FAQs - How do Perkins eLearning classes work?


Our online classes are available for continuing education, professional development, and certification credits, through a collaborate learning experience with a cohort of professionals with similar needs and interests.  Classes are co-synchronous, meaning that they can be done at any time that is convenient for the learner.

Online learning classes are not self-directed tutorials.  Our online classes provide active participation, moderated discussion, graded weekly assignments and quizzes, and most importantly, practical application of the material into your daily practice. Most of our classes are equal to graduate level online study. If you are looking for a listen-and-learn experience, we have short webinars, webcasts, and tutorial offerings at perkinselearning.org.

Who participates in classes?

Classes cover a range of topics and are appropriate for teachers, administrators, parents, service providers, and graduate students.

Who teaches the class?

Perkins eLearning classes are facilitated by leaders in the field of education for students who are blind, visually impaired, or deafblind, including those with additional disabilities. 

Previous Instructors have included Kathleen Heydt, Associate Education Director of the Lower School, Perkins School for the Blind; Marilyn H. Gense, co-author of Autism Spectrum Disorders and Visual Impairment: Meeting Students' Learning Needs; Therese Willkomm,director of ATinNH, the New Hampshire state wide assistive technology program with the Institute on Disability  and Nancy Salem-Hartshorne, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology at Delta College.

What are the costs to participate?

Costs will vary by the length of the class, and based on the type of credits offered.  You can expect to pay between $200 and $500 for a 5-8 week class. Graduate credits may be offered at a higher price. You will choose your credit type at the time of registration. Watch for early bird and combination pricing when classes are announced!

Some topics include required texts in addition to the registration fee. Read the registration materials carefully for textbook information and pricing. Perkins eLearning may suggest a source for textbooks, but you are welcome to obtain required reading from any source available to you, including your local library system.

Self-paced tutorials start at $35, and do not have additional required texts or materials. Some self-paced classes also have a non-credit price, for those who do not need professional development credits. Check the "Earn Credits" pages of Perkins eLearning for current pricelists.

How long do classes last?

Lengths will vary by class, and based on the type of credits offered.  You can expect to commit to between 5 and 8 weeks, at about 5 hours per week. While you may not have assignments due every day of an online class, you should expect to log into the course daily for news and discussion. All assignment due dates reflect the Eastern time zone and should be planned for accordingly.

How does online learning work?

Students work through the assignments and deadlines as defined in their syllabus, and are not locked into a class date, time, or place!  Interactions between class groups of diverse specialties, settings, and locations expand  the discussion far beyond the traditional campus-based experience.

We provide a free practice class which demonstrates many of the elements of a typical course.  You will find that online elearning provides a collaborative environment, where life experience is a valuable resource.

Online learning classes are not self-directed tutorials.  Our online classes provide active participation, moderated discussion, graded weekly assignments and quizzes, and most importantly, practical application of the material into your daily practice. Most of our classes are equal to graduate level online study. If you are looking for a listen-and-learn experience, we have short webinars, webcasts, and tutorial offerings at perkinselearning.org.

What is meant by “synchronous,” “asynchronous” and “co-synchronous”?

In the world of online learning, coursework is described using these terms. “Synchronous,” means all members of the class and the instructor meet together at the same time in an online meeting room.  Perkins eLearning Webinars  are an example of one type of synchronous online experience. “Asynchronous”  describes coursework where students and instructor do not meet at a specific day or time. 

Perkins eLearning online classes may occasionally feature a synchronous meeting of your class group, but are generally asynchronous to best accommodate a range of schedules and locations.  We often describe our classes as co-synchronous, meaning a group of students and an Instructor complete an online course together over a scheduled period with regular assignments—but don’t necessarily ever log on to the course at the same time.

On-site workshops held on the Perkins campus, or sponsored by Perkins, may also include an online asynchronous component. Read registration materials carefully.

Is college credit available?

Since June 2013, graduate credits have been offered through Fitchburg State University (Fitchburg, MA) for selected courses. Graduate credits are noted in registration materials where they are offered.  Undergraduate credits are not currently available; however, undergraduate students are welcome to supplement their learning by participating in Perkins eLearning coursework. 

How do I access my college credit grades?

Students earning credit through Fitchburg State University access their grades through the Registrar’s Office website

Is certification credit available?

Perkins has been approved as a professional development credit provider by the following organizations/agencies:

  • Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MA DESE)
  • The Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP)
  • The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
  • The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)

What kind of computer set-up do I need?

You must have reliable Internet service and processing speed.  Perkins cannot guarantee support of a dial-up connection, which is typically too slow to accommodate the tools and materials we provide.  For best results, a high-speed Internet connection (cable or modem) is recommended.

Personal computers, Apple products, and mobile devices are also supported. If you are reading this message, your system is sufficient. 

Keep in mind that Perkins eLearning makes significant use of multi-media presentations.  It is our expectation that you have the most current version of Microsoft Office (or equivalent software) for your system, and are prepared to work with word documents, presentation files, and spreadsheets. For best results with audio and video, a “wired” connection and an up-to-date browser are strongly encouraged.  When you register for a class, we will provide a readiness checklist for you to use to prepare your work station.

To explore the types of resources used, take our Practice Course and verify that you can work with the materials provided.

Perkins eLearning is not staffed to provide personal computer or Internet support to workshop participants.

Due to the private nature of materials and information shared during Perkins eLearning courses, we do not recommend that participants use public computers in libraries and community centers for your coursework. In additional, institutional networks may not provide full access to our course content. We recommend that you find out from your school or business network whether firewalls or other site restrictions may interfere with your accessing all of the material included, such as YouTube videos and downloadable files.

Do I need any special software?

