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The Career Skills Institute: Creating Normalcy In a Pandemic

Flexibility… a necessity in our current ever-changing world.

Humanity is struggling as we continue striving toward normalcy during this global pandemic. Working from home, e-learning, wearing masks, social distancing and the plethora of other restrictions we face day-to-day add stress and complications as we aim to meet the demand of the daily expectations placed upon us. However, we have also learned that flexibility and modified routines are instrumental to meeting those expectations.

This flexibility in learning is the foundation for the approach we take in Harper’s Career Skills Institute. This educational program through the CE department is for students with mild cognitive delays. CSI assesses and strengthens basic daily living skills, academics and employability skills to help students develop realistic and productive career plans.

The traditional learning format is not effective for students with a variety of learning disabilities. The CSI program is blended this semester, providing e-learning activities in addition to shortened on-campus time.

The CSI on-campus program follows a flexible learning approach, focusing on short lesson presentations paired with visual components and in-class activities that engage the student and encourage student response, videos, role-play scenarios, small group work, overhead display of handouts and on-the-feet interactive activities. The e-learning activities are modified to provide auditory recordings of assignments and visual assist through virtual class meetings. If students discover technology problems at home and are unable to troubleshoot the issue, students practice asking for assistance during the on-campus portion.

Each of these modalities is meant to address the different learning needs of our students as well as provide us with measurable student progress and skills. We can vary each activity as needed, and the result is that students often demonstrate that they have more skills than we previously presumed.

Flexibility in learning modalities, lesson planning and scheduling have allowed us to meet our students where they are, so that we can assist them to reach their full potential while maintaining safety protocols and regulations. All of us can be a little more flexible during this global pandemic in order to achieve a sliver of normalcy while meeting our daily expectations.

Learn more about Harper’s CSI program at ce.harpercollege.edu


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