Working With the Office for Disability Services at Penn State

I want to use this post to share with you a great program that is available to you if you, like me, are disabled.

If you have a disability that is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Penn State has you covered. In my case, being deaf, and with a cochlear implant, one of my fears of taking online courses was not being able to hear and/or understand the media that some courses would have. These media include watching flash videos with sounds, listening to lectures on an audio file, and watching YouTube videos.

But thankfully, Penn State has an Office for Disability Services (ODS), which provides you with the tools and help you need to have a successful online education experience.

The first thing you need to do is register with the ODS. You may need to give them documentation of your disability, and explain what you would need help with. Penn State is determined to make sure that everyone, no matter what the disability, has a successful experience during their educational journey.

In my case, the ODS sends me what they call the Academic Adjustment Letter, of which I am responsible for letting my instructors know about. At the beginning of every course, I send them the letters and forms via email, and I explain to my instructors that I am deaf and that I wear a cochlear implant. I then ask if there are any videos or audio that may need to be captioned in order for me to hear/understand (In most cases, the lectures/videos will already be transcribed and the downloadable transcriptions are already in the course materials on ANGEL). I have yet to experience any trouble with this process, and it has helped me tremendously.

Another perk of working with the ODS is that they offer scholarships for those who are registered with them.  In January of every year, this year starting on the 15, the application is available for you to download and to send to the ODS for consideration. I have been rewarded a scholarship for this past semester from the Polis Charitable Foundation – Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation Scholarship, and I would have not known about it if it has not been for the ODS.

Below are the links for the Office for Disability Services, as well as the links for scholarships that you may be interested in applying for. The sooner you get registered with the ODS, the better your experience as a Penn Stater will be. I encourage every person with a disability covered under the American with Disability Act laws to submit their information to the ODS, and let them help you maximize your success with Penn State World Campus.

And do me a favor. Follow me on twitter at @therealverigood. And if you want to hear more about my cochlear implant, I have my own YouTube Channel.


Visit the Office for Disability Services website to find out more about Penn State’s policies regarding services provided for students with disability.

Visit the ODS scholarship page for more information on scholarships offered, student eligibility and how to apply.