College, Disabilities, and Success

#76 Building a College Schedule That Works!

August 10, 2022 Mickie Hayes Season 2 Episode 76
College, Disabilities, and Success
#76 Building a College Schedule That Works!
Show Notes Transcript

Heading to college for the first time is daunting, and creating your schedule for the first time is even more challenging.  What classes do you need?  Which ones should you take now? Are you working around family needs or job schedules?  Online or on campus?  Early morning or evening classes?  Breaks or no breaks?   Math now or math later?  Prerequisite or Co-requisite classes?  What is an academic plan and do you need one, and why are advisors so important? Today we address those scheduling questions and what you need to know to make those schedules work for you.  You will also look more closely at the relationship between online and on-campus classes for students with disabilities and learn the advantages and disadvantages of each type of class.  You will also hear about the specific advantages of online classes for students with disabilities as shared by Karen Powell Sears in her article "5 Ways Online Learning Benefited Some Students."

5 Ways Online Learning Benefited Some Students

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College & Disabilities: 9 Changes from High School Every Parent Should Know

College & Disabilities & Success – Introduction and Overview of the Course (8 min)
Chapter 1 What’s Different Between High School and College? (15 min)
Chapter 2 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (17 min)
Chapter 3 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (12 min)
Chapter 4 Financial Aid (FAFSA) (11 min)
Chapter 5 Meeting the Disability Specialist (19 min)
Chapter 6 Documentation and Accommodations (39 min)
Chapter 7 Faculty Perspective (24 min)
Chapter 8 Online Classes (30 min)
Chapter 9 Self-Advocacy (29 min)
Course Review

Mickie  0:00  
It would always surprise me at college when a student came up to the office and talked about scheduling classes and told me that they had taken everything they needed to take except math. And now they had to take math. So what should they do? And I was rather mystified that they got to that point in college without even taking a math class. How did they manage to do that? Well, they probably built their schedule without the advice of an advisor or a counselor, or they didn't follow the academic plan that was in place from their advisor. So do you have a child right now that's trying to figure out the schedule they need to build for the fall? Has your child talk to an advisor at college about the classes they need to take? Does your child have a decent academic plan in place that will lead to a successful completion of their degree? And what kind of classes should your child take? Or should you take should you take online classes or in person classes and what will help you to be a successful student? So today, we're going to take a look at some of those questions, and some of those situations and what your best possible options are for building a schedule that works. So welcome to College Disabilities, and Success. Episode 76. "Building a College Schedule that Works" with Mickie Hayes. The opinions in this podcast are my own, please reach out to your college physician or legal services for additional information.

 Now, the first thing I want you to realize is that students with disabilities cannot get or arrange any accommodations, until they have a schedule in place, Disability Services Office is going to want to take a look at the schedule, figure out which classes need accommodations, which accommodations will work best in your child's situation, and then they'll build the accommodation memo that your child will eventually take to the professor. And that's how the accommodation process works. In almost every single situation, chances are disability services office staff will not build your child's schedule for him or her. So if you thought all along that disability services was going to choose their classes, you need to rethink that plan. So choosing those classes and building that schedule becomes a very important step in the process. And I always always, always recommend that your child speaks to an advisor to help guide them through that process, especially if they're new to college or first generation in college or have no other means of figuring out what to do best and what to do first. Now advisors will create an academic plan. The academic plan is always based on the major that your child chooses for their degree path. And the academic plan basically frames out your years on campus. And it's based on the courses that are available at the time. So if you are at a junior college, your academic plan is going to be a two year plan that will put you on target for graduation correctly. If you're at a four year university, or college is going to be the same thing. But it'll be four years. And I literally on more than one occasion did have students who showed up at my office with nothing left to take but math, and they were in a panic because that was their hardest subject and their biggest challenge. And it was impacted the most by their disability. And so they put it off for the end. And that is definitely not a good idea. Now there's a few things to think about. It's like building a puzzle and putting the pieces together. Do you want morning, afternoon or evening classes? Do you want online classes?

