Frequently asked questions from faculty

1. How do students register with the OSD?

For students to register with the OSD for academic accommodations, they need to meet with an Access Services Advisor, discuss their barriers, and provide valid documentation from a licensed professional. Depending on the nature of their disability or health condition, this registration may be permanent or temporary.

2. Can I find out if a student is registered with the OSD?

Professors will find out if a student is registered with the OSD if a student chooses to disclose this to them. They may disclose this in conversation, by email, through a professor notification letter, or through an exam request form. Students are encouraged to disclose their barriers and not their diagnosis.

3. How do I get advice regarding a student I'm concerned about?

Professors are welcome to contact advisors at the OSD to discuss concerns regarding students. We would encourage you to do so through our Faculty Drop-ins.

The Office of the Dean of Students has also established protocols and resources for supporting students in difficulty or distress:

4. Can I refer a student to the OSD?

Professors can recommend that students book an appointment with our offices if they notice that the student is experiencing barriers that may be disability-related. The OSD cannot contact a student directly from a professor’s referral.

5. What are the OSD's opening hours?

The OSD is open for exam writing from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and for advising from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the academic semester. We are open from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. during the final exam period in the fall and winter semesters.

6. What do I need to do when a student writes a midterm exam or in-class test with the OSD?

You will receive an email from our exam coordinator with the information that the student has recorded about the exam. Please confirm that the date, time, and length of the exam are correct and then provide the exam coordinator a copy of the exam (either in person or by email) as well as any specific instructions and contact information if you are answering questions during the exam.

7. What do I need to do when a student writes an out-of-class final exam with the OSD?

Final exams are coordinated in collaboration with the final exam office, so you do not need to directly provide a copy to the OSD. It is helpful for us to have a contact number to reach you at if a student has questions and if you are answering questions during the exam.

8. Can I accommodate a student on my own without the OSD?

If you are willing to provide a student their academic accommodations during your exam then you are welcome to do so. We would encourage you, in this case, to have the student contact their Access Services Advisor to communicate their specific accommodations to you.

9. What is the testing environment at the OSD like?

The OSD provides an environment that is similar to the class or final exam setting. Students are required to leave bags and coats at the back of the room, there is no talking allowed during the exam, and invigilators monitor students closely.

10. What do I need to communicate about my exams to the OSD?

If you have any specific requirements about your exams, including but not limited to: requiring students write in an exam booklet, writing in pen or pencil, writing on a computer with or without internet, whether or not you allow scrap paper, dictionaries, notes, or memory aids, and whether or not you are willing to answer questions during the exam.

11. How do I communicate a typo or change on my exam to the OSD?

Please contact the exam coordinators as soon as possible by emailing exams.osd [at] mcgill.ca or calling 514-398-8284.

12. How do students writing with the OSD ask me questions during the exam?

Students will tell an invigilator that they have a question and if you are answering questions during the exam, they will attempt to reach you using the contact information you have provided. If they are unable to reach you to ask the question, an incident report will be completed and delivered to you with the exam.

13. Can I pick up exams myself or do they have to be delivered?

Exams are available for pick up at 9:00 a.m. the day after they are written.

14. How do I contact the OSD exam office?

The exam coordinators can be reached by emailing exams.osd [at] mcgill.ca or calling 514-398-8284

15. What do I need to do when a student in my class needs a note-taker?

Note-takers are solicited by the OSD. A student in the class will volunteer to take notes and will then upload a copy of their notes to the OSD note-taking page on myCourses. If no note-taker is found, a student may contact you asking for support in finding one.

The OSD encourages professors to create a note-taking community within their courses of students sharing their course notes in a myCourses forum. This makes course materials accessible to all students and can also be a way for professors to assess participation.

16. I have received a letter of accommodation from the OSD, what should I do now?

You will receive a letter of accommodation from a student if this is part of their accommodation plan and if they choose to have a copy sent to you. The letter will confirm that the student has registered with the OSD, that we have valid medical documentation on file, and will indicate one of the four following accommodation messages:

  • The student may be absent from courses throughout the semester for valid disability-related reasons;

  • The student may approach you to negotiate deadline extensions;

  • The student requires the use of a laptop computer in class;

  • The student requires advanced access to course materials