Educational Support

 

Educational Supports are provided by Educational Support Workers ( ESW)

An Educational Support Worker (ESW) provides support to students registered with the DLSS to provide students with the opportunity to fulfil their academic potential.

Examples of Educational Support Worker roles include Academic Personal Assistants, Notetakers, Library/Research Assistants and Irish Sign Language Interpreters.

 

ESWs are only responsible for educational assistance and tasks that arise during college contact hours.

Description:

An Academic Personal Assistant (Academic PA) provides assistance with mobility around the campus, educational or physical tasks (i.e. photocopying, notetaking, carrying personal belongings) and some personal care needs that the student cannot complete independently. 

 

Roles & Responsibilities of the Academic PA

  • The primary responsibility of an Academic PA is to assist with educational support requirements that the student cannot complete independently.
  • Academic PAs may be required to assist with mobility and orientation around the college.
  • Academic PAs may be required to assist with educational tasks, sourcing library books and/or photocopying.
  • Academic PAs may be required to assist with carrying personal belongings, books, folders and materials for the student.
  • If providing notetaking support, Academic PAs must also adhere to the guidelines for Notetakers.
  • Academic PAs should not ‘do the work’ but simply facilitate the student’s ability to participate.  Academic PAs will not assist with, or complete, any of the work associated with the course of study and will not participate in class discussions etc. unless contributing directly on the student’s behalf.

 

Roles & Responsibilities of the Student

  • Student should work with the Academic PA to establish a positive working relationship.
  • Ensure they have contact details for their Academic PA and agree when and where to meet.  Inform the Academic PA, Disability Service or designated provider of any changes to contact details.
  • Inform the Academic PA, Disability Service or designated provider of any changes to requirements.
  • Provide 24 hours’ notice to the Academic PA, Disability Service and designated provider and if unable to attend a session or if there is a change or cancellation to classes. 
  • Attend all classes where the Academic PA is present.
  • Adhere to the guidelines for notetaking support if the Academic PA is also acting as a Notetaker.

Description

Where students are unable to use technology to record their lectures, they may be provided with a Notetaker.

Notetakers record accurate notes, either written or typed, on behalf of the student(s) to whom they have been assigned. These notes are not a full transcript of the class material. 

 

Roles & Responsibilities of the Notetaker

  • A Note taker’s role is to take notes in classes or other relevant academic events. Notetakers do not take a word for word transcription of the class. 
  • Notetaking hours are agreed in advance with the Disability Service at the beginning of each term. Notetakers must attend all agreed classes (lectures, tutorials, labs) and record accurate and detailed notes on the content delivered, including audiovisual material, graphics and diagrams.
  • Notetakers must arrive punctually and be prepared to take notes from the beginning of the class.​​​​​​​
  • An electronic copy of any notes taken should be provided to the student(s) within 24 hours, and also to the Disability Service, clearly indicating the date, time, location of the class, and the module (subject).
  • Written copies of any notes taken should be provided to the student(s) at the end of the class, clearly indicating the date, time, location of the class, and the module (subject).
  • If a Notetaker is unable to attend a class, sufficient notice should be given to the Disability Service so that an alternative Notetaker can be assigned. ​​​​​​​
  • In the event that a student does not require notetaking services for a particular lecture they are required to give 24 hours’ notice. If adequate notice is not given, the Notetaker is entitled to be paid in full for the session.

Roles & Responsibilities of the Student

  • Provide timetables to the Disability Service or designated Notetaking Service as early as possible to allow sufficient time to source Notetakers for required classes. 
  • Delays in providing timetables or in notifying of any course changes may result in delay in the support being provided.
  • Ensure they have contact details for their Notetakers. 
  • Inform the Notetaker and the Disability Service or designated Notetaking Service of any changes to contact details or course schedule.
  • Notetaking services are provided on condition that students attend all classes.  If the student does not attend, the Notetaker will forward the notes to the Disability Service and not the student.  In exceptional circumstances, such as absence from a course due to serious illness, a student may be permitted to receive lecture notes while absent.  This must be pre-approved by the Disability Service.
  • Provide 24 hours’ notice to the Notetaker if unable to attend a session or if there is a change or cancellation to classes.  The Notetaker will be paid for the class unless 24 hours’ notice is provided.
  • Provide feedback to the Notetaker on the style of notes (format and layout of notes, including font size and level of detail) so the notes can be adjusted accordingly.
  • Do not ask the Notetaker to provide extra information, explanation, coaching or tutoring assistance.
  • Must not provide the notes for sale, as a favour or for free to any other person

 

Description:

A Library/Research Assistant may be required by students with sight loss or with a significant physical disability and provides assistance with educational or physical tasks ( i.e. photocopying, notetaking/scribe, locating books in the library) that the student cannot complete independently.

 

Roles & Responsibilities of the Library/Research Assistant

  • The primary responsibility of a Library/Research Assistant is to assist with educational support requirements that the student cannot complete independently.
  • The Library/Research Assistant cannot complete any tasks or work not related to the student's course (e.g. write job applications)
  • Library/Research Assistants may be required to assist with educational tasks, sourcing library books and/or photocopying.
  • If the Library/Research Assistant is required to scribe for the student (i.e. to complete assignments) where Assistive Technology is not possible, they can only do this through direct dictation from the student. This can be completed in person or virtually using Google Docs. The Library/Research Assistant cannot add, edit, or correct any work the student has dictated to them.
  • Library/Research Assistants should not ‘do the work’ but simply facilitate the student’s ability to participate. Library/Research Assistants will not assist with, or complete, any of the work associated with the course of study and will not participate in class discussions etc. unless contributing directly on the student’s behalf.

