A recent conference hosted by AHEAD got me thinking about my education, and learning situations where tuition support might have helped.
By far the most challenging of my three third-level courses was the IT conversion course. These courses are known for their accelerated pace.
That wasn’t the problem, however. Computer-based classroom practicals were the glaring issue. In this teaching environment, a large monitor is used with an overhead projector while the tutor explains the material.
Students then get 5 to 10 minutes on average to investigate, implement or practice the new concept at their own computers. When actively learning in classroom practicals, students with hearing issues find it very difficult to simultaneously look at a tutor and at a computer screen to do tasks.
It’s like not being able to take notes while lip-reading a tutor or watching an ISL interpreter. Full attention has to go to the source of information.
Effectively, my IT course would have been abandoned if classmates hadn’t supplied the details that I missed in practicals. A few also gave the odd five minutes’ coaching at breaks. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have passed the course.
Tuition support is now available for deaf students in third-level education.
On paper, IT makes a great career choice for students with hearing issues. Colleagues can be contacted by email, webtext, Skype, video relay or chat, regardless of a person’s location, time zone or communication method.
Bottom line: course providers need to make content accessible to attendees with hearing issues, as IT training is a key part of career development.
Employers sending deaf employees on computer training courses also need to be aware of accessibility issues to get the best return on their investment.