Office of Learning Support (OLS)
The Office of Learning Support at Ashoka University promotes an inclusive environment for students with learning difficulties and sensory impairments. Through an interactive process, we are a support system to help students with specific needs achieve their individual academic goals. Ashoka University, one of the pioneers of change and social impact, through the OLS, creates equal opportunity for students irrespective of his/her special needs. We act as a central resource on specific-needs-related information and services for the University. While the office empowers and strengthens the University community by providing equal access and opportunities available to the individuals with disabilities, it also promotes a collaborative approach to the implementation of inclusion policies.
The vision of the Office of Learning Support is to be an enabler of inclusion in the higher education system. We strive to design a sustainable culture amongst faculty, staff and the student body to accept learning differences as a matter of routine.
The Office of Learning Support was setup in July 2016 with immense support from senior management, to accommodate the diversity of students and courses at Ashoka University. Since then, the office has evolved from supporting students with learning disabilities, to widening its scope, by including students with sensory impairments. We are committed to upholding Ashoka University’s values of creating equal opportunities for all students on campus.
The office conducts assessments to determine the learning difficulties and identifies the cognitive and academic profile of a student to help them perform their best. To help students reach their full potential, we offer support that is tailored to their specific learning needs. We are dedicated to finding better pedagogies and evaluating our spaces to create an inclusive environment for all. The office follows a non-disclosure policy and hence, the support does not negatively impact the student’s academic records.
Our current support system caters to students with different learning needs such as visual impairment, hearing loss, Asperger’s Syndome, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and ADD/ADHD/Executive Function Deficits. The Office also assists several students with planning and organization of their course curriculum.
Information for Ashoka Students
Ashoka University supports an inclusive education environment and provides a structured framework to students who seek Accommodations (academic adjustments) and Remedial Support for specific learning difficulties. Accommodations are set on a case-by-case basis, individualized to each student and their current needs.
A student might or might not know the reasons for their academic difficulty and can always seek help from the office to understand the situation. Students seeking learning support from OLS can request support through the Student Support Request Form.
If a student already has a diagnosed learning or physical disability, they can reach the office by submitting the same form. OLS will review the request and may seek clarifications or additional documentation from the student in support of his/her claim.
All such requests will be treated in confidence, shared with faculty and staff only on an academic need-to-know basis and will not form a part of the student’s academic record at the university.
Note: Student should note that depending on the course curriculum and teaching methodology deployed for a particular course, it may not be feasible to provide all the Accommodations as recommended by OLS.
You may also write to the Office of Learning Support (email@example.com) for any specific query and/or to make an appointment.
Information for Prospective Students
Ashoka University welcomes prospective students with identified learning difficulties to discuss their options during the admissions process and post admission environment for inclusive education at the university.
The university ensures that the entire admissions process is disability friendly and all the students get an opportunity to present their best self despite any learning challenges . To ensure this, the university can provide Accommodations during various stages of admission process to the candidates with specific learning challenges.
Prospective students should note that the purpose of these Accommodations is to help you cope up with your specific learning challenge and is not intended to dilute the academic or other admission standards set up by the university.
Should you be interested in availing these facilities during admission or afterwards, you can declare your situation in the admissions application form along with a formal report from the authorized professional.
You can discuss your options with the Office of Admissions at any stage of the admissions process. You may also write to Office of Learning Support (firstname.lastname@example.org) for any specific query.
Agreement of Confidentiality
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In the interest of awareness and empowerment, the Office of Learning Support invites eminent speakers for guest sessions at Ashoka University. These sessions are aimed at inspiring audiences with their life journeys despite their struggles, instilling hope and convincing them to face challenges with confidence.
Listed below are some of the events hosted by the Office of Learning Support:
The Office of Learning Support organized its first guest session with Saptarshi Mandal, Assistant Professor at O.P. Jindal Global University and a researcher in Disability and Mental Health Law on 22nd November, 2016. The talk discussed various cases, from the last two decades, of disabled students taking the state and educational institutions to court to assert their right to difference and establish accountability of various stakeholders.
Dr. Samuel N. Mathew, Executive Director of National Institute of Speech & Hearing (NISH), Trivandrum and Executive Director of National Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (NIPMR) visited the campus and spoke to our students and faculty on “Education & Empowerment of the Student with Disability: An Overview of Possibilities” on January, 2018. He serves on other Boards and Committees related to Disabilities and Rehabilitation. He also serves on the Governing Council of Indian Sign Language Research Training Center, New Delhi.
The OLS organized a guest talk by Mr. George Abraham, the Founding Chairman of the World Blind Cricket Council (WBCC) and Founder/CEO of Project Eyeway, a single stop knowledge resource on “Life with Blindness.” He spoke about his loss of eyesight at the age of 10 and how it gave him a new vision of life. A visually impaired student from the University also shared his experiences with Mr. George and sought his guidance.
