The start of the school year is right around the corner, but returning students aren’t the only ones looking to expand their knowledge base. Many working professionals use online courses to further their own education. Some classes are held at a specific date and time, where multiple people can meet, hear or see a lecture, and work together on projects. Other classes are ‘asynchronous’, where multiple students go online to view a lecture or read notes, then have discussions through bulletin boards or email. Finally, some classes are on-demand and self-paced, so a student can log in and take the course at any time.
Several NIDILRR-funded centers and projects have created courses like these to train professionals in new treatments and interventions, using research in evidence-based practice, and understanding and applying rights and responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other laws. Here are a few examples:
The National Technical Assistance Center on Blindness and Visual Impairment, part of the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Employment for Individuals with Blindness or Other Visual Impairments offers continuing education courses for professionals who are working in or with the field of rehabilitation of persons who are blind or visually impaired, although anyone is welcome to take them. More than 2 dozen courses cover the “basics” of blindness and low vision, enhancing employment outcomes, and working with low vision older adults.
VR ROI 101 from the VR-ROI Project: Estimating Return on Investment in State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Programs teaches about modeling the return-on-investment (ROI) of vocational rehabilitation for specific populations, like youth in transition or people with disabilities from minority populations.
The RRTC on Creating Evidence-Based Vocational Rehabilitation Service Delivery Practices created the Research 2 VR Practice modules to cover how to integrate research into VR practice, from understanding levels of evidence-based practice to forming communities of practice so share and spread the results of new research.
Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Improving Employment Outcomes for Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities offers blended and self-paced courses for professional development in psychiatric rehabilitation.
Several of the ADA National Network Regional Centers offer catalogs of online courses about the ADA and other civil rights laws:
- The Rocky Mountain ADA Regional Center courses cover the ADA and its Titles, service animals, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), accessible voting, and more.
- New England ADA courses cover fair housing laws, architectural accessibility, Title I (Employment), and disability rights laws in general.
- Southeast ADA Regional Center’s At Your Service course teaches frontline workers how to provide excellent customer service to patrons with disabilities.
Some of these courses may offer continuing education credits or other recognition which can be used for professional development or to maintain certifications, like these courses we highlighted in a previous post. Check with your human resources department or your association’s membership managers before you start a course.
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