Setting Up Reasonable Accommodations in Canvas

Setting Up Reasonable Accommodations in Canvas

As an instructor, you may be asked to provide reasonable academic accommodations for a student in your course who has a documented disability on file with Student Accessibility Services (SAS). After a thorough documentation review and a meeting with the student, SAS staff will determine and list reasonable accommodations on the “Notification Letter” (NL)—the adjustments indicated on the NL are necessary and appropriate based on the student’s abilities and/or limitations and are not an unfair advantage for your student when considering the impact of their documented disability.

If you have additional questions, visit the Student Accessibility Services website or contact via phone (515) 294-7220 or email

This page provides guidance on how to use Canvas in setting up reasonable accommodations, including (but not limited to):

Extended time or extra attempts can easily be set on quizzes built within Canvas. This is done after the quiz is published, but before it is administered.

a. Providing Extended Time guide

Quiz availability dates still apply when moderating a quiz. If the Until date passes when students are taking the quiz with extended time, the quiz auto-submits even if the student’s time extension has not expired. f you have set a time limit on your quiz, you can grant access for extra time.

If the student hasn’t taken the quiz, the extra time will be added to the student’s initial attempt and additional attempts. Learn more about managing extra attempts. To set this up, use the give my students extra time guide.

b. Providing Extra Attempts guide

You can grant access to an individual student, several students, or the entire class to have extra attempts on a quiz. If your quiz is locked, you can also manually unlock the quiz for a student, even if the student has not yet taken the quiz.

You can add extra attempts through accessing student quiz results or moderating the quiz. To set this up, follow the give my students extra attempts guide.


Students may need to take a quiz earlier or later than the rest of class. Quizzes built within Canvas can be made available to individual students outside the scheduled quiz time in two ways. One option allows instructors to set a different scheduled time, while the other simply unlocks the quiz to be taken at any time.

a. Setting a new scheduled time

When assigning a quiz to an individual student, set the availability date to a different date/time. This will make the quiz available for that individual at their newly scheduled time. This can be done for before, after, or during the originally scheduled time. Use the assign a quiz to an individual student guide.

b. Unlock the quiz at any time

You can unlock a quiz under the moderate quiz page. This will override the existing availability date/time for the selected student and allow that individual to take the quiz at any time after the unlock option has been checked. To set this up, use the give my students extra attempts guide.

To print a quiz in Canvas:

  1. Open Quizzes Click Quizzes from your Course Navigation.
  2. Select Quiz Click the name of your quiz.
  3. Preview Click the Preview button in the top right-hand corner.
  4. Browser Print Function Using your browser’s print function, find and select Print.

Note: Printed quizzes often split answer options between pages and leave little room for essay answers.

While not necessarily an accommodation, creating content in an accessible way is an important part of making sure your course is inclusive. Both native and integrated tools within Canvas help instructors in creating accessible files, pages, and other content.

Differentiated assignments is a function within Canvas that allows you to set different due dates/times as well as availability dates for an individual student within the same activity assigned to the rest of the class. This can be done on assignments, quizzes, and graded discussions:

a. Assignment:

When creating or editing an assignment, you can assign an assignment to individual students. You can also set different due and availability dates for a student within an assignment that is assigned to the rest of the class. Availability date functionality is still available for each assignment. To set this up, use the How do I assign an assignment to an individual student? guide

b. Quizzes:

When creating or editing a quiz, you can assign a quiz to a specific student. Availability date functionality is still available for each quiz. To set this up, use the How do I assign a quiz to an individual student? guide

c. Graded Discussions:

When creating or editing a graded discussion, you can assign a graded discussion to a specific student. Availability date functionality is still available for each graded discussion. Only the student(s) specified in the discussion details can view the graded discussion. To set this up, use the How do I assign a graded discussion to an individual student? guide.

(Note: This allows these designees access to course content while assisting your students)

If a student is eligible for interpreting or transcribing accommodations to your course, it is the instructor’s responsibility to provide the interpreter or transcriber access to course materials in Canvas. This access is necessary to provide accurate interpreting or transcribing services.

Interpreters and Transcribers will need access to the course Canvas site as early as possible. This allows them to download handouts, PowerPoint presentations, and other course materials in advance. That way, transcribers can input names or vocabulary that will be used often in a lecture into the dictionary that is part of the transcribing software they use, and interpreters and the Deaf/hard of hearing student that is receiving accommodations can discuss and select vocabulary/name sign choices prior to class.

Interpreters and Transcribers may be added to a Canvas course as a Reviewer. If you need assistance with adding a Reviewer to your course, contact the ISU Solution Center at 515-294-4000 (Because this is a local issue, Canvas Support will be unable to assist with this question).


It’s beneficial to be thinking about these things during the planning stage of your course, but you can also apply these concepts and best practices during a course redesign. Consider using these Iowa State University resources for help with your course or questions about accessibility:

Create a compelling, engaging, and enjoyable online learning environment for your students.


Reduce barriers to learning and facilitate meaningful participation by all students.