Student Accessibility Services FAQs

I have a student who is not registered with Student Accessibility Services, but I think that they might have a disability, what should I do?

You can discuss with the student the difficulties that they may be having in your class; if you discover that the student is struggling for a specific reason other than a disability, it would then be appropriate to discuss possible solutions with the student. You may direct the student to Student Development and Services (B210) for academic and personal support such as Counselling Services, academic skill development and peer tutoring. If you feel that a disability may be the cause of the difficulties the student is experiencing, you can encourage them to speak with someone in Student Accessibility Services in B210. Alternatively, you may direct them to the SAS website for more information and to complete our Self Identification Form and they will be contacted by a SAS Accessibility Consultant regarding next steps. 

What do I do if I disagree with the recommended accommodations?

If you have questions about the accommodations recommended for a student in your course, contact their Accessibility Consultant.  These discussions can be very useful for clarifying misunderstandings and reaching mutually acceptable solutions.

What happens if a student is suspected of academic misconduct during a test or exam?

In the event that a student is suspected of academic misconduct (e.g., questionable material is found), the student is allowed to finish the exam and a Student Accessibility Services staff member will try to locate the professor.  The material is returned to the instructor along with the exam and a written report describing the incident.  It is left with the instructor to follow university protocol in handling the situation.

Why don't I receive all Letters of Accommodation at the beginning of the term? I occasionally receive them throughout the term as well.

SAS sends out Letters of Accommodation (LoAs) as the students request them, as the students must give us permission before we can release them to faculty. Although SAS encourages all students to request their Letters of Accommodation at the beginning of each term, the Ontario Human Rights Commission states that there is no deadline to request academic accommodations during the academic year; therefore, SAS may communicate recommended accommodations to faculty at any point in the term. Students can be diagnosed with a disability at any time, so registration with SAS continues throughout the academic year. There may also be other reasons why students may hesitate to request their LOAs at the beginning of the term, as some students try to complete their academic work without accommodations until they realize that they’re unable to do so. Some students experience new or changing symptoms which necessitates changes to accommodations throughout the semester. Other students fear the stigma of being known as a student with a disability. 

Does a faculty member need to give a copy of their own lecture notes to a student with a disability as a reasonable accommodation?

Although this can be very beneficial, faculty are not obligated to provide lecture notes if another effective accommodation, such as a digital recorder or note-taker, can be provided.  Should a note-taker be unable to attend class, and replacement note-takers are unavailable, you may be asked if you have a copy of notes that would be suitable for the student.

Are students who write in a distraction reduced environment or a private room supervised as they are writing to prevent cheating?

All students who use exam accommodations are supervised while writing.  Students are only allowed to bring approved materials into the exam rooms and these materials are checked by a Student Accessibility Services staff member before the student commences the test.   Proctors are present to supervise the students who write in a distraction reduced environment where Student Accessibility Services staff are not present.  The computers used by students have the  Internet disabled and are monitored by the staff of Student Accessibility Services.

Can I see the documentation which outlines why a student with a disability should be accommodated?

All documentation that is provided by the student to Student Accessibility Services is strictly confidential and therefore cannot be shared with anyone.  If a student decides on their own accord to share information, it is at their discretion and the information shared with you should remain confidential.

Why do students with psychiatric disabilities require academic accommodations and what might their accommodations consist of?

Many students with psychiatric disabilities will experience setbacks in their mental health that may be caused by changes in their medication, the side effects of their medication or the fluctuating intensity of their symptoms.   A common accommodation may be alternate scheduling for assignments and/or tests.

What if I have a student request to write their test on a different day or different start time than the rest of the class?

Due to the accommodation of additional time, some students may require to begin a test early to avoid their additional time overlapping with a later class.  Student Accessibility Services may have the student write the test early, but will not allow the student to leave the office until the class has begun writing the test.

If the student wishes to write their test on a different date and/or different time than the class, they must obtain permission from the professor.  The Student Accessibility Officers will contact the professor for verification and offer the professor the choice to provide an alternate version of the test.

If a student is using a scribe as a test/exam accommodation, what does the scribe do?

The role of the scribe is to transcribe the oral answers provided by the student to an alternative format.  The scribe does not add to or alter the student’s answers; they are simply a medium for the student’s answers to be transcribed into an alternate format.​​​

How am I notified of the student's note taking accommodation?

 “Peer Note Sharing” or "Professional Note Taking" will appear on the student’s Accommodation Letter. The majority of students will be using Peer Note Sharing. For students with Professional Note Taking, we will provide students with access to Note Taking Express (NTE) in cases where we are not able to find a professional note taker in their course within a timely manner. More information on Note Taking Express is below.

