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. OAA understands some due dates are announced with little advance notice, or unexpected exacerbations from a disability occur.
Faculty members, working together with OAA, may provide approval for Deadline Extensions as a Reasonable Accommodation for individual assignments for qualified students.
Generally, approval for a deadline extension provides the student up to 48 hours, or two additional days, on a given assignment. However, this approval does not automatically apply to all assignments and is not intended to be applied retroactively. Deadline extensions do 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. OAA may be consulted regarding course-specific adjustments.
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 OAA, 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: course goals or objectives, including student learning outcomes; required and recommended reading or other course materials; course requirements, including description and due dates (if known) of tests, presentations, and assignments; date and time of final exam. Please note: Advance notice allows students to 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.
- Give 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, but OAA 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 OAA 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 the due date.