Course Descriptions

VISN 601: Physical & Functional Aspects of Visual Impairment

Course Description: The student is introduced to the structure and function of the main systems of the human body and to those chronic conditions which may affect these systems. Emphasis will be placed on disabilities most frequently seen in conjunction with visual impairments and how the combined impact will affect instruction for individuals with visual impairment. Having covered these areas, each of the sensory systems will also be explored with the mechanics of locomotion and psychomotor factors influencing mobility.

VISN 602: Education of Students with Visual Impairment

Course Description: This course examines the philosophical, historical and legal foundations of special education services to students with visual impairments. This course overviews the wide array of services and resources available to support students with visual impairments. Topics include legislation, service systems, roles and responsibilities of specialized service providers and the impact of visual impairment on child development.

Pre-Practicum: 7 Hours Interviews

VISN 603: Braille Communications I

Course Description: This course will train individuals to teach reading and writing of contracted Unified English Braille. Participants will learn read embossed braille visually and to write Unified English Braille using a Perkins Braille Writer, computer keyboard for six-key entry, and a slate and stylus. Topics include teaching techniques for reading readiness, tracking, tactile discrimination, and reading methods. Reading problems and remediation will be discussed. Techniques used in education and rehabilitation will be included. The use of technology to produce braille will be reviewed.

VISN 604: Visual Functioning

Course Description: This course introduces the student to the anatomy and physiology of the eye and examines refraction, clinical testing procedures, and major visual disorders. The medical component of this course provides the foundation to the remainder of the course, as it looks at the functional implications of individual eye conditions on educational and vocational services. Note: There are no face to face classes in this course.
 

In this fully on-line course, the sessions are designed to provide a basic understanding of the physical structures of the eye and their functions, an understanding of pathologies that affect the visual system and how they impact visual functioning. Topics include: structures of the eye, ocular optics, basic brain anatomy and development of vision, and functional implications of common eye diseases.

Note: There are no face-to-face sessions for this course.

VISN 605: Implications of Low Vision

Course Description: This course is designed to train professionals to work with individuals who have low vision in both rehabilitation and educational settings. Through selected readings and presentations on the theoretical and practical aspects of low vision, participants will acquire a solid knowledge base; and become comfortable with various low vision concepts and methods for integrating visual needs and adapted equipment within an educational/rehabilitation environment. In addition, small group activities, case studies, and simulation will be incorporated throughout the course to provide students with the practical application of skills and techniques learned.

VISN 610: Braille Communications II

Course Description: This course is designed for vision teachers to expand their current level of Braille competency. Students will study tools and teaching strategies used in mathematics including Nemeth Code, Scientific Notebook software and the abacus. Braille formats typical of educational materials will be studied. Students will review the Unified English Braille code with a focus on memorization.

Pre-Practicum: 2 Hours: Nemeth Lesson Observation and Reflection; Additional Braille Specialty Area Observation/Interviews (optional)

VISN 612: Orientation and Mobility and Independent Living

Course Description: This course examines the functional implications of vision loss on primary activities of daily living, with emphasis in basic methodologies of Orientation and Mobility and activities of daily living. Exploration of functional life skills essential to independence will be addressed with consideration to student and populations. Weekly lecture content will be enhanced by lab activities designed to give the student the opportunity to experience and critically assess the effectiveness of current methodology. 

VISN 613: Assessment for Students with Visual Impairment Including Those with Additional Disabilities

Course Description: This course examines and explores the unique educational needs of children with visual impairments and children with visual and multiple impairments as well as techniques for assessment related to teaching these children in a full array of educational settings from ages 3-22. Topics include assessment specifically designed for students with visual impairments, and those in the expanded core curriculum. Issues related to team approaches to assessment, and evaluation are also presented. This course requires a field-based placement/pre-practicum requirement of a minimum of 25 hours. This course has 2 face to face meetings.

VISN 614: Instructional Strategies for Teaching Students with Visual Impairments Including Those with Additional Disabilities

Course Description: This course examines and explores the unique educational needs of children with visual impairments and children with visual and multiple impairments as well as techniques for instruction related to teaching these children in a full array of educational settings from ages 3-22. Topics include program planning for core and expanded core curriculum, adaptive techniques, and diverse communication systems. This course requires a field-based placement/pre-practicum requirement.

VISN 619: TVI Practicum

Course Description: The TVI Practicum encompasses a supervised practicum, a practicum seminar and capstone portfolio. The Practicum provides 300 hours working with students who are visually impaired, ranging from Pre-K through Grade 12.

The Practicum Seminar consists of 6 modules dealing with professional issues related to the field of TVI. The seminar is designed to inform and support students as they complete their Practicum experiences. The modules will be released on a bi-weekly schedule. There will be one synchronous Talking Communities session.

