Facts for Faculty
Learning differences occur when a person with average to high intelligence has significant difficulty acquiring certain academic skills in the traditional manner. These students are not lacking motivation or a willingness to work hard, they simply learn in a way that is different than the traditional pedagogy used in the college classroom. In fact, students in higher education with a learning difference frequently must put in many more hours of study and preparation than their peers and may still require additional time, use of specific technology or other reasonable accommodations in order to level the academic playing field.
A reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a course, program, service, activity or facility that enables a qualified student with a disability to have an equal opportunity to attain the same level of performance or to enjoy equal benefit and privilege as are available to a similarly-situated student without the disability. A reasonable accommodation does not include fundamentally altering the nature of an instructional program and is always provided on an individualized basis.
You will be notified by the Academic and Disability Services Coordinator if a student in your class receives specific accommodations and can feel free to direct any questions to the Academic and Disability Services Office.
Faculty members play an integral role in supporting our students with learning and physical challenges. If a student in your class is struggling and you suspect he or she may have a learning difference or other learning-related challenge, please feel free to make referrals to the Academic and Disability Services Coordinator, Jennifer Nicodem (x5941). The ADS Office is located within the Student Development Office in the SSB Suite 218.
Thanks for your willingness to support all students!
Classroom Tips for Faculty
Here are 9 tips for classroom instruction that are helpful for students with learning differences but benefit ALL students:
- Clearly spell out course expectations with a detailed syllabus presented in a timely manner
- Use a variety of methods to allow students to demonstrate what they have learned (i.e. papers, presentations, experiential learning in addition to tests and quizzes)
- Start each lecture with an outline of material to be covered and brief summary of key points
- Present new or technical vocabulary in overhead or hand-out form. Use terms in context to convey meaning
- Announce reading assignments well in advance. Students needing material in a digital format require a substantial amount of lead time.
- Use a variety of instructional methods (lecture, discussion, active learning techniques).
- Provide study questions for exams that demonstrate format as well as content. Explain what constitutes a good answer and why.
- Provide adequate opportunities for questions and answers. Try to create a classroom environment where asking questions is encouraged.
- Encourage students to use campus support services