Recently, the University’s Department of Blindness Low Vision Studies (BLVS) program successfully ran a pilot micro-credential course, Neurological Visual Impairment in Children, for professionals in blindness and low vision. It was the first of its kind for the College of Education and Rehabilitation; and it was so successful that the second-course offering will start as soon as February 4.
According to Fabiana Perla, EdD, COMS, CLVR, BLVS chair, micro-credential courses are popular in education because they are skill-based courses that specialize in an area of expertise in which students earn a digital certification. The digital badges indicate that the participant demonstrated competency and mastery in a specific skill or set of skills.
The eight-week course offers professional development to practicing Educators of Children with Visual Impairments and Orientation and Mobility specialists on best practices for serving children with neurological visual impairments and their families.
“I think it is successful because there is a significant need in the field of blindness and low vision for information and skills in this specialized area of service,” said Fabiana Perla, EdD, COMS, CLVR, BLVS chair. “The number of children with neurological visual impairments (NVI) is rapidly growing and it is considered one of the main causes of visual impairment in the United States.”
It is currently offered as a Continuing Education (CE) program, but will soon become the foundation for a graduate-level course and will be required as part of the Salus CER curriculum.
Developed more than a year ago, it incorporates direct input and materials from families of children with NVI. “We contacted several experts in this area, some of whom contributed modules and materials for it,” said Dr. Perla.
At the completion of eight weeks, participants receive special digital badges, which contains encrypted information about what skills were mastered during the online course.