Increasing access to more students is a common reason given for providing instruction in a distance learning format. However, these access arguments usually focus on people separated by distance and time and rarely include consideration of students with disabilities. In fact, the design of many distance learning courses erect barriers to the full participation of students and instructors with some types of disabilities. Assuring that individuals with disabilities can participate in distance learning courses can be argued on ethical grounds. Many people simply consider it to be the right thing to do. Others are more responsive to legal mandates.
Volume VIII Number 1, January 2002
A Survey of Online Instructional Issues And Strategies For Postsecondary Students With Learning Disabilities
This paper addresses a gap in the education literature concerning issues and considerations relevant to engaging in online instruction with adult learners who have learning disabilities. Contained within are a brief background survey of the context in which online instruction has become popular; a comparison of online versus traditional pedagogy techniques, and a discussion of some of the popular technology used in postsecondary institutions to deliver online learning. Finally, the authors describe how aspects of online learning impact students with learning disabilities, and offer suggestions for instructional strategies and appropriate accommodations and modifications.
The use of information technology in education is proliferating throughout the world, both in traditional classroom environments and in distance education using the World Wide Web. It is assumed that new technology enhances opportunities for disabled students in higher education. Adequate research data are, however, needed to assess the effectiveness of technology for enhancing learning and to demonstrate how people who have been marginalized by social, economic, and physical situations best use the technology.
As students enter my online classroom on inclusion, I ask them to introduce themselves, sharing their current positions, teaching experience, whether they have taken other online courses, and any experiences they may have had with individuals with disabilities. The biggest challenge for me is whether or not to tell my students at the onset that I have cerebral palsy.
Much has been written about how to deliver online course materials to visually-impaired students. This essay explores the methods by which an online support staff may assist a visually-impaired faculty member to teach online, with special emphasis on identifying which strategies for assisting visually-impaired students are transferable to the process of assisting visually-impaired faculty, as well as identifying areas of concern specific to helping a visually-impaired faculty member to prepare and to teach an online course. This essay follows a narrative of the difficulties encountered when the author was assigned to help a visually-disabled faculty member to develop and to teach an online course.