Access All Areas: Making learning accessible for all at Tacoma Community College

Santina Haywood, the Program Assistant and Assistant to the Assistive Technology Coordinator at Tacoma Community College shares valuable insights into her office's work.

Clock 2 min read Calendar Published: 8 May 2024
Author Chileshe Jackson
Access All Areas: Making learning accessible for all at Tacoma Community College

On the back of our Annual Grades Challenge report, we ran a webinar to reveal the results while gathering insights from a few institutions. 

Santina was one of our panellists who shed light on the transformative power of assistive technology and the importance of providing all students with the tools they need to succeed.

By working together, disability services professionals, faculty, and students can create a more inclusive and empowering learning environment.

How do students react to Glean?   

"Students at Tacoma Community College Love Glean!"

Students are impressed by Glean's ease of use and its ability to support their learning. They find it helpful for navigating the app and appreciate the built-in tutorials. Overall, Glean has led to improved grades and increased confidence.


“It’s thanks to Glean's assistance that my stress levels have dramatically decreased over the last semester, directly increasing my confidence. I can finally enjoy participating in the full college experience!”

Michael Lewis, Health Care Student at Tacoma Community College


Can you elaborate on how you introduce Glean to students?          

Santina explains that Glean introductions involve one-hour sessions. They go beyond just talking about the tool; they explore the skills portal and even conduct a live demo. This hands-on approach ensures students understand how to use Glean effectively.  

Do students discuss anxiety around note-taking?    

Absolutely! Juggling note taking and listening can be overwhelming. Glean's recording and transcription features alleviate stress by allowing students to build personalized notes and study guides at their own pace.

How do you determine appropriate accommodations?  

Santina emphasizes that accommodations are individualized. They consider the student's needs and future career path. For instance, extra time on exams might not be suitable for a nursing student as real-world exams have time constraints. The focus is on providing practical tools for success.

Why is widespread access to assistive technology important?

Many students, particularly non-traditional learners, may not be aware of their learning differences or the existence of helpful tools. Broad accessibility empowers students to learn at their own pace, fostering confidence and a sense of achievement. It levels the playing field and removes the stigma associated with needing accommodations.

Do students often seek help later in their academic journey?

It's a mix. Some students attempt to handle things independently initially, while others have diagnoses later in their studies. Santina highlights that both scenarios are valid.

How do faculty members typically react to assistive technology?      

Santina acknowledges there can be pushback, particularly regarding classroom recordings. disability services works to explain the benefits for student success and emphasizes that recordings are accommodations protected by law. They also offer guidelines to faculty on when recordings can be paused for privacy reasons.

For more guidance on working with faculty, you may find this blog about how to overcome some of the common pushback from faculty useful. 

Why is advocating for students who don't self-advocate crucial? 

Students may not recognize their needs or fear being misunderstood. Disability services advocates to show students they care and believe in their abilities. They empower students to advocate for themselves but also provide support, such as practising how to approach professors.

How do you identify students who might need help? 

Collaboration is key. Advisors and faculty often refer students who seem to be struggling. Disability services respects student privacy and avoids directly reaching out unless there's a serious concern. They encourage third-party introductions to ensure a smooth transition.

Final thoughts 

It's important to communicate and demonstrate the use of tools like Glean when collaborating with others. Be firm in your approach and understanding of these tools, even when faced with pushback.

Did you miss the webinar?

Want to recap on the webinar or learn more about the Annual Grades Challenge Report? Catch up on the replay of the webinar. 

Rewatch webinar
Time for a simpler, smarter note taking accommodation?

Time for a simpler, smarter note taking accommodation?

Glean is the online note taking tool that makes compliance simple, reduces cost and admin burden, and improves student outcomes.
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