Mickie  3:50  
Or on campus classes? Do you want breaks in between your classes are no breaks in between your classes? Are you working around a family schedule? Or a work schedule? Do you have classes that you need to take in isolation? Do you have classes that might be easier to take in summer school? Do you have classes that you might want to get a course substitution for lots of questions to think about when you're building that schedule? Now I personally always preferred a little break in my classes. I like time to step away from the class I just finished take a few minutes to think about it, maybe refresh my notes, look at some other material. Prepare for my next class. I liked that little break in between some people like that a lot. And other people know they just want to go in out and done and then they deal with all of the other things when they get home or when they get time later. Now sometimes the offerings that are available to you will dictate whether or not you are taking an online class or an on campus class or whether or not you're taking a night class or a daytime 8am class sometimes those are the only things that are available or are the only things left open when you get to make your schedule, because everybody else grabbed what they wanted first. So you might need priority registration. And that's a conversation to have with Disability Services at that initial meeting so that they can set that up for you, you have to have some flexibility in your plan. Now your child may also find that they have to take prerequisite courses. In other words, courses that they must take first before they can take a follow up second or third course. And that is built into the college system. So they're going to be stopped on the computer. If they try to register for something that needs a prerequisite that they haven't taken yet. There are also courses that have co requisites and a co requisite might be something like a biology lecture class, and then a biology lab class. And often they want you to take them both in the same semester. They aren't necessarily at the same time and the same days, but they're going to be in the same semester. So these are things that you have to look out for when you're building a schedule. So there is a complexity to the process. And that's why first year students or new college students really should see an advisor to make sure that they don't get tripped up somewhere along the way. Now, every college is going to build in a drop Add Schedule. And it's usually the first week of classes, some colleges, if you don't show up to that first day of class, you are automatically dropped. Some colleges don't care if you show up the first day. But if you are automatically dropped from a class, then you have to go back in and scramble to find another version of that same class you were dropped from. And that's not always easy. So watch out for first day of classes, make sure your student your child is there. But also be aware of that drop add period, because that is the only time once classes start where you can make changes to your schedule that you're not going to be penalized for. Listen to that, again, once classes start during that drop add period, which is usually only a week, that is the only time you can go in and make changes to your schedule that you will probably not be penalized for if you drop a class after the drop Ed date, there's a really good chance you're going to end up having to pay that tuition money back to whoever provided the grant. If it's a Pell Grant, it's going to have to go back to financial aid in some way, shape or form. So be aware of the deadlines that are on the campus calendar. I cannot say that enough. I have had students go in and drop classes outside of that drop out date, the system, let them drop, but they ended up having to pay back 1000s of dollars before they could ever take another class again. And that's not a situation. You want to find yourself in where you want to find your child in. So one of the questions I asked was, do you want to take an online class or an on campus class. And in some cases, it's not a choice, you have to take what's available, but in some cases, it is your choice. I want to share an article with you that will kind of help sort through some of the thought processes there. The article is called Five ways online learning benefited some students by Karen Powell Sears, and it was written July 14 2022. So it's a very recent article from Inside Higher The link to this article will be in the show notes, so you can access it and read further details. But they state five ways online learning can help one number one remote classes allowed students with disabilities both documented and undocumented to be accommodated in ways that the physical classroom never allowed. And I think it's interesting the words documented and undocumented because we all know some students with disabilities, especially learning disabilities haven't had an updated psychological evaluation. And so their accommodations will likely be limited. Or some students with a disability simply do not want to self identified with disability services because they don't want people to know it even exists. An example of an unrequested accommodation in an online class would be something like note takers, or assistive technology for hearing impaired students because if you have a zoom recording in the class, Zoom offers a transcript and so their transcription accommodation is there for anybody who wants it regardless of disability or not. And that helps everybody. The second point they make is that virtual learning brought everyone to the front of the class placing students On a more equal footing, and I know this from being a college professor, there are some students who love to hang out against the back wall and in the back corners. And historically, those students almost always had poor results in their grades, because they just weren't focused on the material that the instructor or the professor was sharing. But online, everybody's sitting in front, so there's no hanging back and doing nothing. The article also points out that at the end of a zoom class, because of the chat feature, and because of the transcript feature, the