In addition to what all students need, what does May (returning adult student, vet with disabilities, takes all courses online, can only come to campus with great difficulty) need?

Phase 1

*Technology evaluation would be necessary since not all adaptive equipment (if she uses any) is compatible in chat rooms and on discussion boards. A referral to the someone through the student veteran's office would be helpful to help make sure that she is accessing what she needs through their programs. I would also refer this student to the Department of Vocational Resources (Department of Rehabilitative Services, depending on the state you live in), who can serve veterans as they work toward their employment goals.
*Disability services would evaluate the nature of the student’s disability through documentation and interview in order to assess what reasonable accommodations would be necessary for equal access
*Career services
*Academic advising
*Direction on using VA funds such as the GI Bill/financial aid for vets. These types of funding programs have strict eligibility requirements
*Flexibility concerning office hours if student needs to come to campus regarding an issue
*Information about a transportation service for her needs if she wants to go to campus
*Equipment & tools needed for online learning
*Veteran services connection and knowledge that the campus is Vet friendly even in an online environmnet
*Access to Disability Services to sort out technical needs if any, requests for services if any for online courses
*Location of veterans affairs office location, services and online accessibility.
*Services of local transportation system regarding disabled accessibility
*Mentoring from another experienced online learner with similar disabilities/veteran status.

Phase 2

  • Veterans Success Program would be a program designed to help veterans transition from the armed services to college in order support their educational and professional pursuits.

*Again another disabled veteran who has done online course work could provide mentoring services and support more applicable than a non-disabled vet or a non-vet.
*Perhaps simply making available a student services staff member, should the student want that. *Optional service, would provide personal touch and be adaptive to specific needs as they arise.
*A virtual community that she can join to feel connected to campus
*Depending on the type of disability, audio reader for texts
*Information about community resources, that may be of assistance off campus
*Tech support for assistive technology, if necessary
*If there are any times she will HAVE to be on campus (class requirements, etc. i.e. mid-terms)/specific course requirements for testing center – plenty of advanced notice and clear directions including any physical barriers
*Assistive technology training/adaptive technology for computers
*Clear requirements and standards for online courses and responsibilities
*Who to contact if she cannot get in touch with professor or if she has problems
*Copyright laws
*Access to Veteran Affairs & DSS
*Time Management

Phase 3

  • Provision of appropriate accomodations (i.e. extended examination time/reader/scribe/technology aids, etc.); Provision of specific information about how to request accomodations
  • PLAN for Success (Student Inventory ) What has been working so far? What is not working?

Typically by week two the amount of work and the intensity of course content becomes apparent. This inventory would include a review of the accommodations being used and an assessment of what revisions if any need to be made for academic success.

  • The college may need to educate itself about the increasing numbers of veterans enrolling in school who may or may not need accommodations.
  • Continued check-in from student services staff both to discover any changes in accommodation needs and to act as early-warning system.
  • Campus activities that can be done online (due to difficulty going to campus) such activities as computer work and phone work that are vital to the running of many activities
  • Connection to Veterans activities, student groups
  • Upcoming deadlines for registration, dropping classes, pre-reqs, paying bills
  • Career services including job search and her rights that are appropriate for her disabilities

Phase 4

  • One-on-one personal contact with instructor
  • Interactice Career Forum and Career Symposium-The career forum will not only give the students a chance to see the direct marketing principles learned in the classroom come to life, but will also allow them to see that the same communications tools they use daily on an informal basis.
  • Career Fair- Providing information about hiring veterans and laws pertaining to the American Disabilities Act. ,

*Career services such as mock interviews done online
*Resume repair
*Work closely with someone very familiar with Americans with Disabilities (ADA) in developing educational and career plans

How does this contribute to success?

  • Materials in alternative formats such as in large print, braille or on tape or disk, sign language interpreters need to be ordered from publishers well in advance. Assessing physical conditions like ramps for getting on and off platforms, “handicapped” parking, extra wide automatic doors , and special cross walks provide accessibility and campus inclusion. Students would be able to participate and use course materials successfully.
  • An education plan could be designed to meet the veteran’s career plans and goals and to assist in locating tutorials on time management, organization, and study skills for a successful academic experience.
  • A referral to the Student Veteran's Office will help the student double check all the steps that they must go through for education and also are aware of financial aid and student enrollment level regulations.

Who is responsible?

  • Disability Services for Phase 1. Learning Center or Center for Academic Advisement Services, and Disabilities Services for Phase 2.
  • A referral to the Department of Rehabilitative Services would provide a variety of supports for the student that would be done after a client assessment of need.

Best delivery?

  • Website contributes to success by ensuring the student is aware of accomodations and gets them so that the student's "playing field" is leveled. That is, appropriate accomodations put the student in an environment where they can equitably demonstrate their knowledge. As well, personal contact helps to minimize the sense of isolation similar to the one mentioned by Floyd and Casey-Powell at Rio Salado College and Bunker Hill Community College.
  • Students can email questions, seek tutoring, join a chat, or be directed to links, etc.
  • E-mail, telephone, E-mentoring

*Skype might provide an efficient means of communication and retain a personal touch.

Additional comments?
Bemidji State University is a small university in northern Minnesota and I work with a variety of community, state and regional organizations to provide support to the vets enrolled on our campus—online or onsite. The trick (as it were) is to make sure you are aware of the collaborative opportunities out there for the different populations of students. With the budget constraints on most campuses, I would suspect that many of us are unable to be the only option for support for any student. Sometimes we are stretched too thin, but by working with commnity agencies to help provide services, the students, whether they are vets or any other population. Just my two cents worth.

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