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How might my disability affect my ability to learn online?

Visual impairments
If you have a documented visual impairment, you are likely aware of what kinds of accessibility issues affect your ability to read or view images online. You may even utilize assistive technology already, such as Jaws, ZoomText, or a CCTV. Online courses sometimes create additional challenges because the technology used on an online course site may not be as accessible to your software as it has been in the past. It is a good idea to test your software with Black Hawk College’s CE8 or CourseCompass tools ahead of time. Also, by registering early, the Disability Services office will have time to assist you in identifying additional accommodation needs that you may have for the particular class you want to take, and work with other support staff to make sure all course materials are accessible to you.

Hearing impairments
If you have a documented hearing impairment, you are likely aware of what kinds of accessibility issues affect your ability to “hear” video or audio files online. Although not all online classes build in video or audio, more and more instructors and publishers are using them to enhance their online courses. Please plan to register early for any online classes that interest you so that the Disability Services office will have time to assist you in identifying additional accommodation needs that you may have for the particular class you want to take, and work with other support staff to make sure captioning or transcripts can be created for any audio or video elements of your class.

Mobility limitations
If you have a documented mobility limitation, you are likely aware of what kinds of accessibility issues affect your ability to click on specific areas of a computer screen or type into a computer. You may even utilize assistive technology already, such as Naturally Speaking  or Kurzweil for managing your current course work. Please plan to register early for any online classes that interest you so that the Disability Services office will have time to assist you in testing your software tools and identifying any additional accommodation needs that you may have for the particular class you want to take. This also allows time for them to work with other support staff or faculty to make the course accessible to you.

Learning disabilities and/or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD or ADHD)
If you have a documented learning disability, you are likely aware of what kinds of accessibility issues you have when reading and writing on the computer. For example, do you have difficulty comprehending written instructions, putting your thoughts into writing, managing the navigation of complex Web sites, multi-tasking necessary for the synthesis of information across several websites, maintaining attention to the screen for extended periods, or dealing with environmental triggers prompted by characteristics of certain Web sites? Please plan to register early for any online classes that interest you so that the Disability Services office will have time to assist you in identifying any potential accommodation needs that you may have for the particular class you want to take and make arrangements with the faculty or other support staff, as needed.

Psychological disabilities
If you have a documented psychological disability, you are likely aware of what kinds of issues may affect your ability to be successful when learning on the computer. For example, do you have difficulty remembering what you read, dealing with environmental or emotional triggers on certain Web sites or reacting to online communications (e.g., texting, email)? Please plan to register early for any online classes that interest you so that the Disability Services office will have time to assist you in identifying any potential accommodation needs that you may have for the particular class you want to take.

Systemic health conditions
If you have a documented systemic health condition, such as Chrone’s disease, kidney disease, or other chronic condition, you are likely aware of what kinds of issues may affect your ability to be successful when taking an online class. For example, do you sometimes have episodes when you are unable to function for several days at a time? Please plan to register early for any online classes that interest you so that the Disability Services office will have time to assist you in identifying any potential accommodation needs that you may have.

Posted in: Online Learning with a Disability