instructor is going to know who participated and who didn't. And so they don't have to rely on their memory about participation in class. So if you want to be a star in the class, you can participate online more easily. Number three, the online classes made our bodies and the reaction to our bodies less obvious and impactful. And here they're talking about students with physical disabilities, students who might be overweight and struggling there, or students who are gender transitioning, there's all kinds of situations where the physical nature of people can sometimes become an uncomfortable situation for the student. Number four, the remote classes felt more inclusive differences such as race, disability, international students, these issues fade into the background barriers breaking off into groups become less of a problem in an electronic classroom, because there's less friends with friends situation, or groups of friends and people who seem separated or isolated out from the group. So it really helps students with different backgrounds and different situations work together. And the fifth reason online classes may be better is that students had more control over their health in the learning environment. And they talked about students with colitis, who didn't eat before classes because of fear that it would trigger their colitis, or students who have anxiety and really didn't have the opportunity to meditate or regroup their thoughts and control their anxiety before they got to class. And so it just exacerbated it. I also had students who had PTSD and certain things sometimes in certain classes triggered it for no apparent reason. They didn't know why, but that triggered it. And so an online class would avoid that problem. Now, Online classes are not for everyone. And sometimes online classes are not available. One of the problems that I've noticed historically is that when students took online classes, they oftentimes had to struggle to get the extra time for their tests. Sometimes the professors thought they would use the extra time to cheat and others just didn't understand that they could actually provide extra time through the technology that they were using the so that was always the most common complaint that I had with regards to online classes from students with disabilities. But online classes also eliminate a lot of the social advantages of college. And that's another point to consider. The friendships and relationships that students build when they are on a college campus are often so critical to building a solid, inclusive future. And so in class presents for students with disabilities is important from that respect. It also allows networking opportunities that students with disabilities don't often get in an online class. They not only make friends but they learn possible business associates and employment opportunities when they're taking an in person class in person classes also give the students so much more time to have one on one conversations with their professors. So there are advantages to in person classes, as well as advantages to online classes. So the point of all this is when you or your child have that option, what option is best for that individual person. Now let's take a minute to go back to those original students who came to my office with nothing left to take for graduation except math. Let's talk about that for just a few minutes before we close if you or your child has a math disability issue, please and I cannot stress this enough. Please go back to my podcasts with Dr. Pol. Nolting in Episode 59 how disability affects math learning with Dr. Paul Nolting in Episode 57 math differences from high school to college strategies for preparation with Dr. Paul Nolting. You will gain so much insight into math disabilities in college. It's incredible. These two episodes will be worth your time to revisit. He talks about course substitutions for math and what is required to even substitute that math for something else. If math is your disability. He goes into the process CES of doing that, and what's important for you to know, he also talks about the differences between high school math and college math and why some students get to college and fall apart in math when they were really successful in their high school math very, very interesting conversation about the strategies that students can use to improve their math skills. So I can't encourage you enough. If you're struggling with math, and you're delaying scheduling those math courses to go back and listen to those two episodes. If you want to get on my mailing list and make sure that you get every podcast episode directly sent to your email address in your inbox, please go onto my website, Mickey The link will be in the show notes and just sign up for any of the resources that I have there. I have insights from a disability specialist with questions you should be able to ask disability services before you even start this process. I have a place for you to offer your podcast suggestions to me, I'm always interested in hearing what you have in mind for a topic, you can also just send me an email at Mickie And I will make sure that you start getting the podcasts regularly as soon as they're released. So please go to one of those resources on Mickie And when you request one of the resources, I will be able then to send you the podcasts every week in your email about a half hour after their live. Thank you for joining me today.

Mickie  16:34  
I hope you have a great rest of the day and we'll talk again soon by information contained throughout this podcast has been gleaned from my own personal experiences, but to ensure accuracy, please contact the Disability Services at the college of your choice to have firsthand information and the most up to date policies and procedures followed for your particular institution of higher education. The content in any of these podcasts is not intended as a substitute for information from legal, educational or medical professionals. Always seek the advice of your attorney or qualified health care provider with any questions you may have with regards to illegal educational or medical concerns.

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