Who can audio record my lectures?

Permission to audio-record lectures is granted through Student Accessibility Services (SAS). Students who have submitted appropriate documentation identifying clear accessibility requirements that cannot be supported through note taking are approved for this accommodation.

To protect the Intellectual Property rights of Nipissing University Faculty, Student Accessibility Services has an Audio Recording Agreement that students are required to sign. Students complete this agreement confirming that they understand the recording is for personal study use only.

Note Taking Express

What is Note Taking Express (NTE)?

When SAS cannot locate a professional note taker for a student, the student will be given access to Note Taking Express (NTE). NTE allows students to record lectures using the NTE app, which students download on their cell phone, tablet, laptop or other device. Using the app, students can then audio record classes and upload the audio files to their secure account and NTE professional note takers create a set of notes for the student. It is not a transcription, but rather an organized set of notes that is delivered to a student’s NTE account within 48 hours. Audio files are uploaded directly to NTE and are not stored on a student’s device. All students using NTE would be required to abide by our policy for Audio Recording and sign our Audio Recording Agreement. This service is used by many post-secondary institutions within Canada, US, and the UK. 

What are students doing with the recordings of my lectures?

Students upload the recordings to a secure account provided by NTE for the creation of notes by a professional note taker. 

I understand that audio files are not stored on the student's device. Where are they stored?

The recordings are stored securely in a Cloud service in the province or state in which they were recorded.

How is my Intellectual Property protected by SAS?

To protect the Intellectual Property rights of Nipissing University Faculty, Student Accessibility Services has an Audio Recording Agreement that students are required to sign. Students complete this agreement confirming that they understand the recording is for personal study use only.

The third-party service provider (note takers) understand that all intellectual property and course content, including but not limited to audio recordings, are provided to the service for the purpose of providing notes, only.  The third-party service provider understands that no materials or course content is to be copied, distributed or shared in any way.  The third-party service provider understands that appropriate action will be initiated should it be found in violation of the agreement.

What does NTE do with audio recordings and where do they end up?

Some faculty members may be concerned with the confidentiality of their lectures, and rightly so, as this is their precious intellectual property. As such, NTE goes to great lengths to protect this information from theft, interception, and loss. NTE uses end to end encryption to stream audio files to note takers. Because audio is streamed it is not saved on a note taker’s computer. NTE makes no secondary use of audio files and audio files are never sent to third party individuals or companies, or to other faculty members within your institution. After notes or transcription is complete for an audio file, the audio file is deleted. The sole purpose of NTE's service is to make sure the students that need notes for their classes get them in a timely and secure manner.

What happens with the information contained in lectures?

Rest assured that only the student who uploads an audio file, the note taker assigned to take notes for that audio, and the Manager of SAS has access to it. The audio recording of class time and lectures are only used to take notes for and nothing more. After the student uploads an audio recording of a lecture, the audio file is assigned to one of NTE's note takers. Once notes are completed, the note document is uploaded to the student’s NTE account, where only the student and the Manager of SAS can access it.

How long does NTE keep audio recordings?

For student accounts, NTE keeps audio recordings for no more than a year after upload. They are then permanently deleted from their servers.

Where and how are audio recordings stored?

All files and data are securely stored on our file platform. NTE employs encryption during all transmission of files (upload/download) and while data is at rest. During transfer of data, 256-bit AES encryption is used, ensuring that audio files containing your intellect property are secure at all times. Users log in using standard authentication, to make sure their data is seen by their eyes only.

How secure is the NTE website?

Note Taking Express uses the standard SSL encryption used on all common ecommerce and online banking websites to protect all server (our website)-client (your browser) exchanges on this site and 256-bit AES encryption on our file platform. Therefore, all communications made between a client and our server are fully protected from interception and eavesdropping.

Why is that important?

Many people use the same or similar username and passwords for all sorts of websites (even though they shouldn't), and your students are no different. Without SSL encryption protecting their online communications with NTE's server, their login credentials are at risk of interception and exposure. So it's NTE's view that it's their utmost responsibility to prevent this from happening.

Am I able to require audio recording to be turned off at times?

Audio recording of lectures is an accommodation used to provide students access to information presented during class.  If there is sensitive or confidential information presented in class where other students are able to take notes then Faculty must provide the student with an equitable alternative to have access to this information. The Accessibility Consultant working with the student is available to consult with faculty and student as questions arise.

If a speaker's name is evident in the audio files, is that name automatically redacted?

Note takers are instructed to write main points of subject matter, not speaker's or student's names or confidential information. That type of information would not be necessary for study. If necessary as part of the study material, the note taker would write “student said” or "speaker said".