As we get nearer to the start of this new Academic year and the return to University comes closer. It will be a very different experience for both existing and new students. This article will take you through the 3 Main Questions from a Deaf University Applicant.
What will happen this Academic year due to the Pandemic?
This is no doubt a question that all applicants are having as they enter into University life this year. What is going to happen?
Deaf students have historically found it difficult to form relationships with peers, even when studies are face to face. The fact that the face to face elements of most courses will either be non-existent or dramatically reduced, this will no doubt build further anxiety. Check out our post here about Deaf Students concerns over face coverings.
There will also be questions about whether courses will be delivered online for the foreseeable and how this will affect access to the curriculum. Deaf students would previously have the ability to access their lecturer at the start and end of lectures, to clarify any language or context they may have missed. This option is removed with online learning.
What support is available to deaf University applicants?
Nearly half of deaf students who needed support at University are still waiting when the course begins.
So, the start of this new University life is often very stressful. Deaf students not having access to lectures as the support has yet to be put in place. Or the student does not receive the timetable early, which means that suppliers are unable to find available Support Workers.
This experience casts doubt in deaf students’ minds as to what support there is at University. And also, what the experience will be like moving forward.
What is the University experience like for a deaf person?
The drop-out rate for deaf students at University is TWICE that of the general population.
This is due to students not receiving the support that they need whilst at University. They don’t have the peer relationships that other students have. Our blog posts here explains why deaf students face isolation at university.
So, getting the right support in place early – has a massive impact on the University experience and the likelihood of the deaf student continuing with their studies.
How will all of this work within an online learning environment?
Working in an online environment is challenging already – with the risks of pixilation, screens freezing, and connection issues.
Team this with ensuring that your Support Workers can get access to the call, have information provided before the session starts, and then if the screen freezes with an Interpreter.
The screen freezing is the most common challenge for deaf students, as the lecture carries on, but the deaf person is likely to miss content. The interpreter doesn’t have the time to cover the missed and current content and unlike a live environment, has no ability to ask the lecturer to hold on whilst this content is interpreted.
We hope that these 3 + 1 Questions from a Deaf University Applicant are useful, and helps you to understand more about what is happening for deaf applicants, especially considering all of the uncertainly that lies ahead.