accommodations for people with disabilities

Distance Learning at IUBH? Check

If you are looking for a degree programme that needs to meet specific requirement and has as few face-to-face lectures as possible, it is not very easy to find the right university. Christian, from Innviertel in Upper Austria, decided to do online studies at IUBH and has no regrets.

 

Christian was already interested in software development at school and wanted to study computer science. However, with Asperger’s Syndrome, being around a lot people he does not know is very stressful for him. His decision to opt for the distance learning model was therefore obvious: to save both time and nerves, ideally, there would be no face-to-face lectures. In addition, to compensate for his dyslexia, Christian is entitled to a time extension when writing exams. With these concerns and other points on his checklist, he set out to find the right university.

Legal obligation to make accommodations for people with disabilities

Christian could check off the “disadvantage compensation” quickly. Every university is legally required to provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities to ensure equal rights between people with and without disability. This obligation is anchored, for example, in Article 3 and 20 of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany, Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and in the German Higher Education Framework Act. The goal is to ensure, especially in examination situations, that students with a health impairment have equal educational opportunities. On a case-by-case basis, necessary and appropriate modifications and adjustments are provided to meet the individual’s requirements.

IUBH met all the requirements

Christian had more difficulty with other points on his list. In his home country of Austria, he did not find a university that met his expectations. Most of them had too many on-site events and were very far from his hometown. “Consequently, I expanded my search to Germany and quickly found IUBH, which – to my delight – met all the requirements on my list” says the 21 year old. He decided to attend an Open Campus Day at IUBH in Bad Reichenhall to get first-hand impressions. “It quickly became clear to me that I had found the right university.”

Getting started on the degree programme was quick and uncomplicated. His application for disadvantage compensation for his dyslexia and the corresponding time extension for writing exams was promptly approved. Shortly thereafter, he started his business informatics degree programme.

Disadvantage compensation is “usually no problem”

“If a claim for disadvantage compensation is submitted to the examination board and proof of the long term impairment of the student is submitted, it is usually no problem”, says Dominik Zellner, head of the examination office at IUBH University of Applied Sciences. The examination committee reviews the application. If there is a legitimate claim, it will be approved. Other possible forms of accommodation, aside from extended time for writing exams, are approval or provision of necessary resources or tools. This could be, for example, provision of a braille keyboard for a visually impaired person, or the option to take an exam in a separate room. The latter, however, is not necessary at IUBH. “Online exams make our distance learning programmes even more flexible. It is possible for students with disabilities to take exams in the familiar and barrier-free environment of their own home”, continues Zellner.

Online exams as a big plus

For Christian, online exams are a big plus. A familiar and quiet environment is essential for him to be able to focus on an exam. It is a huge advantage that he can take exams at any time of day or night in his own home. He is also in general enthusiastic about the distance learning programme at IUBH. “I usually use the lecture notes to study. The recorded online tutorials are also helpful so I can learn at my own pace and simultaneously benefit from the tutors’ tips. I can manage my own time and study wherever I want because I always have all my lecture notes on my cell phone.”

Master’s degree? Maybe

And what are his plans for the future? “Because it is hard for me to write long texts due to my dyslexia, I am a bit hesitant about doing a master’s degree. I’ll wait until I finish my bachelor’s degree and then decide if I want to continue studying,” explains Christian. In the end, he wants to find a job he enjoys. Preferable in the IT sector and in a place close to where he lives.

 

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