Pre-registration for the TVI Practicum is required one semester prior to enrollment. Student must provide documentation of 100 clock hours of pre-practicum experiences, passing score reports for all required licensure exams (MTEL), passing score on the Braille Proficiency Test, and a cumulative GPA of 3.0. The practicum site must be approved by the Program Coordinator.

VISN 621: O&M Assessment and Instructional Strategies: Children

Course Description: This course is an instructional strategies course and applies foundations and methods to the specific populations of pre-school, elementary, and transition-aged children. Assessment tools are introduced and applied, with an emphasis on development of the students' abilities in observational skills, information gathering, and task analysis in the development of specific objectives and lesson design for instructing children. Methods in team instruction, consultation, and itinerant teaching are examined. Competencies for the course will be integrated into both classroom and field-based experiences.
Pre-Practicum: O&M Assessment: Children


This is a field-based experience which provides the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge and learn observational and assessment strategies through direct student contact. The field site options will include experience with children, and the opportunity to diversify the experience between infants, preschool, school-aged, and transitional students. This course requires daytime participation to acquire a minimum of 15 hours of instructional experience.

VISN 622: O&M Assessment and Instructional Strategies: Adults

Course Description: This is an instructional strategies course which applies foundations and methods to the specific populations of visually impaired adults, including persons over age sixty-five, those with additional disabilities, and persons of diverse cultural backgrounds. Case studies will provide the basis for discussion and foundation to the practical experience provided in the O&M Internship. Assessment, observation, information gathering, and task analysis through lesson design are critical elements of this course, while the advanced systems of O&M are addressed in greater depth.  

Pre-Practicum: O&M Assessment: Adults

This is a field-based experience which provides the opportunity to apply classroom knowledge and learn observational and assessment strategies through direct student contact. The field site options will include experience with social, vocational, and independent living rehabilitation agencies, with the opportunity to diversify the experience with young adult, adult, geriatric, and individuals with multiple disabilities. This course requires daytime participation to acquire a minimum of 15 hours of instructional experience.

VISN 625: Methods of Orientation and Mobility

This course examines the foundations of learning and teaching Orientation and Mobility. A weekly on-line lecture will provide an introduction to the principles of concept development, spatial orientation, and environmental analysis as these topics relate to independent travel by individuals who are visually impaired.

VISN 628: O&M Praxis Lab

Course Description: This course must be taken before or concurrently with VISN 625: Methods of Orientation and Mobility (Lecture). A major component of the course will be to give students the opportunity to learn and experience O&M skills and techniques through the use of blindfolds and low-vision simulators. After mastering these skills, students will focus on teaching each other, then modifying the techniques for diverse populations. Students will meet for 20 sessions, totaling 120 hours throughout the semester. This course is a field-based pre-practicum experience offered by an ACVREP-Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist. Each cohort of students is individually scheduled, based on geographic location.

VISN 629: O&M Practicum Seminar

Course Description: This course is for students who have completed course work and all prepracticum hours with both children and adults. Internships may be full-time or part-time, and interns are required to keep an on-going diary of their experiences along with a capstone portfolio. Students must complete the clinical requirements set by AER and ACVREP, totaling a minimum of 350 hours. Students will also prepare for the International ACVREP application and examination for certification.

VISN 630: Introduction to Visual Rehabilitation Therapy

Course Description: This course examines the functional implications of vision loss on primary activities of daily living, with emphasis in basic methodologies of Orientation and Mobility and Rehabilitation Teaching. Exploration of life skills essential to independence will be addressed with consideration to student and adult populations. Weekly lecture content will be enhanced by functional lab activities designed to give the student the opportunity to experience and critically assess the effectiveness of current methodology.

VISN 631: Methods of Vision Rehabilitation Therapy I

Course Description: This course is designed to provide the learner with hands-on instruction, independent learning and laboratory practice in the methodologies and adaptive techniques utilized by the professional vision rehabilitation therapist in the Personal Management / Recreation and Leisure areas of Independent Living Skills. This course will emphasize the utilizations of adaptive techniques and resources gathering, and will address skills that are applicable for adults and older adults as well as children and adolescents. Laboratory experienced with blindfolds and low vision simulators will provide each learner with the opportunity to practice recommended techniques and adaptations that will facilitate the teaching of selected Independent Living Skills to students, clients and consumers who are blind or having low vision.

VISN 632: Methods of Vision Rehabilitation Therapy II

Course Description: This course provides an in-depth examination of assessment tools, resources and instructional methodology associated with the expanding area of communications and technology. The course builds upon the foundational courses to advance instructional competency in braille, low-vision handwriting, drawing and computer technologies.

