Accessibility in Teaching

Accessibility and Academic Accommodation

Western is committed to assuring accessibility for all community members. For students with physical impairments or learning disabilities, academic accommodations may be recommended for the duration of a course. Accommodation is not intended to alter the content of a course or the expectations of what students are intended to accomplish. The purpose is to facilitate student learning in such a way that they are able to complete the same tasks as other students.

Accommodations are recommended by Accessibile Education (AE). Students are responsible for submitting a request to AE for support. Recommendations for student accommodations will be made to instructors through Western’s Extranet website. Instructors are notified by email about any outstanding requests. Accommodation requests can be viewed and approved online through this tool. In cases where an accommodation would compromise the learning expectations of the course, instructors may suggest alternative accommodations.

  • Classroom accommodation allows students to access course and lecture materials in formats that support their learning. This may mean that a student has a sign-language interpreter or a note-taker in the classroom, is provided with electronic copies of classroom materials, or can record lectures. As set out in the Accessible Goods and Services Guidelines, students are welcome to attend classes with assistive devices, service animals, and support persons.
  • Examination accommodation provides students the opportunity to complete exams in ways that address their individual needs. This may mean that a student is provided with extra time or breaks on an examination, is allowed to use an assistive device, or is allowed to write in a quiet location with fewer distractions.
  • Other academic accommodation encompasses a range of options to help meet additional student needs. Accommodations may include providing students with textbooks in alternative formats, or allowing for the use of an assistant in labs.

Relevant information is set out in Western’s Academic Calendar under the Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities. More accessibility resources can be found at the following links:


Teaching Students with Disabilities Guide

Cover of Teaching Students with Disabilities Guide

The information in this guide may help faculty, graduate teaching assistants, librarians, and archivists understand the nature of various disabilities as it relates to learning, and provides best practices for the classroom, lab, and other teaching settings to help make your teaching accessible.

See also...

Course Content Accessibility: Common Issues and Solutions

View the CTL's accessibility knowledgebase blog:

Further Reading

Accessible Campus

Accessible Campus - Ontario universities have worked collaboratively to help faculty identify students in distress as a result of anxiety and other mental health issues, and provide information on removing barriers from every aspect of campus life through this resource-rich website. It features educational videos to raise awareness about mental health and practical tips on everything from how to plan accessible lectures and meetings to making exam time less stressful.

Accessibility in eLearning: What You Need to Know

This guide was produced for Council of Ontario Universities by OCAD University's Inclusive Design Research Centre and will help university educators develop accessible online courses, course materials, and other web-based learning activities and tools for teaching and learning.

COU Guide Cover

Educators' Accessibility Resource Kit

This guide was created by the Council of Ontario Universities to assist universities in meeting their obligations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and to support educators in creating accessible learning environments and accessible learning materials for students.