Academic Accommodations

CalArts has a commitment to provide equal educational opportunities to students who identify with having a disability or are otherwise documented. 

We will still hold true to this commitment and in our compliance as we navigate telephonic, online and/or web-based instruction with the state and federal laws including The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 defines an individual with a disability as someone who (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the individual's major life activities; (2) has a record of such an impairment; or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.

While teaching will be different through this format, learning for students will be just as different if not more difficult. Please be patient with them as they adjust and with us as we adjust their reasonable academic accommodations through our office. For students who are in need and have not registered for accommodations, please refer them to

This how-to guide outlines some very specific strategies and tools for quickly creating accessible videos and audio with captions, OCR-friendly documents, as well as images. 

How-To: Make Accessible Content

Also, we have adapted the below information for you to see how you can accommodate our students. If you need a consultation on courses being built or the formats, please email us at

For Lectures

  • Note-taking services will continue.
  • Note-takers and academic aides in courses will continue to take notes and provide services during virtual class sessions.
  •  For those courses with note-takers or academic aides, faculty will be required to provide zoom conference links to ensure continuity of service. 
  • Closed captioning (CC) should be on all video lectures through Learn or Zoom or etc. A transcript of the course lecture is strongly encouraged.
  • For students requiring Real-Time Captioning, all lecture content provided via zoom  and Learn will require remote captioning services. If a student needs these services, a request must be made to the DSO office via
  • It is possible that we might have students who use Real time captioning services due to the online format. We do not have any students requiring American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters at this time.
  • Visual materials used during the lecture will need to be verbally described, then captured and provided to students who are blind or visually impaired.
  •  Powerpoints will need to be posted and in an accessible Word or PDF format, visual information written on the board will need to be read and highlighted auditorily.

For Tests/Quizzes

  • If tests/quizzes will be administered online, faculty will need to ensure extended time is provided for DSO students. DSO does not have access to online courses, so we cannot provide this service.
  • Online tests/quizzes will need to be accessible via a screen reader. This means that items need to be a pdf and not scanned copies of things.
  • DSO will be available for Faculty consultation for tests/quizzes

For Course Materials

  • Course materials must be accessible. (Please don’t scan or take a picture of a book/reading as it cannot be read by a text e-reader)
  • Images posted online will require alternative descriptive text.
  • Powerpoints and white board notes should be posted online. Should be read in video recordings and live lectures.
  • Flexibility in course due dates may be required if extensive remediation of materials is required for DSO students to have access in an online format. 
  • DSO may require additional campus assistance in remediating online content.

Other Considerations

  • Ensuring all students have access to technology at home to complete course requirements.
    • Kurzweil is available to students who need to utilize these services
  • Reviews that are moved to an online format will also be required to be accessible.
  • Due to unforeseen disruption of structured schedule or increase in stress levels, DSO students may have a disability related need to request new course modifications not previously needed i.e. additional extension of time permitted for course assignments or exams.