General Information about LSS Services
Learning Support Services offers academic support for students with documented disabilities, as well as for those students who are struggling with study skills such as time management, test-taking, test anxiety, reading comprehension and fluency. All of the services we offer are optional to the students, and we have no mandate to force their acceptance of the support.
This one-on-one assistance focuses on time management, study strategies, priority setting, organization, etc. We stress this service to new freshmen, but it is available for all students. Nancy Mott, Lynn Burke, and Nicole Subik provide the coaching in weekly thirty-minute sessions. The number of students involved in coaching varies each semester.
Peer tutors are available through Learning Support Services for some of the freshmen and sophomore level courses. Peer tutoring service is specific to students with disabilities.
Alternate Text Materials
Many students with dyslexia require their texts in audio format. Our resources in obtaining an alternate format are: Learning Ally (formerly RFB&D), Access Text, or obtaining publisher permissions to scan the material purchased by the students. All of these options take a great deal of time, so students need to access their titles well before the start of the term. Requesting new textbooks that are available in an alternate format from the publisher is an ideal approach for students with reading issues.
Learning Style Inventory
Students will often come to LSS with concerns that they have some type of learning disability. Occasionally these visits lead to a suggestion that the student be evaluated; however, evaluations are not done on campus. In the majority of cases the student just needs to learn study strategies that will work for them. We have a brief learning style instrument (45 minutes) that provides a good starting point in determining the best way for the student to read, take notes, study, etc. It is geared to college students and provides some practical, immediate applications.
Occasionally it may be necessary to take an exam in the LSS Office due to schedule conflicts, the need for a reduced-distraction setting, etc. If eligible for extended time and a student has back-to-back classes, the exam will need to be taken at a different time. In most cases, the student will work this out with the professor, with the possibility of taking the exam in their office, department office, another classroom, or in the LSS Office. This is something that needs to be arranged in advance with the professor and with the LSS Office.
In the "Forms" section of this web site, there is an “Exam Proctoring Form”. This form only needs to be completed when taking an exam in the LSS Office. It helps ensure proper administration of the exam according to the requirements of the professor.
**Please note that advance notice is essential so that the student knows if there is proctoring coverage and space at a specified time. This is especially critical during midterms and finals. Our space is limited so students will need to reserve a space early.
Students Eligible for Alternate Text Formats
The Learning Support Services (LSS) Office will work with eligible students in obtaining recorded texts or E-Text for course material. Eligibility is determined by the documentation submitted to the LSS Office and we must verify this documentation with the alternate text provider. If you are not eligible for alternate text formats, as a member of the Villanova community you are eligible to download the Read and Write software program from our website at http://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/learningsupport/readandwrite.html
Our options are the following:
- Learning Ally (formerly Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic - RFB&D)
Learning Ally provides recorded text via download to your computer. The student is required to purchase their own textbook and then request the recorded version to hear while reading the text. Individual memberships are available that will allow the student unlimited access to titles. Learning Ally response time varies with the time of the book order. Usually it takes 2 weeks to receive a requested recording in summer and up to 4 to 6 weeks at peak times.
- Access Text or E-Text from Publisher
LSS will request an E-Text file of your textbook through an organization called Access Text or direct from the publisher. E-Text can be viewed and read aloud on your computer with Read and Write Software that can be downloaded from our website at http://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/learningsupport/readandwrite.html . Response time from Access Text or the publisher varies with time of order, but most publishers’ request 4 to 6 weeks notice. If Access Text has the copy available, the response is much quicker.
- Scanning Text
When books are not available through the publisher, Access Text or Learning Ally, with the necessary publisher permissions, LSS will arrange to have your textbook scanned to a CD with the use of high speed scanning in the Graphic Services Department. This CD could then be heard on your computer with the use of the same software offered for E-Text.
- Student must submit their purchased textbook to LSS along with a copy of the course syllabus.
- Student must sign a scanning agreement allowing Graphic Services to break the binding of the textbook for high speed scanning. Graphic Services will re-bind the textbook with spiral binding.
- The CD will be in PDF format. The student can read it with Adobe Acrobat, which is on all university computers. The student also has the option of using the software provided by LSS that can transfer the PDF into a readable format. This software also features the option of making an audio file/MP3.
**For ALL alternate text arrangements:
- The student must purchase the textbook.
- Requests will be handled in the order they are received. The closer to the beginning of the semester, the longer the wait time. It is best to put in your requests as soon as you register for classes.
- All alternate texts - CD’s, tapes, and files - are to be returned to LSS at the completion of the course.
Students who are not eligible for alternate text formats based on their documentation are still welcome to utilize the software package through LSS that allows the student to receive an auditory format for anything online. This is available at http://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/learningsupport/readandwrite.html
Students Eligible for Recording Lectures
Students with documented auditory processing disabilities and/or those with visual motor difficulties may need to record lectures. This is usually done with a laptop computer or the Livescribe PulsePen ( www.livescribe.com/smartpen/index.html )
Sample Syllabus Statement
The best way to encourage students to discuss disability-related accommodations with you is to include a statement in your course syllabus. Because each disability may require a different approach in providing appropriate academic accommodations, the following is a suggested statement that you could reinforce with an announcement at the start of the semester:
"Students with disabilities who require reasonable academic accommodations should schedule an appointment to discuss specifics with me. It is the policy of Villanova to make reasonable academic accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities. You must present verification and register with the Learning Support Office by contacting 610-519-5176 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or for physical access or temporary disabling conditions, please contact the Office of Disability Services at 610-519-4095 or email Stephen.email@example.com Registration is needed in order to receive accommodations."
An announcement of this type will help preserve the student’s privacy, demonstrate your willingness to provide assistance, and encourage an early identification for accommodations. When a student with a disability does request an accommodation, please feel free to consult with the Office of Learning Support Services for assistance in providing the services.
It may also be helpful to include a syllabus statement announcing that assistance is available to all students at the Learning Support Services Center. Here is an example:
“Learning Support Services (LSS) provides academic support services and workshops for undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education students at Villanova University. Workshops and one-on-one sessions are available in university-relevant skills such as time management, study strategies, academic reading, learning styles, test-taking, and test anxiety. Students of all abilities, including successful students who want to enhance their academic skills and students who are struggling, are welcome to use these services. There is no extra charge for these services and they are open to all registered Villanova students.”
Referring A Student
The Office of Learning Support Services encourages you to refer any student who may be struggling with study skills, time management issues, test-taking skills, reading skills, and test anxiety regardless of whether or not they have documentation. Please complete the Student Referral Form so that we have some background information before we meet with the student. If you have any questions, please contact us at 610-519-5176 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.