Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services

SDR provides communication services to enrolled students who are deaf or hard of hearing for:

  • regularly scheduled academic activities (e.g., lectures, seminars, discussion sections, examinations or required course assessments, laboratory/studio sections, and meetings with instructors, teaching assistants and academic advisors)
  • specially scheduled academic events and activities (e.g., one-time assessment review sessions, tutoring sessions, and meetings with faculty and other campus personnel)

Students are required to submit a written or typed request to SDR’s Deaf Services coordinator (email: for activities that are not required by the course yet are related to the student’s academic progress. For example, tutoring, meetings with academic advisor, or capstone presentations within one’s major before enrolling in capstone course.

Any interpreting to be done outside of the classroom requires prior SDR approval. If an interpreter/transcriber/captioner does not receive prior SDR approval, (s)he may not be paid.

To request communication services for extracurricular activities and events, contact the event sponsor. If a student has any difficulty requesting interpreters or other services to attend a CSUMB event, promptly contact SDR Deaf Services at

Available communication services

Students may request the following SDR Communication Services and more as new technologies and solutions become reasonable to provide:

Sign language interpreting

The term “sign language interpreting” is used to refer to the translation of spoken English into sign language and the translation of sign language into spoken English. CSUMB strives to hire interpreters with national certification who are capable of interpreting in the student’s preferred sign language mode. These modes include American Sign Language, oral interpreting and Signed English. They are skilled in facilitating all aspects of communication for deaf and hard of hearing students with faculty, staff, and peers to allow full participation in campus classes and activities.

Given CSUMB’s rural area and relatively small campus enrollment, in some cases, CSUMB may rely on video remote interpreting. This requires additional coordination of equipment with the student, classroom, interpreters and instructor.

Communication Access Real-Time Translation (CART)

CART, also known as real-time captioning, is the contemporaneous transcription of spoken English onto a computer monitor screen. The stenocaptioner will type words spoken in class on his/her own portable computer, and those words will appear simultaneously on the computer screen provided the student. The student may type communication for the captioner to read out loud.

CART may be authorized for students who are hard of hearing and whose skills with sign language are not proficient enough to keep pace with lectures. In the event of an interpreter shortage, transcription may be provided as a substitute to provide classroom access for students who are deaf.

Equipment loan

Students may borrow a tape recorder from SDR for the semester, while supplies lasts, to take to class in case sign language interpreters or captioners are not available. Other communication-related equipment is available for loan such as a portable and wireless UbiDuo, books, and DVDs.

Assitive listening devices (ALDs)

FM Systems. FM systems transmit sound via radio waves. The speaker (instructor) wears a portable transmitter and boom or clip-on microphone, while the student uses a portable receiver with either headphones or mini-ear buds. Students with hearing aids that are equipped with telecoil “T” switches may use neck loop or silhouette cords that connect the receiver to the student’s hearing aids.

SDR has FM systems, including headphones, ear buds, neck loops, and silhouettes, that students may check out for the semester. SDR will notify the instructor regarding the need to wear the microphone and transmitter. If an instructor has questions regarding using the system, it is important that the student ask him/her to contact SDR (email

Infrared Systems. Infrared systems transmit sound via light waves. Some classrooms and auditoria at CSUMB have infrared systems installed that send out an infrared signal for anything transmitted over the general Public Address (PA) system. The infrared system is activated as soon as the room’s PA system is turned on. Hard of hearing people can use an infrared receiver with or without hearing aids to access this signal.

SDR has infrared receivers that hard of hearing students may borrow for the semester. Rooms that have infrared systems will be posted with signs. Ask SDR for a list of the rooms in which infrared systems are available. SDR facilitates infrared communication access with the instructor and the IT equipment coordinator.

Note-taking services

Note-taking includes recording the main points stated in class, highlighting important main topics or themes that are emphasized by the instructor, defining new or difficult vocabulary when it is defined in class, and organizing the material to best present the classroom information. Notes are not necessarily a word-to-word record of what happens in class.

Note-taking procedures

Notetaker Student Responsibilities

Note-taking Service Contractual Agreement

Confidentiality Memo


Notes are written by hearing students who are enrolled in the same class as a deaf or hard of hearing student. SDR provides NCR (copy) paper for you to receive your notes immediately after class. In many cases, students are welcome to select their own notetakers and then notify the instructor and SDR with the name of who agreed to take notes. Alternatively, students may choose to enlist the assistance of professors and instructors to make announcements and help recruit note takers.

In some cases, you will be told who the notetaker is for your course. Usually, this is because another student who uses SDR Notetakers already recruited one for the course. You then share that notetaker. If you have difficulty securing the services of a notetaker or have any problems with SDR’s notetaking service, please promptly contact SDR.

Before the end of each semester, SDR will ask you to confirm that you are receiving satisfactory notes. It is very important that you promptly respond. SDR pays a fee at the end of the semester to student notetakers. The notetakers are expected to keep careful records of their note taking services to facilitate processing of payment.

Communication student assistant

Communication assistants are students recruited by SDR to assist in specific ways depending on the situation. For example, video phone set up and return, notetaking for specific course activities when the peer notetaker enrolled in the course is not available, and signing for SDR in order to schedule an appointment for when an interpreter is available.

These assistants are not replacements for interpreters or captioners.