Pre Practicum Requirements of this course:

This course has a concurrent pre-practicum communications and technology lab. A major component of the communications lab is to give students the opportunity to learn and experience instructional techniques through the use of blindfolds and low-vision simulators. After acquiring these skills, students will focus on teaching each other, then modifying the techniques for diverse populations. Students will meet for 10 sessions, totaling 60 contact hours throughout the semester. This field-based pre-practicum experience will be offered by an ACVREP-certified vision rehabilitation therapist and a made regionally accessible across the six NE states.

VISN 639: Practicum in VRT

Course Description: This course is for students who have completed course work and all prepracticum hours with both children and adults. Internships may be full-time or part-time, but must be completed in two semesters. Interns are required to keep an ongoing diary of their experiences along with a capstone portfolio documenting clinical requirements set by ACVREP, totaling a minimum of 350 hours.

VISN 640: Psycho-social Aspects of Visual Impairments

Course Description: This course will investigate the psychosocial aspects of vision loss. Coping techniques and issues of self-esteem will be explored along with principles of self-determination. Other topics include the psychosocial aspects of personal life management such as orientation and mobility, use of volunteers, sexuality, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Psychosocial issues specific to people from diverse cultures will also be addressed.

VISN 646: Introduction to Audiology and the Human Auditory System

Course Description: This course will cover the nature of sound and how humans perceive it. Sound in the environment and how sound is used by humans to move through their environment will also be explored. Topics include the basics of sound, anatomy and physiology of the auditory system with an emphasis on function, common disorders of the auditory system and how these disorders are manifested. The principles of basic audiology and how to understand and relate to the audiologist provide a foundation for hearing both clinically and functionally. Students will learn hearing aid technology and the application of that technology to various auditory disorders in a functional sense.

VISN 648: Cortical/Cerebral Visual Impairment 

Course Description: This course provides an in-depth study of CVI and resources available for assessment and instructional strategies. Participants will further examine and explore the unique educational needs of children with CVI and the skills related to teaching these children in a full array of educational settings; Pre-K through grade 12. Topics include teaching strategies in the core and expanded core curriculums, such as: literacy, career-vocational skills, visual efficiency and compensatory auditory strategies. Instruction will also address material modifications and accommodations.

VISN 660: Introduction to AT for People with VI

Course Description:This fully online course will provide an introduction to the profession of Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist for People with Visual Impairments. Students will learn through demonstrations, hands-on activities, and independent learning exercises about a variety of assistive technology solutions for people of all ages who are blind or visually impaired, including: screen magnification software, screen reading software, OCR software, braille technologies, low vision devices, smart phone and tablet accessibility features, as well as other specialized devices designed for people with visual impairments. The benefits and limitations of accessibility features that are built-in to mainstream technologies compared to specialized assistive technology devices and software will be discussed. Techniques for determining the most appropriate assistive technology solutions will also be discussed. The course explores strategies for integrating assistive technology in different settings, such as in schools, homes, colleges/universities, jobsites, and avocational settings. 

VISN 661: Assistive Technology Assessment and Instruction for People with Visual Impairments

Course Description:This fully online course provides participants with a thorough overview of assessment and instruction techniques for teaching assistive technology to people with visual impairments of all ages. Topics include: Task analysis; lesson and training plan development; learning development and evolution of assistive technology skills during instruction; learning theories as applied to children and adults; instructional strategies for assistive technology; conducting assistive technology assessments; making decisions regarding appropriate devices; choosing appropriate learning modalities; justifying recommendations; applying different AT assessment techniques, such as HAAT, WATI, and SETT; ethical issues related to AT assessment and services; and writing AT assessment reports. We will explore ethical issues in AT, evaluating the effectiveness of AT services, using AT with productivity platforms on different operating systems, developing curriculum for teaching screen magnification and screen reading software on different operating systems, developing curriculum for teaching accessible apps on mobile devices, as well as developing curriculum for teaching accessible stand-alone devices, accessible third-party applications, and built-in accessibility features. 

VISN 662: Configuration and Exploration of Assistive Technology Solutions for People with Visual Impairments

Course Description: This fully online course will assist participants in understanding and applying configuration and exploration strategies for mainstream and assistive technologies. We will explore a variety of topics, including: Operating systems and computing devices, various PC components, operational procedures for professionalism and effective communication, technical support resources for accessibility for major operating systems, tools used for computer maintenance and repair, installing software and operating system updates, setting up and using built-in accessibility features in different operating systems, operating system maintenance procedures, setup and configuration of systems and devices for remote training, determining if remote training and support is appropriate, conferences and educational opportunities to keep up-to-date with various technologies, computer maintenance tools and procedures, disabling and removing of unnecessary or inaccessible third-party software, troubleshooting computing technology, virtualized operating systems, display technologies, options for self-teaching and continuing education to remain current with various technologies, local networking, wireless networking, wireless communications technologies, connecting to the internet, configuring email, troubleshooting internet issues, portable and mobile computing technology, and security measures for computing technology.

