Computer science program gears to people with disabilities

The Sage Colleges and Excelsior College in Albany, New York are launching a first-of-its-kind online bachelor of arts program, with an emphasis in computer science, in January for people with autism spectrum disorders and people with similar disabilities.

A photograph of a laptop computer
Online Computer Science Program

Students enrolled in the program, called the Achieve Degree, will be required to complete requirements similar to a regular degree, but the program will offer smaller classes and additional individualized support. Classes will be offered in a variety of formats, including video, audio and text, to accommodate the individual students.

“By allowing students to focus on one or two topics per term, faculty and mentors are able to work closely with students to provide the sorts of feedback and interaction that facilitate learning,” said Sage Colleges Provost Terry Weiner in an article in Disability Scoop. “Further, by eliminating long periods of inactivity such as summer break, students are able to stay focused in ‘study mode’ and not risk losing valuable intellectual connections and study skills that must then be regained, slowing forward momentum toward the degree.”

The year-round course will include six eight-week terms. Tuition will run at $27,000 for the first year and increase for the three subsequent years.

“We understand there are many ways to learn, and that the path to learning is not always linear,” said Sage Colleges President Susan Scrimshaw in an article in the Albany Time Union. “The program “asks ‘what do you need?’ not ‘why can’t you fit in?'”

For updates on the program’s develop, the Achieve Degree blog can be read here.