Transcripts of CART, video or other required audio communication

Students who are using CART services may request that the SDR Advisor authorize transcripts of real-time captioning. Approval depends on the student’s functional limitations and other factors. In some cases, the typed words that the student sees on the computer monitor during class may be printed out and made available to the student after class. Transcripts may take 24 hours or more if SDR has to pay to clean them up before providing them to the student. Transcripts are only for the authorized student and are not to be shared or duplicated.

Transcripts of required videos and/or online audio instruction may require two to four weeks advance request from students due to copyright procedure. Submit requests to SDR with course syllabus or other confirmation from faculty that the material is required for the course.

Back-up services and accommodations

If a previously scheduled interpreter or captioner provider cannot show up for his/her assignment (e.g., calls in sick), SDR will use its best efforts to arrange for a substitute communication service provider to cover the assignment.

SDR will first attempt to secure the services of the same type of communication service provider from CSUMB’s pool. If none is available, SDR will attempt to secure the services of a substitute communications service provider from outside agencies. As an additional back-up measure, if the same type of communication service normally assigned is not available either through SDR’s employees or through outside agencies, SDR will attempt to secure the services of an alternative type of service provider. For example, if a substitute interpreter is not available, SDR will attempt to arrange for CART services. In this circumstance, SDR will again look first to CSUMB captioners, and if none are available, will turn to outside vendors.

SDR also will provide a tape recorder/hand-held audio recording device for use in class to any eligible deaf or a hard of hearing student who requests one. In the rare instance in which no such alternative communication services providers are available for a particular assignment, SDR will notify the student via e-mail and, as a back-up measure, SDR will transcribe a recorded lecture or other class session for the student within two business days, if possible, but in any event, no longer than three business days. SDR has tape recorders that students may check out for the entire semester. If a student has not checked out a tape recorder, in the rare case in which an alternative Communications Service provider is not available, SDR will bring a tape recorder to class for the student to use as promptly as possible, and ensure that the tape recorder is functioning and recording the lecture. SDR will demonstrate how to use hand-held tape recorders to any students who checks them out through SDR’s Equipment Loan procedure and/or use them on an emergency basis.

Multiple services and primary consideration

The communication services identified above are not mutually exclusive. Where necessary for effective communication, and based upon SDR’s individualized assessment of the student’s functional limitations, needs and circumstances for the specific semester, these communication services may be provided in combination. In determining what mode of communication and services are necessary, SDR gives primary consideration to the student’s requests.

Communication with faculty

After authorization from the student, SDR will send to the professors and instructors of classes in which the student is enrolled a notification that a student who is deaf or hard of hearing is enrolled in the course and of the student’s accommodation needs. SDR will also indicate that closed and open captioning may be needed for videos, movies, and required online auditory content. SDR asks instructors and professors to speak clearly and concisely.

It is each student’s responsibility to meet by appointment with instructors about communication needs and to confirm logistics. Students are expected to remind faculty when needed. It is not realistic to expect faculty to always face their students to allow lip-reading. Where charts and technical data do not lend themselves to sign language interpretation, captioning or accurate peer note taking, students need to ask faculty to provide printed copies of such charts and data to the student who is deaf or hard of hearing.

Final assessment (exam) week

Please inform SDR as soon as you know your need for interpreters or captioners for the week of final assessments (exams). This means that you must clarify with your instructors at least two weeks before final exams about whether each final is primarily a timed, in class individual writing assignment or take home paper or presentations by students such as for Capstone Festival.

Students are responsible for submitting to SDR at least two weeks in advance any specific requests for communication services during final assessment period. Campus-wide dates for assessment period are posted in the Academic Calendar.

Faculty may schedule final assessments outside of the campus-wide assessment period. Mid semester, clarify your final week with each of your instructors and notify SDR.

Special requests

To ensure effective communication, students who seek communication services for academic activities and events that are not part of their regular schedule need to notify SDR at least 10 working days in advance of the event or activity for which the communication services are requested.

The university recognizes that it is not always possible to provide such advance notice, and SDR will use its best efforts to arrange for the requested communication service regardless of the amount of advance notice the student provides. If the particular type of communication service requested is not available for a particular event or activity, SDR will use its best efforts to secure a suitable alternative accommodation.

Notify SDR through the following means:

  1. Complete a One-Time Request Form available at SDR or at SDR’s website.
  2. Call (831) 582-3672 (voice) or (831) 582-4024 (TTY).
  3. Email and
  4. Or schedule and appointment in person.

Extracurricular events and activities

The same types of communication services available for academic activities also are available for extra-curricular events and activities.

As with special requests for communication services for academic activities, CSUMB asks students to submit their typed or written request at least 10 working days before the scheduled extracurricular activity or event. Regardless of the amount of notice given, the university will use its best efforts to secure the communication service requested by the student for the extracurricular event or activity. In the event that the requested service is not available, the University will use its best efforts to arrange for reasonable, alternative accommodations.

Request communication services for extracurricular activities through any of the following


  1. Notify the University group, department or organization that is sponsoring the extracurricular event or activity via email or phone. Indicate the date and time you want to participate. Indicate best ways to reach you (email address, phone, etc.) Indicate your preferred method of communication for this type of event or activity such as American Sign Language, Signed English, real time captioning, etc. To expedite service, include link to SDR Interpreter Request Form for the sponsoring group to complete. Copy
  2. Visit the sponsoring department, group, or organization and provide the information in option (directly above) for the event coordinator or assistant.