Access and Barriers to Online Education for People with Disabilities
A survey conducted via Open Universities Australia (OUA) in 2014 found that OUA’s cohort of students with disability was keen to have their perspective heard regarding the online delivery of higher education.
A new research project led by Dr Mike Kent from Curtin University will see 64 of OUA’s students with disability interviewed on aspects of their online learning experience. The project will document accessibility issues raised by the students and enable universities to tailor better their online educational environments.
“Online education is a rapidly growing part of the higher education sector. When students are studying fully online, we often will not meet them in person until they graduate. In this context, it is vital that what universities offer is accessible to all,” said Dr Kent.
“The recent OUA survey revealed that while many students identify as having multiple impairments, different impairments have different impacts. For instance, people with vision impairment are far more likely to be aware of accommodation offered by different institutions while people with intellectual disability are much less likely to be aware. The student interviews will help us understand why these differences occur and what students consider best practice in terms of teaching methods and platforms.”
Dr Kent’s study is one of 12 funded through the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education’s 2015 Student Equity in Higher Education Research Grants Program. The project is scheduled to conclude in October 2015, after which time the final report will be made available here on the NCSEHE website.