Regardless of a disability, all students are responsible for fulfilling the essential requirements of courses/programs/degrees, including meeting completion dates for assignments. However, some students have disabilities which can impact their ability to complete assignments by the due date, including, but not limited to, students whose conditions are episodic in nature, conditions that change and result in problematic symptoms, and conditions that require hospitalization.
Most assignments/papers have established due dates which are provided via the syllabus in advance. Students are expected to proactively work on assignments and manage their time with consideration given to potential challenges related to the impact of their disability and other class assignments/coursework requirements. ODR understands some due dates are announced with little advance notice, or unexpected exacerbations from a disability occur.
The Office of Disability Resources (ODR) may provide approval for Per Assignment Extension Consideration listed on a student’s Accommodation Plan. Generally, approval for a per assignment extension consideration provides the student up to two additional days and does not automatically apply to all assignments and is not intended to be applied retroactively. Per assignment extensions does not permit unlimited extensions and students remain accountable for all academic activities (assignments, assessments, required readings, etc.) and evaluation standards specified on the syllabus.
It is not reasonable for faculty to fundamentally alter, waive or lower essential course requirements, academic standards, or educational experiences/outcomes when attempting to accommodate extension requests. ODR may be consulted regarding course-specific adjustments.
Students requiring extensions for all assignments should explore options such as a Course Load Reduction. Unexpected illness or injury, recent diagnosis, onset or change in condition may warrant a withdrawal from a course or when indicated, an incomplete grade.
In consultation with ODR, instructors often can find reasonable, equivalent options for students to successfully complete essential course requirements without compromising course standards. These options are individually tailored to the disability’s impact, the course requirements, and the instructor’s expectations.
Per the faculty handbook, instructors should include the following on the syllabus: an explanation of course goals and objectives, the name of the text and any other materials required of each student, the instructor’s office hours, an explanation of how the grade is to be determined, and an explanation of any additional reading, papers, projects and examination which the instructor expects to give or assign. The advance notice allows students proactively work on their assignments.
Some options that may be considered to assist in the completion of assignments include:
- Provide advance notice of future assignments and expected completion due dates.
- Giving an incomplete grade to allow an opportunity to fulfill course requirements.
- Allow student to complete the remainder of the course through independent study.
Essential Course Requirements
In general, up to a two day extension on an assignment would not constitute a fundamental alteration to a course; however, ODR encourages instructors to consider the following questions for each course when determining if established due dates are essential?
- What does the course description and syllabus indicate regarding late work or completion deadlines?
- Are the due dates arbitrary or are they essential to course requirements?
- Would an extension (or multiple extensions) fundamentally alter the course?
- Does the fundamental nature of the course rely upon timely completion of assignments as an essential method of learning?
- Does timely completion of assignments constitute a significant component of the learning process?
- To what degree does a student’s failure to submit timely completion of assignments constitute a significant loss of the educational experience for other students in the class?
The ultimate decision regarding due dates and the resulting influence extensions would have on the course is at the discretion of the instructor after a comprehensive examination of the essential course requirements. However, when due dates are believed to affect course integrity, instructors must consult with ODR to determine what course-specific adjustments may be applicable.
- Proactively work on assignments and manage their time with consideration given to potential challenges related to the impact of their disability and other class assignments/coursework requirements.
- Make a request for an extension to instructor each time one is needed
- Submit work completed by due date.