FAQ’s- Distance Learning

How do I receive my distance learning courses?

Once you have been admitted into the program and your non-refundable registration fee, materials fee and all tuition authorizations are received, you will receive a registered username and password that will provide you with access to Canvas, our learning management system. Your Canvas login information will give you access as a registered distance learning student of the National Statler Center program*.


Do I need any subscriptions for online services?

You do not need any subscriptions to use Canvas. Once you have been given a registered username and password, you may access all your distance learning courses. For all recommended IT/AT requirements, please see the “Technical Requirements” sheet.


What are the responsibilities of my state sponsoring agency?

Your state sponsoring agency will be responsible for the non-refundable registration fee, books & materials fee, and tuition.


Will I need other course materials and how do I access them?

Yes, depending on the presentation or accommodation you require, you may receive additional course materials after we have received your registration and materials fees. These materials will be fully accessible to each individual user, and depending on each student’s needs, may consist of digital material, cloud based material or printed materials.


What if my computer breaks or I need AT help?

At the National Statler Center, we have worked diligently to develop a distance course load accessible to all, including users of AT software.  If you have questions about the program’s technical requirements, please refer to the “Technical Requirements” sheet. Once a student and counselor agree to our online classes, they will need to ensure they have plans in place should either IT or AT services be required. The Statler Center will provide the content and the technical parameters needed to allow learner access, but we cannot repair issues that may arise on the other end of a remote learner’s setup (i.e. we cannot diagnose hardware or software issues, internet connectivity issues or software updates).

In some cases, counselors may prefer to provide these services onsite or in a location with multiple users or a “learning pod.” In other cases, counselor and student may decide they will provide external IT or AT services to an individual student only and that student may work from a remote or home location. The situation and choice are up to the student and counselor to determine what works best for them.


How do the distance learning courses work?

The National Statler Center’s Distance Learning program is approved by the New York State Department of Education. Each class within the distance learning course is divided into a set amount of sessions. The classes a student completes varies depending on the student’s progression in the program, but students can generally expect to complete two class sessions each day. Each session includes a mixture of lectures, study content, discussions, and assignments that test the student’s knowledge of the topics for that particular session. There will be instructor-set deadlines provided for all discussions and assignments. Students are required to meet those deadlines and complete all required tasks within that class. At the end of each course, students are given a letter grade based on their performance.


How does classroom attendance work in distance learning?

Course instructors will take attendance based on the exact day and time students log into Canvas. Attendance will be taken every day the Statler Center Distance Learning program is in session, which excludes weekends, holidays and program breaks. Failure to log into your Canvas course during a scheduled class day will result in an absent mark. Also, instructors (at their discretion) will be able to assess a late attendance mark for posting late to a scheduled discussion.


What happens if I fail a course?

Course instructors may issue a failing grade to students for missing assignments, performing inadequately on assignments, poor classroom attendance, or any combination of the three. Students who receive one failing grade will be issued a warning or progress warning.Students who receive two failing grades will not be allowed to continue the distance learning program.

It is highly recommended that students speak immediately with their instructor should any challenges arise that may impede their academic performance.

Students who are in danger of failing a course will be contacted by the school to discuss any challenges and potential solutions. Furthermore, at the mid-point and end of each course, a comprehensive grading report will be provided to both the student and student’s counselor. Counselors will be required to attend at least one remote conference with their client and Statler per course taken at a mutually agreed upon time.

What if I don’t understand an assignment?

How do I get in touch with my instructors?

Within each distance course your instructors will provide a syllabus and contact information by email and phone, as well as list their availability for real-time office hours via Talking Communities online.

Where do I have to be to complete my courses?

You can complete your distance learning courses from any location where you have reliable access to a computer and internet connection that meets or exceeds the program’s technical requirements. In some cases, your state sponsoring agency may mandate you complete your online coursework from a specific location. It is your responsibility to make sure you have reliable computer and internet access. Please call your instructor as soon as possible regarding any internet outages or computer issues. Students will be alerted to any Canvas system outages by the school, if necessary.

Do I ever get to speak with my classmates or instructor?

In addition to the various ways listed in the course syllabus or overview on how to contact your instructor, you also communicate with your peers using the in-class discussion boards, as well as the online Talking Communities conference system.

How long do I have to complete a class?

Each course is designed to start and end within a specific time-frame. In all cases, your instructor will impose specific deadlines or due dates for course work and you should be prepared to have work completed as outlined in your instructor’s syllabus or course overview. In an overall sense, you will have access to the Canvas system from the first day of the distance learning program through the last day of the distance learning program. It is up to the student to be aware of all deadlines set by instructors.

How long will I have access to Statler Center distance learning program materials?

Students will have access to the course materials in Canvas throughout the duration of their time in the program. After completion of the program, students may access the online class materials for a period of one additional week, and then the student account for that course and term will be disabled. Textbook materials remain the student’s. All distance learning content was produced and published by the National Statler Center, which operates under the umbrella of the Olmsted Center for Sight. All course content was created for the benefit of students participating in the Statler Center Distance Learning Program, is proprietary in nature and is protected by Federal copyright laws. Any attempt to copy, claim or sell the materials offered in the distance learning program is strictly prohibited.


What are the admissions requirements for distance learning? Is there any technical assessment required?

1. High school/GED/TASC diploma – copy of diploma or transcript
2. Keyboard assessment (20 words per minute threshold required)

3. Two letters of professional or character reference
4. Open case with Commission for the Blind or Vocational Rehabilitation service provider
5. The Statler Center program seeks motivated applicants who have actively worked toward an employment outcome and pursued vocational development by engaging in activities such as, but not limited to: placement, job readiness, job clubs and/or education, as well as those who have an “everyday” use of technology
6. Recommend the sharing of an ISP regarding employment goals and/or if applicable, recent 504 or IEP plan to assist staff with instructional supports
7. Admissions interview
8. *Distance learning applicants must complete an online exercise

Additionally, all applicants for the distance learning programs will be required to complete a brief online exercise called “Introduction to Learning Management Systems” as part of the admissions process. Applicants who do not complete this exercise as part of the admissions sequence for distance learning will not be considered for admission to the program.

Some clients also may have completed a technical assessment with their counselor or VR agency. We welcome any supporting documentation that has occurred within the last 12 months. Please make sure to request a release of information to share this information with us.

The information gathered from the “Introduction to Learning Management Systems” exercise and any other technical reports you supply will assist us in determining your technical readiness and skill level for a distance platform. Of course, all applicants may apply for our on-site trainings, and for some, the on-site presentation may be the best fit.

Counselors should take a moment to review the “Best Practices” sheet for areas they may want to explore in determining if their client is ready for a Statler program and employment.

To discuss admissions into any Statler program, please contact:

Karla D. Manzella, Coordinator of Admissions

The National Statler Center

716-888.4526 direct


*All courses and materials are property of the Olmsted Center for Sight and are intended for the registered user only. Log-in information is non-transferable. Misuse of log-in can result in dismissal from the program.