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The PLUS Program Services

The PLUS Program is unique in the level of services available to the qualified disabled student. Unlike support programs at some other institutions, the PLUS Program does not use peer tutors; services are delivered by a professional staff of learning consultants. PLUS Program services emphasize content-based learning strategies instruction and content tutorial support in individual sessions or small groups. The Program does not provide remedial or developmental instruction.

Muskingum University's PLUS Program provides three levels of academic support to qualified students admitted into the program: Full-service, Maintenance, and Independence. Students are encouraged, but not required, to progress through these support levels during the course of their academic careers at Muskingum.

Full-service PLUS students receive a minimum of one hour per class of individual or small group contact time with support staff. Students may opt to meet for one hour session per week or for two half-hour sessions per week with each learning consultant. Depending on the number of classes in which PLUS students are enrolled, PLUS participants average three to five hours of professional contact per week. In addition, learning consultants may offer additional group sessions for exam preparation. Other services provided to Full-service PLUS participants include paper proofing, time management strategies and parent contacts, as indicated. All students entering the PLUS Program are required to begin at the Full-service level of participation. Muskingum University has established a fee to participate in the PLUS Program, and this fee is based entirely upon tutorial services provided.

Upon achieving academic success, PLUS students may modify their Full-service status to Maintenance services, for which there is a reduced fee corresponding to reduced tutorial support. Maintenance-level PLUS students receive a mininum of one-half hour of tutoring per week for each course. Flexible tutoring arrangements are available; for example, Maintenance students may opt to forego tutoring in one course and apply that time to tutorial support in another course. Other services provided to Maintenance PLUS participants at no charge include paper proofing, time management strategies, review sessions, and testing accommodations.

Some PLUS students move to the Independence level of service later in their academic careers at Muskingum. Achievement of complete independence from PLUS Program tutorial support exemplifies an important goal of the Program, which is to encourage individual responsibility for learning and attribution of academic success to individual effort. Independent disabled students may still request reasonable accommodations, aids, and services through the Center for Advancement of Learning, but fee-based tutorial support is excluded.

For a more detailed comparison of services and fees for the three levels of PLUS Program support, refer to the Fees and Services Table.

Tutorial support is provided to PLUS students who request it during summer sessions at Muskingum University. During summer school, students are charged on an hourly basis for tutorial services. Non-tutorial services, like exam accommodations, are free of charge for PLUS students requesting such services during summer school.

PLUS Program individual and small group tutorial sessions focus on content-based learning strategy instruction as well as assistance with course content. Strategy instruction offered by support staff can impact the full range of student learning. Strategies provide a carefully sequenced plan of student behaviors designed to result in successful task completion and learning (Naour and Torello, 1991). Effective strategy use involves not only knowledge about the particular strategy, but also when to use the strategy, how to monitor its use, and how to mediate the complex interaction among the three (Pressley and Levin, 1987). Instruction in learning strategies empowers the learner to become efficient and effective. Harris and Pressley (1991) have emphasized the objective of strategy instruction directed towards developing students' abilities to become self-regulated learners.

All students with disabilities, whether in the PLUS Program or not, have certain rights under federal law. Accommodations are provided at no charge and will be coordinated through the Center for Advancement of Learning. Accommodations for testing may include extended time, a tutor-proctored testing area away from the regular class, and a reader or scribe. Technical support for all PLUS Program students, regardless of the level of support, includes computers, Program tape recorders, taped course readings and textbooks on tape.

For Additional Information about the PLUS Program

Additional information may be obtained from the PLUS Program by phone at 740-826-8280, by e-mail at ethenry@muskingum.edu, or by mail at Walter Hall, Muskingum University, New Concord, Ohio 43762-1199.

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