Reena Gupta, Director of the Office of Learning Support presented a paper on “Creating an Inclusive Environment in Higher Education” at an International Conference on Inclusive Education at Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, organized from 22-24th March 2018. The paper was based on the support system created at Ashoka University and the collaborations with various other offices and Professors.
The first session on Time Management was conducted on 13th and 17th September 2018. The office invited moderators from the student community across diverse batches. Reena Gupta and Aditya Sen from the Office of Learning Support prepared handouts discussing various strategies and self-evaluation tools that were helpful for the students present during the session. The objective of the session was to help students understand how to plan their tasks well within a stipulated time and ensure productivity.
Office of Learning Support celebrated the International Day for Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) 2018 at Ashoka University on 03rd December 2018. Organizations like Saksham, Action for Autism and Raised Line foundation were present for the event and set up kiosks to spread awareness amongst the students on disability on assistive technology and autism. The day was filled with activities like digitization marathon organized by Saksham to create accessible books for print disabled individuals and activities conducted by students to spread awareness on learning disabilities. This was the first big event the office had conducted and look forward to host more of them in the future.
Message from Reena Gupta, Director
“Studying in a university should be an exciting time for any student, yet for those who face learning challenges it can be an anxious time. The thought of keeping up with the expectations at this level can be very overwhelming for some students, especially if they know that they do need some assistance to be able to work at their potential. We at Office of Learning support understand that and try to provide state-of-the-art support system to ensure that every student with specific needs is able to get full access to and can participate fully in the academic and social aspect of his/her university life. With the right usage of technological advancements, OLS is committed to understand, procure and apply the best practices in its services.”
The student’s feedback mechanism helps in improving our services and methods, shaping the future of the Office and creating a self-driven inclusive environment.
I'm grateful for the support I've received from the OLS. I do not think most institutions have a system that compares to this. Studying at Ashoka is very empowering and with support from the OLS, I hope to make the most of the opportunities available.
-UG, Class of 2020
Initially when I joined Ashoka, I was afraid about how I would cope with Ashoka’s academic curriculum and culture, especially because I was required to use English frequently. Although I knew English was an easy language, I feared that I may not be as good as the experienced English speakers. I tried not to lose hope, and made use of every available opportunity to get better at the language. The OLS has continuously encouraged me and helped me in many ways to defeat the fear of language. Many many thanks to the OLS :)
-UG, Class of 2020
The Office of Learning Support was instrumental in my daily functioning at Ashoka University, especially in my first semester. Although I did not require explicit help in the class room, due to a learning disability or handicap of some sort, I used to be easily bogged down by the workload. The Office helped me in organizing my workload, by myself, and taught me to balance various responsibilities with academics. Their help made me more confident, both in the quality of work produced, and the relative ease with which I am able to approach professors and communicate with them directly about any problems I might have had. Besides this, the OLS is also a good listener. From time to time, when I just needed to vent, they welcomed me. The best part is the no appointment system, which ensures complete approachability and freedom to speak about anything whenever a student feels the need. I am truly grateful to the OLS for giving me the support during my difficult times here, and I recommend it to those who need support of any kind, not just related to learning disabilities but, even organization, understanding and improving the quality of work.
-UG, Class of 2020
I came to the OLS for support in the final months of the YIF program. My longstanding difficulty with keeping my attention focussed on anything (possible manifestation of my OCD) had become too overwhelming and I failed some of my courses as a consequence.
My engagement with the office, although short, has been a good experience. Ms. Reena always listened to me with empathy and respected my desire to steer clear of medicinal intervention. She carefully evaluated my condition to rule out any kind of reading/writing disability, arranged for me to speak to someone who had had similar experiences, and got me started on managing my life better with a simple planner. Of great help was her speaking to my professors and other teaching staff and helping them understand my situation better- this even got me a second shot at clearing one of my subjects and salvage my grade.
Perhaps the greatest support came from having someone to talk to and knowing that I was being understood. Beyond concerns about my academic performance, I felt free to discuss my emotional/behavioral problems with Ms.Reena. She was very encouraging of the idea of consulting Dr.Arvinder (from ACWB), going as far as personally getting me an appointment with her when the need arose.
In the couple of interactions I had with Aditya, he struck me as earnest in offering his support and dedication to making sure my environment was conducive to having a good study session.
Had there been more time, perhaps the office would’ve helped me successfully devise a better coping strategy for my situation. I wish I had learnt about the OLS sooner. Would definitely recommend them to anyone who’s experiencing bumps in their academic journey, regardless of ability.
I wish Ms. Reena and Aditya luck in their endeavor to make OLS a more visible part of the academic life at the university.
-YIF, Class of 2018