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What we do have are a very particular set of skills…

It’s all very well being open-access, but what if you’ve never studied before? With distance learning you can’t turn up at an office and ask for help. Well, you can, but Barnsley is a bit of a trek for most of our students. So what can you do when you need a (virtual) cup of tea and someone to help you make sense of it all?
Just because you’re opting for distance learning study doesn’t mean you’re left on your own to figure things out.
OCA’s Learner Support Team has a number of strings to its bow. A small but perfectly formed team, Lia, Gemma and Xhenifa offer a wide range of support services. By day we’re helping students, by night we’re… probably regretting starting Elf on the Shelf this year actually, but the point is, not all heroes wear capes.
Our superpowers include helping students with disabilities to access additional support via Disabled Students Allowance, right through to working with students to plan and schedule their studies. Sometimes we’re simply there with the pom poms to give you some moral support and a boost in getting back on track after a blip.
On an average morning we might help students with their reflective writing, work with students on their assessment preparations, support someone back to studies after a break due to health and if we’re lucky, squeeze in time for a hot drink!
The team also helps students to access OCA bursaries to help with the costs of fees.
When we’re not talking to students, we champion accessibility across all areas of the college, and ensure staff and tutors know we’re here. We’ve recently undertaken Mental Health First Aid training, and mental wellbeing is a particular focus for us with a lot of our distance learning support falling into this realm.
Clearly you’ll be in good hands if you need to access Learner Support. Unless you need help with DIY actually…not so good at that!
This has been our eleventh day of #accessoca, join us again tomorrow.

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Posted by author: Lia Harness
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2 thoughts on “What we do have are a very particular set of skills…

  • Dear Lia,
    Thank you for your description of your student support above. The OCA looks great! I’d love to be part of it!
    I am a service user at a mental health writers group and I asked the writer-leader if there is any way I could take my skills and enjoyment further to work towards a goal. She told me of the OCA.
    I have a mental health condition and interested in the bursary possibility. The costs of the course had been putting me off.
    S.

    • Hi Sally – thanks for getting in touch, and lovely to hear your writer-leader suggesting us. I will email you some information and we can start there!

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