2000 Conference Proceedings

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Wanda Harris
Oakland Community College
Southfield, MI
Phone: (248)552-2681
Fax: (248)552-2649

As a service provider for students with disabilities for the largest community college in the State of Michigan, making computing information accessible to a diverse student population is challenging. We have a multi-campus system. There is a service provider on all five campuses. Together, we serve over 2000 students, of which more than 500 have a documented disability.

In my presentation, I would like to discuss the assistive technology implementation plan. It was developed for the purpose of providing students with disabilities equal access to information technology throughout the college. This plan will foster an independent learning environment and will allow the student with a disability to participate in teaching and learning activities as well as to perform their assignments independently.

The institutional climate was idealistic for this type of commitment for the following reasons:

The college is going to a uniform operating system (Windows NT) and there is assistive technology available that works well with Windows NT. The college is replacing all computers that are below a Pentium II and most assistive technology needs the higher system requirements. There is funding available for technology projects. There is a committee established and guidelines to determine which projects will be funded. However, the assistive technology plan will not be limited to the same guidelines as other projects. The assistive technology plan will fall under the direction of the Vice Chancellor’s office as an ADA compliance issue.

There is a Teaching Learning Technology Roundtable (TLTR) that meets monthly for the purpose of coordinating and stimulating the use of information technology to improve teaching and learning. There are action teams developed to address specific area of technology. There is an action team called Assistive Technology. This action team was very instrumental in obtaining the information needed to develop the plan. The college implemented a new e-mail and Accounting system. In the near future there will be a new student information system that is easily accessible. There is a new training center call Professional Development Training Center (PDTC) that provides training to all staff on technology. This will include assistive technology.

The plan focused on the following benefits the college would achieve by using assistive technology to accommodate students with disabilities:

Gives equal access to computer technology used in teaching and learning in accordance with ADA laws.
Promotes academic success by making college resources accessible.
Fosters an independent learning environment.
Meets technology and educational needs simultaneously
Creates more career options
Access to Distance Learning, i.e. Internet and On-Line Instruction
Provides skills and resources to compete in the job market.

In order to provide an effective assistive technology plan, the following is needed:

Assessment of the needs for assistive technology. Conducted a college- wide survey with the assistant of the Assistive technology action team. SEE EXHIBIT A (below): ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY NEEDS SURVEY

Obtain product and vendor information to meet the assistive technology need of the college.


The plan was accepted by the Vice Chancellor and the implementation process began. Presentations were conducted throughout the college for the purpose of reviewing the assistive technology plan and to gain the support of the faculty and staff. In addition, this would provide a pro-active approach in addressing staff concerns prior to implementation of the plan.

I presented the plan at a TLTR monthly meeting, Academic Senate, Deans/Dept. Chair meetings, etc. Additional computer purchases needed to meet the goal will be identified at the meetings. Also, location of the assistive technology will be determined in order to support instruction, yet accommodate the student with a disability.

All employees are required to participate in specific number of training hours offered by Professional Development Training Center (PDTC). Training for the assistive technology will be offer through the center so that it would meet the need for training faculty and staff as well as meet their training hours obligation.

Two local companies were identified to provide training. The Office of Disabilities will train their staff to work with the students with disabilities to help them learn how to use the assistive technology independently. However, the consultants from these companies will assist students with disabilities individually in cases where the person has multiple or a severe disability. In addition, they will provide all technical support and repairs, as needed.


Q. What types of disabilities exist among the student population at OCC?

Q. What courses and disciplines are using computing as part of the regular coursework?

Q. What computing lab services exist?

Q. Does the assistive technologies work well with the Internet?

Q. What instructional software is being used? Can the assistive technology support this software?

Q. What operating system(s) is used by the college to provide computing services?

Q.What assistive technology can be used to allow the student with disabilities to participate more independently and help in achieving academic success?

Q. How can assistive technology be used in the most cost effective manner, yet meet the needs of majority of students with disability?

Q. How much training does the student need to use assistive technology to access computing services independently?

Q. Who will provide the training?

Q. Who will provide the technical support?

Q. What is the plan for assessment and outcomes evaluation?

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