VISN 663: Technological Methods of Accessibility and Accommodations for People with Visual Impairments

Course Description: This fully online course will provide an overview of best practices for providing assistive technology services to people with visual impairments, as well as digital accessibility and usability, accommodations, and universal design in educational, vocational, avocational, and home environments. Students will learn through demonstrations, hands-on activities, and independent learning exercises about strategies for creating accessible instructional materials in a variety of formats and learning modalities, customizing screen readers on various operating systems for compatibility with third-party applications, and personalizing assistive technology options. This course explores a variety of assistive technologies, techniques, and strategies for working with people who have visual impairments, as well as additional disabilities.

VISN 669: Assistive Technology for People with Visual Impairments Practicum

Course Description: The Assistive Technology for People with Visual Impairments Practicum consists of a supervised practicum for pre-service professionals within the Assistive Technology Program working with students who are visually impaired, ranging from school aged students to adult vocational and geriatric populations. Pre-registration for the Assistive Technology for People with Visual Impairments Practicum is required one semester prior to enrollment, along with documentation of completion of all required courses and successful completion of a minimum of 25 integrated field hours for assistive technology experiences. The practicum site must be approved by the Program Coordinator. In addition to the field-based experience, students are expected to obtain a passing score on the national professional Certified Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist for People with Visual Impairments (CATIS) examination through the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP).

REHAB 612 Vocational Rehabilitation & Placement

Course Description: This course seeks to provide students with information about the total vocational rehabilitation process, including follow-up services. Topics include the referral process; eligibility criteria; comprehensive (medical, psychological, vocational) assessment; vocational training; and placement.

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VISN 641: Advanced Strategies for Teaching Students with Visual Impairments

Course Description: This course is designed for educational practitioners currently holding state licensure as a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairment (TVI). Participants will further examine and explore the unique educational needs of children with visual impairments and the skills related to teaching these children in a full array of educational settings; Pre-K through grade 12. Topics include advanced teaching strategies in the core and expanded core curriculums, such as: advanced literacy, career-vocational skills, visual efficiency and compensatory auditory strategies. Instruction will also address areas such as: advanced material modifications, strategies to teach learners to identify and organize critical content as well as instruction for students with visual impairments and additional disabilities.

VISN 643: Foundations of Research in Visual Impairment

Course Description: This course is designed to introduce students to basic research design and methods used in special education, especially in the area of visual impairments. Students will learn to critically analyze research literature and will have the opportunity to design a small-scale research proposal. Due to the unique challenges investigators face when researching issues in the area of visual impairments, this course will discuss many of the obstacles the student may encounter when working in the area of low incidence disabilities. Modules will include: research methodologies and approaches, participants, as well as analysis of data.

VISN 644: Auditory Access to Digital Information for Teachers of Students with Visual Impairment

Course Description: This course provides an in-depth study of access methods to digital material currently available for students using screen readers and audio files for curriculum and instructional needs. Course participants in the course will work with commercially available software packages, as well as the widening range of free screen readers and audio applications. This course simulates methods of operation employed by visually impaired students. Screen readers features and capabilities for JAWS will be studied in-depth. Methods of audio file creation and acquisition will be covered, along with options for necessary players. Methods for working with students with a variety of needs will be covered. 

VISN 645: Music Braille

Course Description: This online course is designed to train participants to teach reading of elementary and intermediate level braille music. Important aspects for teaching braille users to read braille music are covered. Participants will learn music braille notations and basic transcription rules for preparing elementary and intermediate level braille music. The use of special computer software to translate music into braille, and sources for acquiring braille music are reviewed. Participants are required to use a braille editor for completing all exercises and to submit exercises in digital format. This course offers an international connection in that there are often students from different countries taking the course.

VISN 647: Early Intervention and Visual Impairment

Course Description: This course is designed to give students an overview of Early Childhood Special Education with a focus on children with visual impairments. Students will examine typical as well as atypical child development and many of the characteristics of visual impairments.  Students will also examine the impact a visual impairment can have on a child’s cognitive and social development. The course will also focus on basic medical and prenatal care issues. This course is designed to acquaint students with a sampling of assessment practices and the need for early intervention in order to meet the developmental and social/emotional needs of young children and infants with visual impairments. The course materials will be presented via Modules and lectures, which must be completed in numeric order. There will also be weekly discussion board questions that will be utilized as an integral part of the Learning Modules.