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Here are frequently asked questions of the NDC | Help Team. Search by topic, or scroll through the archive. If you have a question, please ask us. Want to be alerted when new FAQs are posted? Join the NDC listserv.


FAQs For Students

Watch in ASL

  • Join an online deaf support group. There are several on Facebook!

  • Start a group with friends and/or classmates to motivate and support each other with being accountable to finish the semester strong.

  • Manage your time well. Make sure your schedule has time for YOU, such as meditation, yoga, reading books, and exercise.

  • Use a Fitbit or similar device to remind you to get up and move.

  • Use blue light blocking glasses to help decrease eye strain. Be sure to schedule time away from electronics to decompress.

  • Set small, attainable goals and celebrate when you complete each one.

  • Make sure you get the sleep and nutrition you need.

Watch in ASL

  • Build a support network!

    • Talk to your instructors about what accommodations you need in the classroom. Request a meeting with the DS office with your instructor present. (Note, you do not need to disclose your disability to your instructor.)

    • Connect with other students who have advocated for what they need. Ask them what worked.

  • Be specific when discussing why you need the accommodations you are requesting.

    • Be prepared to explain the barriers you are encountering and how the requested accommodations will remove those barriers.

  • Learn and use resources about laws that schools and DS offices must follow for providing accommodations for deaf students.

  • Become familiar with your school’s grievance (sometimes called appeal or student complaint) process.

    • This may be available in the DS Student Handbook on their website or given to you during your initial meeting. Ask for a copy from the DS office if you cannot locate one online.

  • Save all emails and document all contacts made with the DS office, including dates and type of requests in the order they happened. Write down important notes about each situation.

    • Keeping a copy of this information will be helpful if you need to file a grievance or submit a complaint.

Watch in ASL

  • During your online class turn off the other devices in your home that are connected to the internet.

  • Connect your computer to the modem using a direct connection cord (such as a LAN or ethernet cord). Make sure the devices you are using are fully charged.

  • Restart your computer or tablet before class. Close any programs running in the background that rely on the internet.

  • Before class, contact your instructor to remind students to turn off their video and audio.

  • Ask the instructor to record each live online class if there are technical issues. If there were technical issues on your end, ask the DS office to provide a transcript, a captioned copy of the recording, or have an interpreter record/translate the recorded lecture to make up information you may have missed.

Watch in ASL

  • Time management: Set up a visual of your schedule and stick to it! Review your course syllabi and list important due dates. Add scheduled meetings and other student support services (e.g. tutoring). Identify dates ahead of time to submit accommodation requests (remote interpreting or speech-to-text services) to the disability services office in a timely manner.

  • Get a notetaker: Request a notetaker to take notes for pre-recorded or live online courses, or for any audio information being presented (e.g. a podcast). A notetaker can reduce the time spent searching for information in several places, allowing you to focus on one screen or item.

  • Stay in touch with your instructor: Take advantage of the instructor’s office hours to meet with your instructor. Use the time to ask questions or clarification about the material or assignments. Remember, you can ask the disability services office for accommodations for these meetings.

  • Break down assignments: Be sure to take breaks so you don’t get fatigued by reading and watching the screen all day. Schedule time before and after online classes to review material and take a break before moving to the next class or assignment.

Watch in ASL

  • Connect with your instructors before classes begin. Ask questions such as:

    • What learning management system (LMS, such as Blackboard or Canvas) will the instructor use? Let the instructor know the service providers will need to have access to the course and materials.

    • Is the class asynchronous (at your own pace with due dates) or synchronous (meets weekly at a certain/time date, often with live video)? This information can help with submitting your request for accommodations to the disability services office.

    • Will the instructor show any videos or other media? Make sure the instructor is aware of your school’s captioned media procedure and if any audio content (e.g podcasts) needs to be captioned. Ask your instructor to require accurate captions for student submitted videos.

  • Keep in touch with your disability services office. Share experiences such as:

    • Importance of consistent service providers for classes, especially if hiring remote providers.

    • What accommodations worked best in certain formats or classes. For example, request an interpreted version of a pre-recorded lecture rather than relying on captioning if there is also a powerpoint going at the same time.

    • Discuss a back-up plan with the disability office in case technology fails to ensure you have access to the material.

Watch in ASL

Before classes begin:

  • Make sure service providers have access to the Learning Management System (LMS, such as Canvas or Blackboard), or are able to receive emails from the instructor.

  • Do a practice run using the platforms and find out what works best (for example, experiment with viewing the interpreter in a split screen or through dual monitors or practice pinning the interpreter). Make sure you, your service providers and the disability services office have a back-up plan in case technology fails.

During class:

  • Communicate with your service providers. Let them know if something is not working, if your video/captioning stream is choppy, or it is hard to see the interpreter.

  • If using interpreters, work out a strategy for them to let you know when they will switch, allowing you time to locate the team interpreter’s video.

Troubleshooting tips

  • Communicate with your service providers while online. Consider using a live chat or messaging platform to stay in touch during the class.

  • Learn how to troubleshoot with the platforms or systems being used to connect with your service provider(s). Discuss your preferences, such as lightning and background color before classes begin.

Watch in ASL

No. If your school says your are responsible for to pay for your accommodations, you can respond by stating:

“Under federal laws, I am not required to pay for my approved accommodations. It is the responsibility of the school to provide and pay for accommodations (interpreters, speech-to-text services, captioned media, notetaker, etc.)”

You can read more about this in the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Auxiliary Aids and Services for Postsecondary Students with Disabilities document and in our Expert Lecture: ADA Series videos. If you need to modify your accommodations plan, these should not be seen as an additional expense. Read “What resources will help me advocate for my needs with the disability services (DS) office?” for more advocacy tips.

Check with your audiologist to see if the following options below are available to allow your personal hearing assistive device to stream audio from a computer, tablet or other device. Ask your school to continue to use the FM/DM system while accessing online content at home.

  • Direct Audio Input

    • Some personal hearing devices can connect directly using a hardwired cable to a computer or other electronic device. (Note: Cochlear implant users should NEVER use the direct audio input cable to connect to a computer or any electronic device that is plugged into the wall. There is always the risk of electric shock and stray electric currents during a surge that could make its way into the internal cochlear implant device!)

  • Telecoil

    • Ensure the telecoil is turned on/active to stream audio from the connected device. If you find that the telecoil audio is softer than with the microphone activated, you may need to have your audiologist/hearing aid dispenser properly re-program the telecoil output.

  • Streamer

    • Check the instruction manual (or with your manufacturer) on how to connect your computer or tablet with a streamer to access the sound directly to your device.

  • Connecting personal FM/DM systems

    • Place the FM/DM system microphone next to the computer/tablet speaker or connect a direct audio input cable from FM/DM microphone transmitter.

For more information, please see the Tipsheet.