Adobe Acrobat Reader is necessary for reading PDF files included in many classes. This software can be downloaded for free from https://get.adobe.com/reader/ .

Video content is generally presented in Flash format, also by Adobe. Visit http://adobe-flash-player.en.softonic.com/download to download the Adobe Flash Player. Microsoft Silverlight is an alternative to Flash, and is also available for free at https://www.microsoft.com/getsilverlight/Get-Started/Install/Default.aspx

Is Perkins eLearning accessible?

Perkins is committed to Universal Accessibility and insures access to its online workshops.

Our learning platform has been built and tested for accessibility. Individual online learning activities are formatted to allow individual accessibility settings, such as font size and contrast, and are screen reader compatible. To read more about the accessibility of our learning platform, click this link https://docs.moodle.org/28/en/Accessibility

Course materials are presented in accessible formats, or alternate formats made available for students who request them, according to the Perkins School “Guidelines for Outside Presenters/Consultants, " including

  1. Captioning and audio description of audio/visual aids
  2. Large print and braille-ready formats
  3. Convertible and plain text electronic formats

If you are using a screenreader, be advised that this learning platform, called Moodle, works best when using JAWS 15 and Microsoft Internet Explorer 11, or NVDA with  Firefox 27.0

Moodle does not officially support VoiceOver and Safari, though you may find you are able to move fairly well through the materials and commands.

It is our goal to serve all students; let us work with you to assure that materials are accessible to your system and your specific needs.

To explore the types of resources used, take our Practice Course.

How many classes can I take?

There is no limit to the number of classes you can take!  For your best work, we recommend attending only one class at a time.  Many of our topics are repeated throughout the year, so there will be opportunities to attend if you find a conflict.

What are Self-Paced Tutorials?

Perkins Self-Paced online tutorials are made up of video segments, readings, and assigned activities that enhance and apply your learning. Students are expected to be familiar with all material presented in the workshop, and to submit all assignments where indicated.

A structure is suggested for you through a self-paced syllabus. Plan to spend 1 week working through each module the tutorial contains. The material will have the most impact if you work steadily through the outline in the order it is presented. You may complete and submit the assignments in any order, and there is no deadline for completion.

Participants will earn professional development credits by completing the activities and quizzes. All assignments are required in order to receive education credits. If you do not require education credits, you may register at a reduced "no credits" rate.

When we have received your registration, you will be enrolled in the tutorial and notified with your username and login. Perkins eLearning profiles are unique to the learning platform, and separate from any other username/password you have with Perkins. If you already have an eLearning profile, you will see the title of your tutorial appear under “My Workshops” when you login to workshops.perkinselearning.org.

All submitted material is reviewed by a member of the Perkins eLearning staff and is evaluated as having met the assignment requirements. Assignments are not individually evaluated or graded. Submitted assignments are not returned.

Assignments and assessments are evaluated on a Pass/Fail scale, and all requirements must be met to receive credits.

What is your withdrawal/refund policy?

Perkins reserves the right to cancel a class or other offering due to insufficient enrollment or scheduling difficulty. In the event that a class is canceled, registered participants will be notified within 14 days of the scheduled start date. All fees paid by the participants will be refunded in full. Once a class has begun, it is the facilitator’s responsibility to notify participants of any changes to the established schedule or syllabus.

In the event that a participant elects to withdraw from a class for any reason, fees may be refundable according to the following schedule

  1. Withdrawal within the first 1/2 of the workshop dates – 50% refund on fees to Perkins eLearning
  2. Withdrawal after 50% of the workshop dates have passed – no refund available
  3. Graduate level registration includes fees paid to Fitchburg State University which are non-refundable.  These fees are paid to the University before the course begins and can not be returned by Perkins. Visit the Fitchburg State website for more information about their refund procedures.
  4. All sales on self-paced workshops are final.

Participants must notify the facilitator in writing (print or electronic mail) that they are withdrawing from a class upon a stated effective date. Discontinuing participation is not considered a formal withdrawal from the workshop, and no fees with be refunded.

A participant who requests a refund due to dissatisfaction with the course must submit their request to the Educational Resources Manager of the Perkins Training and Educational Resources Program.

Perkins eLearning commits to defining these policies in all course promotion, registration, and confirmation materials.

What is your privacy policy?

Within each course, Instructors and participants will set expectations for confidentiality, “netiquette,” and the use of personal information.  As a participant, you are bound by the confidentiality agreements of your institution or practice, and Perkins waives any responsibility for the privacy of client/student information which you disclose.

Perkins will maintain for 7 years records for all participants in professional development activities (online and in person training) by keeping a file of sign in sheets (for in person training) and maintaining a database of participants for each training.

Perkins will maintain the electronic records securely by ensuring that password protection is in place. Paper records will be stored in a locked area. Only the staff involved in the production of professional development activities will be able to access these records. Persons interested in obtaining information related to his/her training records will need to contact the designated administrator.

Persons interested in seeking information related to his/her training records must contact the designated administrator and provide specific information regarding what information is being sought (training, date, presenter, etc.)

How can I provide feedback to Perkins eLearning?

Perkins will utilize learner feedback and evaluations to assess participants’ perceived satisfaction with, and value of, professional development activities provided. As a record of the activity, Perkins will secure records by ensuring that file storage is secured. Only the staff involved in the production of professional development activities will be able to access these records.

  1. Participant feedback will be surveyed at the close of a activity
  2. Participants will be asked to rank their satisfaction with the activity and enter comments
  3. Feedback may be anonymous
  4. Surveys will be available in accessible formats upon advance request
  5. Compiled feedback will be shared with activity presenters


For feedback on our website, course listings, or these FAQs, please contact us through email at perkins.elearning@perkins.org

Last modified: Thursday, 10 March 2016, 11:12 AM