Now more than ever, people with learning and visual disabilities are flourishing in the classroom, launching productive careers and becoming assets in their communities. This blog spotlights remarkable individuals who demonstrate that having a visual or print disability is no barrier to educational success.
September 29, 2020 by Katie Ottaggio
By: Katie Ottaggio, CSP Engagement Operations Manager
Each month the College Success Program hosts a webinar with topics of interest to students who are blind or have low vision. This fall, we are taking on the ways in which COVID-19 has altered the landscape for students in all facets of life: academic, personal and professional. This month, CSP mentor Glenn Dausch talked with two of our other mentors, Tabitha Brecke and Preston Radtke, about navigating the academic landscape.
In case you missed it, here are the top takeaways from this informative webinar. You can also view this webinar in its entirety by clicking here.
General tips for academic success
Categories: Blind or Visually Impaired
September 23, 2020 by Katie Ottaggio
By: Jonathan Zobek, CSP Intern, Summer 2020
An important part of college is interacting with professors. Their knowledge, after all, is what college is all about. There can be many benefits to reaching out to your professors, such as a strong professional or personal connection, academic or career development opportunities that extend beyond your college years, and discovering that you love a new subject area. The possibilities are endless. These relationships can form in many ways, whether visiting during their office hours, talking after class, or just raising your hand and participating during class. A lot can take place during in-class discussion! Some professors even sponsor small group discussions about their subject.
Professionally, a professor could be a great career connection, and a letter of recommendation with their name on it could go a long way. Additionally, a professor can help you dive deeper into your subject area and develop your interests. It took years of research and writing for professors to obtain their positions, and they are certainly willing to help the next generation of interested scholars. For example, when I showed interest by going to office hours, a professor in a research methods class was willing to work closely with me to ensure that I found the best research for my proposal. While this professor helped everyone during class, showing interest and putting forth extra effort to attend office hours went a long way.
Additionally, more personal connections can form. Even though professors have advanced degrees, and may be intimidating, they are people who may have similar interests or backgrounds as you. For example, I was able to connect with my Interpersonal Communication professor personally based on a discussion in class about regional differences in communication. As an example, he used New Jersey, the state where my college is located and where most students are from. I found out that this professor grew up in the town right next to mine. This was especially surprising because not many people have heard of my hometown, which is about two square miles. We were both familiar with the area, and this commonality fostered a deeper connection beyond the fact that I was studying the same subject that he taught.
Moreover, meeting with professors can allow you to discover a subject area that you did not know about previously. For example, during my freshman year, I took the introductory Communication Studies course. I frequently attended office hours with the professor who taught the class, and she explained a lot about the area of Communication Studies. She explained what further coursework would consist of, the versatility of a Communication Studies degree, and how many applications it has in the real world. This sparked my interest in the field, and I soon switched majors to Communication Studies.
Going the extra mile and showing interest can also lead to professional and academic opportunities. An example from my own life took place while I was taking an Intro to Media Communication class. The professor who taught it was the director of my college's Office of Instructional Design, and who holds training sessions for the integration of technology in course curricula. After working closely with this professor to ensure accessibility in the classroom, she said she saw a call for a journalistic article about accessibility in the classroom, and she asked if I was interested in co-writing it with her. I gladly accepted, and we wrote the article during the summer, and submitted it for a poster session at an academic conference in Seattle, Washington. Later, the paper was accepted for the conference. Even though the conference itself was cancelled due to COVID-19, we presented the article to students in a Special Education class at my college. Although on a smaller scale, it was still a great way to present the article since we could not do it at the conference.
Overall, there are many benefits to connecting with professors during college. It can lead to long-lasting professional, and possibly even personal, connections. These can later be used for LinkedIn connections, and even letters of recommendation for graduate school or other pursuits later in life. It can also lead to more unexpected opportunities that will allow you to grow professionally and academically. While letters of recommendation and other benefits should not be the only reason for connecting with professors, a little extra effort does go a long way.
Jonathan Zobek graduated from The College of New Jersey with his degree in Communication Studies. He served as an intern for the College Success Program in the summer of 2020.
September 21, 2020 by Jhara Navalo
Earlier this year we met with Pamela Taylor, Lexiability founder to discuss why she believes audiobooks and Learning Ally Audiobook Solution can truly help transform the lives of struggling readers. Pamela Taylor is a Certified Dyslexia practitioner, certified Orton Gillingham teacher, Certified Masters Barton tutor, and with over 100 student referrals a Learning Ally Reading Champion. We are so grateful for her investments of time, talent, and treasure to moving forward the Dyslexia Awareness movement.
We asked Pamela a series of questions that relate to the importance of providing struggling readers with the right accommodations to ensure their academic success. Here you can find her responses by topic in audio format.
LEARNING ALLY is a leading education solutions organization dedicated to transforming the lives of struggling learners. The Learning Ally Audiobook Solution is a proven multi-sensory reading accommodation for students with a reading deficit composed of high quality, human-read audiobooks, student-centric features and a suite of teacher resources to monitor and support student success. Used in more than 18,000 schools, empowering over 425,000 struggling readers annually, this essential solution bridges the gap between a student’s reading ability and their cognitive capability, empowering them to become engaged learners and reach their academic potential.
Learn More About Becoming a Learning Ally Member
Categories: Assistive Technology, Learning Disabilities, Learning Disability, Parenting, Reading Champions
September 21, 2020 by Katie Ottaggio
Throughout the summer of 2020, the Learning Ally College Success Program conducted free workshops where students participated in fun and engaging virtual environments with their peers, while learning new skills or expanding on existing ones. These workshops, run by CSP mentors and held weekly over the course of 6-8 weeks, included Creative Writing, Coding, Wellness & Mindfulness, a Book Club, and a Virtual Choir.
Five students and five mentors from the Virtual Choir worked hard over the summer, collaborating and combining their voices virtually, and the results of their hard work have paid off in this amazing version of "Lean On Me". The CSP is excited and proud of this accomplishment by our students and mentors.
We hope you enjoy the CSP Summer Workshop Virtual Choir's rendition of "Lean On Me"! You can access the recording here - https://youtu.be/vshpGyFKAlk - or by visiting the CSP YouTube channel.
You can follow the College Success Program on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter!
September 17, 2020 by Jhara Navalo
We know this year has presented its challenges and our children are truly feeling the brunt of this pandemic especially as it relates to the new school year. As a way to show their support, our volunteers recorded a few inspirational messages to let your child know they are not alone.
Please take a moment out of your busy day to curl up with your child and enjoy a few words of affirmation from our volunteer narrators.
LEARNING ALLY is a leading education solutions organization dedicated to transforming the lives of struggling learners. The Learning Ally Audiobook Solution is a proven multi-sensory reading accommodation for students with a reading deficit composed of high quality, human-read audiobooks, student-centric features and a suite of teacher resources to monitor and support student success. Used in more than 17,500 schools, empowering over 375,000 struggling readers annually, this essential solution bridges the gap between a student’s reading ability and their cognitive capability, empowering them to become engaged learners and reach their academic potential.
Categories: Parenting, Volunteerism