LSS verifying the accommodations received at Villanova will be sufficient or if they need to send a full copy of their disability documentation. LSS can provide this to the study abroad program with students' written permission.

All Villanova students are required to follow Villanova’s Code of Academic Integrity

Test proctoring with Learning Support Services

Learning Support Services provides test proctoring services when professors are unable to provide all required testing accommodations for a student. For reasons such as back-to-back class schedules, approved accommodations, and LSS availability, students sometimes need to take exams at a different time than the rest of the class. Providing information to other students about the content or structure of an exam or seeking information from other students about an exam is forbidden as is cheating in the form of using notes, study aids, or unsanctioned electronic devices. The policy states, “While taking a test or examination, students shall rely on their own mastery of the subject and not attempt to receive help in any way not explicitly approved by the instructor; for example, students shall not try to use notes, study aids, or another's work. Such cheating includes trying to give or obtain information about a test when the instructor states that it is to be confidential.”

Note-taking

Some students are approved for note-taking support, including permission to record lectures. Any recordings are solely for the student’s personal use and should not be shared publicly or privately with any unauthorized individuals. Students with permission to record lectures are responsible for ensuring that the recording is not shared, posted online, nor used improperly by others.

Accommodations for Episodic Conditions

A select number of students have documented episodic conditions that require flexibility with attendance and/or assignment deadlines during flare-ups. Using these accommodations for reasons unrelated to disability is “misrepresenting oneself or one's circumstances to an instructor” and a clear example of academic dishonesty.

Learning Support Services staff members are required to report any suspected cheating or violations of academic integrity.

Image of LSS Logo, Villanova University Crest with Learning Support Services written underneath

Office of Learning Support Services

Location:

Learning Commons in                      Falvey Library, Suite 212

Address: 

800 Lancaster Avenue                      Villanova, PA 19085

Phone:

610.519.5176

Fax:

610.519.8015

Email:

learning.support.services@villanova.edu

Follow us:

@VillanovaLSS

Hours of Operation:

Monday through Friday                9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. 

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