Information for Teaching Assistants/Course Assistants
Working as a TA/CA in courses can be rewarding and sometimes overwhelming. We want to ensure that you have the information you need to support the faculty member, students, and yourself! You are welcome to reach out to us at any time at email@example.com with any questions.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
At Brandeis University, Student Accessibility Support (SAS) is tasked with determining reasonable academic (and non-academic) accommodations for undergraduate and graduate students with disabilities.
If a student does come to you with an accommodation request, please maintain their privacy and refer them to SAS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To the greatest extent possible, learning environments should be designed to be usable by all students without the need for specialized adaptation. However, in some cases, this is not possible, and individual learner accommodation/-s is necessary. Students with a range of documented physical, sensory, psychological, medical, and learning disabilities are likely to need access support in order to have equal opportunities to participate in and enjoy the benefits of programs and activities as required by Federal Law (Section 504/ADA). You can find more information about Section 504 and ADA here.
Examples of common individual academic accommodations include but are not limited to: extended testing time, audio-recording, low-distraction testing environment, note-takers, special classroom seating, use of auxiliary aids, etc.
TA/CA’s have a major role in building and maintaining an inclusive classroom environment. You can be supportive in the following ways for implementing a student’s accommodations:
- Privacy: If a student shares their condition or accommodations with you, please maintain their privacy.
- Being Proactive: At the beginning of the semester, check in with the faculty member about any students enrolled in the class with academic accommodations (classroom as well as exam accommodations). The faculty member might share the student's accommodation letter with you, with the student's permission to do so.
- Class Recordings: If the class is over Zoom and not recorded, the faculty might put you in charge of recording and sharing the file with a particular student who has been approved for a permission to audio record class lectures accommodation.
- Proctoring: If you are proctoring an exam or a quiz (in-person or over Zoom), the faculty might ask you to make adjustments on Latte or any other platform that you might use for extended test time for students with that particular accommodation. It is always useful to ask the faculty member beforehand about this adjustment.
- Grading: If you are in charge of grading assignments, some students might have the “limited extensions” on assignments. Please check with your faculty member in case of any such request.
Please understand that since students with accommodations are your peers, they might not always be comfortable sharing their accommodation details with you. Be respectful of this and if you sense any discomfort in their behavior, suggest them to connect with the faculty member instead.
The accommodation letters with approved academic accommodations are addressed to the faculty members only. Given the needs for the course and types of assessments given, the faculty members might share the letter or relevant information from the letter with you, pertaining to your role in their class. It is important to note that such information is confidential, and students receiving accommodation/-s should not be identified publicly.
You can find multiple resources on making course materials accessible and navigating the class environment on a Latte course created by the Center for Teaching and Learning. You are also welcome to check out the Student Accessibility Support website for more information on academic accommodations.
SAS also serves as a resource for faculty, staff, and TA/CAs for course and classroom equity, access, best practices of accommodations, and knowledge and awareness about various disabilities and federal laws. You are welcome to reach out to us at email@example.com and we would be happy to address your questions/concerns!