Roles & Responsibilities of the Student

  • Agree in advance with the DLSS on the hours required for this support.
  • Ensure that the Library/Research Assistant only carries out academic work directly related to their studies.
  • Students should work with the Library/Research Assistant to establish a positive working relationship.
  • Ensure they have contact details for their Library/Research Assistant and agree when and where to meet.  Inform the Library/Research Assistant, DLSS or service provider of any changes to contact details.
  • Inform the Library/Research Assistant, Disability Service or designated provider of any changes to requirements.
  • Provide 24 hours’ notice to the Library/Research Assistant, Disability Service and designated provider if unable to attend a session or if there is a change or cancellation to classes. 

Description:

An Irish Sign Language (ISL) Interpreter facilitates communication between students who are deaf, their peers and college staff.  ISL interpretation provides access to the teaching and learning environment and supports, as much as is possible to enable the student’s full participation in college life. 

Roles & Responsibilities of the ISL Interpreter

  • Introduce themselves to lecturers at the beginning of each term or when there is a new lecturer.  The Disability Service provides guidelines on ISL interpretation but it is sometimes helpful to discuss the role of the Interpreter with the lecturer and any arrangements that need to be made (e.g. seating arrangements, provision of materials, arrangements for facilitating class discussion).
  • Work with the student and lecturer to obtain and study all necessary materials to prepare for interpreting responsibilities.
  • Arrive ten minutes prior to lectures and interpreting assignments.
  • Interpret any spoken, signed and/or audio information in a clear and concise manner, for the benefit of both the student and the staff.
  • Obtain feedback from the student regarding signing style or subject-specific terminology.  Be respectful of a student’s wishes for changes to their interpretation arrangements (e.g. style of signing and where and when interpretation is required).
  • Interpret all that is said within the class including relevant comments.
  • Complete any training deemed necessary such as health and safety training for interpreting in labs where hazardous material may be handled.
  • Maintain confidentiality at all times by treating any information which may arise in the course of an interpreting assignment as privileged information.  Any concerns regarding a student should be brought to the attention of the Disability Service.
  • Contact the student and the agency if unable to attend an assignment.  Sufficient notice should be provided so that cover can be provided.
  • Be discreet, respect the privacy of the student and liaise with the Disability Service regarding any concerns or issues in relation to the student or support service.

 

Roles & Responsibilities of the Student

  • Provide timetables to the Disability Service and designated provider as early as possible to allow sufficient time to source ISL Interpreters for required assignments. 
  • A student may request a particular ISL interpreter but due to timetabling and availability this may not always be possible and another ISL interpreter will be provided.
  • ISL Interpreters should work with the student to establish a positive working relationship.
  • Inform the Disability Service and/or designated provider immediately of any course changes.  Delays in providing timetables and notification of any changes may result in a delay in providing the required support.
  • Ensure they have contact details for their ISL Interpreters and agree when and where to meet.  Inform ISL Interpreters and the Disability Service and/or designated provider of any changes to contact details.
  • Ideally provide one weeks’ notice to the ISL Interpreter, designated provider and the Disability Service if unable to attend a session or if there is a change or cancellation to classes.  Unforeseen absences/cancellations should be reported immediately.
  • Where an ISL Interpreter is required to prepare for an assignment, ensure that they are provided with all required materials at least 48 hours in advance.  It may also be necessary to meet with the Interpreter in advance to prepare for the assignment.
  • Irish Sign Language (ISL) only can be provided. It is not possible to provide other sign language such as British Sign Language or American Sign Language.

Description

SpeedText is a real-time transcription system. It involves using two laptops, one for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing student to read the information that is transcribed on the other laptop by a specially trained operator. SpeedText Operators are also known as palantypist or a stenographer.

 

Roles & Responsibilities of the Speedtext Operator

  • Attend all assigned lectures, tutorials, labs and other academic contact hours, and record all spoken and/or audio information in a clear and concise manner. Hours are agreed in advance in consultation with the Disability Service.
  • Provide the transcription to multiple students where there is more than one student in a lecture, tutorial, lab who are SpeedText users.
  • Attend any specialist training required (e.g. in laboratories where hazardous material may be handled). This training will be provided by the relevant academic department when required.
  • A projector or alternative technology solutions may be used when there are multiple SpeedText users. In this case, the SpeedText agency is responsible for providing appropriate equipment.
  • Endeavour to facilitate any timetable changes if possible. Although timetables are agreed at the beginning of term, they are subject to change at short notice. A period of 24-hour advance notice shall be provided, where possible, if insufficient notice is provided the SpeedText operator will be paid for the scheduled hours.
  • Not offer the transcriptions for sale, favour or free to another person unless authorised to do so by the Disability Service.

 

Roles & Responsibilities of the Student

  • Ensure that they provide their timetable to the SpeedText Operator, SpeedText Agency or Disability Service as required.
  • Ensure they have contact details for their SpeedText Operator and liaise with the SpeedText Operator to agree where and when to meet.
  • Inform the Disability Service, the SpeedText Operator and SpeedText Agency of any changes to contact details and/or course changes.
  • Provide a minimum of 24rs notes if there is a change or cancellation to lectures or tutorials.
  • Negotiate with the SpeedText Operator before lectures about seating arrangements if working from a cable connection.
  • Attend all lectures/tutorials where the SpeedText Operator is in place. If the student does not attend, the SpeedText Operator will forward any work undertaken in the lecture or tutorial to the Disability Service and not the student, unless the student has a pre-approved absence for disability-related reasons.
  • Must not offer the SpeedText Operator’s transcriptions for sale, favour or free to another person unless authorised to do so by the Disability Service.
  • Not ask the SpeedText Operator to include extra information, explanation, coaching or tutoring assistance.

 


The above is adapted from the AHEAD/DAWN "Inclusive Learning and the Provision of Reasonable Accommodations to Students with Disabilities in Higher Education in Ireland":