Accommodation Information for Online Classes
Many students with disabilities feel that studying online will be the solution to their accommodation needs. You may be considering online study for the same reasons. What you need to be aware of is that studying online creates the need for a whole different set of accommodations. You should enroll in an online course after you have taken the time to carefully consider the requirements of the study and your strengths and weaknesses.
Is online learning for me? Ask yourself these questions:
How well do I manage my time?
The independent nature of online study requires a firm grasp on the ability to manage your time. You will be required to set a regular study schedule, keep track of assignments and due dates, as well as participate in online discussions. This may be more difficult without regular, in-person reminders from an instructor. This requires discipline to ensure that the course is not forgotten in your day-to-day activities.
Does my disability affect my ability to process and comprehend written information?
For individuals with certain disabilities, managing the content, directions and discussion in an online course becomes increasingly difficult. Information in an online course is frequently delivered via written material on the study's web site. The instructor will not be immediately available to deliver the information auditorily or to provide clarification for any misunderstood concepts or assignments.
Will I need to utilize assistive technology to complete this course?
For some students with disabilities, the use of assistive technology is necessary. This can pose a challenge if some aspects of the online course management system are not compatible with the assistive technology you are using. Try to use your assistive technology with the sample course to identify any challenges that you will encounter while engaged in online study.
How comfortable am I with computers and technology?
It is important to be aware of your current comfort level with technology and computers. Are you a digital native? Or are you a digital immigrant? Digital natives are those students who have grown up with computers, are quite agile in manipulating the technology and are comfortable using all forms of technology. Digital immigrants didn't grow up using technology. For many digital immigrants, technology's widespread use came after they had entered adulthood. The technology is more difficult for immigrants to navigate and appears to be more mysterious. Accessing all course information and instruction in an online format may be more intimidating and stressful than engaging in guided independent study. Knowing your comfort level with computers and technology will allow you to determine whether or not online study is for you.
What do I expect of the online study?
It's important to be aware of your expectations of the online study. What kind of interaction are you expecting from the instructor? Are you expecting a lot of personal interaction or a little? Do you think that you will have a lot of writing to do or not as much? What information are you basing your expectations on? You should find out as much as possible about the format of the online study, the expectations the instructors have of you, and what you need to do to successfully complete the course. The more information you learn about the study prior to enrolling and beginning the study, the better you can determine if online study is for you.
Online Accommodation Procedures
- Student will review the DSPS webpage which provides information regarding services, resources, procedures, rights, responsibilities and appeal.
- Student will review the DSPS Student Online Orientation and complete the forms.
- Student will provide the DSPS office at their campus location with documentation of disability from a learning disabilities specialist or licensed professional such as a medical doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist. Documentation should be current and contain diagnosis of disability but also the disability related limitations on the student’s ability to perform major life activities.
- Upon receipt of Application and disability verification, the student will be contacted by DSPS. The DSPS Specialist will contact the student in response to their accommodation request.
- The Student and specialist will have a discussion of strengths, goals, limitations, fundamental requirements of class, or classes, and options for services and accommodations.
- When necessary the DSPS specialist will e-mail the instructor for clarification of fundamental requirements.
- The DSPS specialist will complete a Support Services Agreement form and FAX or mail it to the student. The student will sign their agreement on the form and FAX or mail it back to DSPS.
- For each new class and each new instructor, the student will email the new instructor and the DSPS specialist to request accommodations at least ten days before the date accommodations are needed, and preferably before the beginning of the semester.