Accessibility Concerns

Academic Technologies is working closely with the Center for Digital Learning and The Accessibility Resource Center to provide accurate and timely information on accessibility as faculty rapidly increase the use of online tools for instruction. Check out the UNM Canvas Accessibility page that has information on Ally, a tool that checks content accessibility, provides tips for improving accessibility, and creates accessible versions where possible. This online resource is also a great source of information about accessibility in your course.

Instructor FAQ  

Q: As I am adapting my course materials for virtual instruction, what should I be considering with regards to disability access? How do I best support my students? 

We acknowledge the significant effort required to quickly adapt your courses to online instruction. We want to collaborate with you to ensure that access for students with disabilities is maintained through this transition. Some students may encounter disability-related barriers with online instruction or assessment (e.g. students who use assistive technology, students with medical limitations on screen usage). ARC staff are available for consultation regarding best practices and accessibility. (Phone: 505-227-3506; Email:

  • Media - If you have students in your course who are utilizing accessible media, please notify our Text Conversion Team of any added materials at
  • Prerecorded lectures/videos - The Deaf/Hard of Hearing team is proactively working with instructors of Deaf/Hard of Hearing students to ensure captioning for prerecorded videos and/or arranging interpreting/captioning services for real-time class meetings. If you are planning to post recorded lectures/videos, please use Kaltura and submit a request for the video to be captioned though  
  • Access for blind students - ARC is also working proactively with instructors of blind students to discuss accessibility strategies for course lectures, documents, activities, etc.

Below are some tips to keep in mind as you are creating virtual course content (adapted from DO-IT): 

  • Use clear, consistent layouts and organization schemes for presenting content, and make instructions and expectations clear for activities, projects, and assigned reading.  
  • Offer outlines, scaffolding tools, and adequate opportunities for practice to help students learn. 
  • When selecting new materials, try to find videos that are already captioned, and articles that are available in a text-searchable format (meaning you can highlight and search the text within the document.  
  • Images can be made accessible to blind and low-vision students by providing captions or inserting alt text into the image. Use large, bold fonts on uncluttered pages with plain backgrounds and color combinations that are high contrast.  
  • Provide flexibility and understanding as this experience may cause disruption to the student’s home life and available resources – which may negatively impact a student’s disability symptoms.   

For more tips, visit:

Q: How will exam accommodations work? Will ARC proctor online exams?  How do I give students their extended time for online quizzes/exams?   

Extended time on exams as an accommodation generally only applies to traditional, time-limited exams. If you decide to offer alternative means of assessment (e.g. essays, non-timed exams, project work), then a student’s extended time may no longer be applicable. We encourage you to speak with registered students if that is the case. 

ARC will not be proctoring exams while the University’s instruction remains online only.  All exams should be administered online or through other remote assessment methods by faculty. Please email our Testing Services at for direction on how to set up extended time through Blackboard LEARN.  

Please communicate with your students to discuss their exam accommodations in your courses. ARC is available to instructors and students to consult. 

What if my student has an accommodation to take a paper exam instead of an electronic exam?

 Please reach out to the student’s Accommodations Specialist for guidance on this.  If you are unsure of who to contact email us at or refer to the accommodation memo.

Can my students postpone their exams?

Postponing exams are at the discretion of the instructor. Our accommodated testing services will resume when UNM returns to in-person classes. It is best for instructors to facilitate accommodations online so ARC students can test at the same time as other students in their course.

Q: Does this affect Attendance Adjustment and Deadline Extension Agreements?  

Completed agreements should be honored, though reasonable modifications to the structure of the agreements may be needed with the shift to online instruction. Students with agreements should be contacting you to discuss any additional barriers, if any, presented by changes to the course format. ARC is available to instructors and students to consult. 


Student FAQ  

Q: Is Accessibility Resource Center (ARC) open?   

Yes, ARC is still open Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.  All student appointments will be conducted via phone or virtually until further notice.  Watch for an email from your accommodations specialist for specific directions. Testing Services will not be proctoring exams while virtual instruction is in place.

If you have a question or concern, please either call the office at 505-277-3506 or email  

Q: What should I do for any exams I have currently scheduled with the Accessibility Resource Center?

The Accessibility Resource Center will contact all students and faculty with scheduled accommodated test requests. We will work with instructors to guide them on how to facilitate their accommodations online. Some instructors may decide to postpone their exams. It is recommended that you contact your instructor and discuss any upcoming exams currently scheduled with the Accessibility Resource Center.

Q: What happens now that exams are online? How do I get extended time for an online exam?  

ARC will not be proctoring exams while the University’s instruction remains online only. Please communicate with your instructors to discuss your exam accommodations in their courses.  

  • Some instructors may opt for alternative assessments (e.g. essays, untimed exams) which would not require exam accommodations.  
  • If your instructor is creating online timed exams, please notify your instructor if you will need extended time and include in the message.  Testing staff will then follow up with directions for setting extended time through UNM Canva.  

ARC is available to instructors and students to consult about unique circumstances.  

Q: Does this affect Attendance Adjustment and Deadline Extension Agreements?  

Completed agreements will be honored, though reasonable modifications to the structure of the agreements may be needed with the shift to online instruction. Please contact your instructors to discuss any additional barriers presented by changes to the course format. Let your Accommodations Specialist know if you need any assistance right away. 

Q: With the switch to all-virtual instruction, I anticipate barriers and would like to request new accommodations. What are my next steps? 

If you are not currently registered with ARC, please contact us at

If you are an ARC-registered student, please contact your assigned accommodations specialist