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Syllabus Language

Below is the language I used in my Fall 2017 class syllabus. Feel free to borrow or adapt my language as makes sense to you for your syllabi, but please do NOT use my language without citing me for my work in writing it.

Access & Accommodations

I am committed to creating a learning space where everyone can participate as fully as possible. I strive to provide information and resources in multiple formats (text, visuals, audio, silent work, group work, lecture, conversation, etc.) to enable more access possibilities for every student. I recognize that there are many reasons students may need to adjust their pace, style, or method of learning, including but not limited to disability, temporary or ongoing personal life circumstances, unexpected emergencies, or other learning differences.

All students are always allowed to use the bathroom, get drinks of water, or take breaks outside the classroom at any time without needing to ask permission. (Seriously, no one wants to witness anyone else urinate or die of dehydration.) If you are responsible for childcare, you are welcome to bring your children to class with you, and they do not need to be shushed. All students are also always allowed to use technology and devices in the classroom at any time, including cell phones. My only requests are that (a) you set your devices to silent or vibrate-only during class time; (b) you don’t intentionally open any visuals that contain sudden or rapid flashing, since these can cause potentially fatal seizures, migraines, and sensory overload; and (c) if you plan or expect to use a device for a non-traditionally academic purpose, you sit on the sides or back of the room to reduce chances of accidentally distracting someone else. (You can step outside to take calls if needed.)

All students are also always allowed to ask for extensions or alternative assignments for any assignment, including adjustments to the final paper (but you still have to write one). I will pretty much grant any and all extension requests, and you don’t need to give details for why you need an extension. If you ask for one, I believe you that there is some reason that you need one. Usually, I will ask you when you think would be fair and feasible for you to get it done, and that will become your new deadline to turn it in.

If you have any access needs that I can better support by changing any aspect of my teaching (including class discussions) or the way I have handled assignments/readings, you are welcome and encouraged to let me know in public or in private how I can better support your access needs.

Disabled students/students with disabilities may also formally register with the office responsible for disabled student support services, which is the official process for receiving reasonable accommodations in the classroom. You need not have a specific reason or diagnosis to talk to me about your access needs; everyone deserves to learn in the way that makes the most sense for them at any point in time.

Tufts’ official policy is this: Reasonable accommodations are afforded to any student who is registered with the Student Accessibility Services Office, who has been deemed eligible by the Director of the Student Accessibility Services in accordance with Tufts polices, and in accordance with State and Federal regulations. Accommodations must be requested by the student, and be pertinent to the student’s documented disability, and must not substantially alter the educational program, intent, process, nor be an administrative burden to execute for the parties involved.

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