The Foundations in Community Disability Studies Program offers several unique features:
Based in the Workplace
The Foundations in Community Disability Studies Program is intended for people who are currently employed as direct service workers in the field of community disability services. Check with your agency, you may receive time off from your duties for this in-service training. You are encouraged to discuss new concepts and skills with co-workers and to apply new learning in the workplace. A mentor/tutor from your agency will help you to apply your new knowledge in the workplace and record your progress using the Skills Checklist included in each module of the program. There are two evaluation components, a test and a skills checklist to be completed by your mentor/tutor.
Flexible Delivery and Leading-Edge Technology
The Foundations in Community Disability Studies Program is offered in two modes of distance delivery:
- traditional distance study using a face-to-face version with the support of an agency-based tutor.
- ACDS Online – This delivery mode uses the Internet and web-based “e-learning” technology to provide you with a variety of flexible ways to study the materials and communicate with your fellow students. An ACDS Online facilitator supports your learning, as does your agency-based mentor.
Check with your agency to see which modes are offered.
A Community of Learners
As a student in the Foundations in Community Disability Studies Program in an online format, you will be part of a learning community. Each class of 10 to 15 learners is supported by an online facilitator. Learners will study module material individually, and then come together in a virtual learning environment to explore topics in community disability services, sharing your experience, networking with others in your field, and providing and receiving support to ensure a successful learning experience.
As a student in the Foundations in Community Disability Studies Program, you are supported by an ACDS Online Facilitator as well as a mentor/supervisor in your agency.
The ACDS Online Facilitator will guide and encourage you, answer content questions and clarify areas where you are uncertain, suggest resources for further study, and help you maintain your progress through throughout your studies. Your online facilitator will also moderate the group discussions and other online activities, and answer any technical questions that may arise regarding the technology used in the module.
Your mentor/supervisor will help you apply the theoretical material you are studying to your workplace. As you work through the module, discuss what you are learning with your mentor/supervisor. The Skills Checklist will be used to record the skills you are developing by applying your new knowledge. You are responsible for returning the completed Skills Checklist to ACDS when you complete the module.
The Foundations in Community Disability Studies Program is based on competencies identified by direct service workers, administrative and professional staff, and individuals with disabilities and their families. The result is a set of competencies that are common to direct service work in most organizations that provide supports to people with disabilities. These competencies are reflected in the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that you will develop through your studies.
A Skills Checklist is included in each module of the Foundations program to record your development of the basic knowledge, skills, and attitudes essential for work in Community Disability Services. Your mentor/supervisor will help you apply what you are learning in your workplace and document your progress on the Skills Checklist.
Upon successful completion of all modules in the Foundations in Community Disability Studies Program, you will be awarded a Certificate in Foundations in Community Disability Studies from the Alberta Council of Disability Services (ACDS). This certificate is valuable. It shows that you have essential training for work in the field of community disability services
The Foundations in Community Disability Studies Program is recognized by disability studies and human service programs offered by many Alberta colleges. You are encouraged to include this program when applying to these colleges for a Prior Learning Assessment or for nine (9) to thirteen (13) advanced credits.