January 12, 2018

Online Learning Consortium Recognizes SUNY Empire Team for Early Intervention with Sensory Impaired Students

“Facilitating Student Success via Emergency Accessibility” an Effective Practices in Digital Education

Standing left to right are Allison Moreland, Nathan Whitley-Grassi, Antonia Jokelova, Andrea Piazza-Victor and Educational Technologist Shaun Hoppel. Seated left to right are Jennifer Nettleton and Christine Paige.
Standing left to right are Allison Moreland, Nathan Whitley-Grassi, Antonia Jokelova, Andrea Piazza-Victor and Educational Technologist Shaun Hoppel. Seated left to right are Jennifer Nettleton and Christine Paige.

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Jan. 16, 2018) The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) has recognized a cross-functional team at SUNY Empire State College with its Effective Practice Award, Recognizing Effective Practices in Digital Education for the college’s process of “Facilitating Student Success via Emergency Accessibility.”

Facilitating student success via emergency accessibility describes the college’s Emergency Accessibility Review process of ensuring that all students have equal access to course materials so that they are able to share what they know and demonstrate what they have learned.

Reviewing courses for accessibility, a process first put in place in January 2014, is an ongoing process among the college’s professional staff – instructional designers and education technologists – and the teaching faculty, as the faculty consistently update and enhance their curriculum.

The emergency process starts as students who need accommodations enroll in courses with the college’s Accessibility Resources and Services (ARS) office.

Courses are then reviewed to determine what adjustments, modifications and additions, if any, are needed for the student with disabilities to access the course and all associated materials.

Enhancements needed to achieve accessibility are made by the faculty in collaboration with the professional staff.

All of the college’s instructional designers, educational technologists and accessibility resources and services staff are recognized as members of the cross-functional team engaging in this effective practice.

Team leads of the proposal to OLC are Christine Paige, interim assistant dean for Academic and Instructional Services and Nathan Whitley-Grassi, assistant director for Educational Technologies.

Cross functional team members are Educational Technologists Jennifer Nettleton and Shaun Hoppel, Educational Technologist and Project Coordinator Allison Moreland, Coordinator of Curriculum and Instructional Design Antonia Jokelova and Disability Specialist Andrea Piazza-Victor.

“Congratulations to members of the team, and all of the professionals who support students and faculty throughout the state, for earning such a prestigious national award,” said David Bejou, the college’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Support and collaboration among college faculty and professional staff, ensures faculty are able to provide academic excellence through a high-quality and equal experience for all students.”

Materials for all of the college’s modes of learning, including online and face-to-face courses, study groups and residencies, are included in the college’s overall review for accessibility and, when a student with a disability or disabilities enrolls in any course or participates in various modes of study, the college implements its Emergency Accessibility Review process.

About OLC

A leading national organization promoting quality in online learning, OLC describes itself as “a collaborative community of higher education leaders and innovators, dedicated to advancing quality digital teaching and learning experiences designed to reach and engage the modern learner – anyone, anywhere, anytime.”

About SUNY Empire State College

Empire State College, the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system, educates nearly 19,000 students worldwide at eight international sites, 34 locations across the state of New York, online, as well as face to face and through a blend of both, at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s levels.

The average age of an undergraduate student at the college is 35 and graduate students’ average age is 40.

Most Empire State College students are working adults. Many are raising families and meeting civic commitments in the communities where they live, while studying part time.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each undergraduate student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career.

Working with their mentors, students design an individual degree program and engage in guided independent study and coursework on site, online or through a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to choose where, when and how to learn.

Students have the opportunity to enroll five times during the year.

The college’s 78,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

The college was first established in 1971 by the SUNY Board of Trustees with the encouragement of the late Ernest L. Boyer, chancellor of the SUNY system from 1970 to 1977. Boyer also served as United States commissioner of education during the administration of President Jimmy Carter and then as president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

More information about the college is available at www.esc.edu