Accommodating disability students in online courses
For instance, if it is more feasible for you to reply to your professor or classmates with an audio file than a typed response, this is usually possible in an online course.
Additionally, online classes typically make more use of assignments and activities built upon one another to result in a large project by the end of the term/semester (a system known as "scaffolding), which provides more flexibility and freedom for managing your time to work on the big project.
They also enable adaptive learning techniques, which allow students to complete activities and meet course objectives largely at their own pace and ability level.
For example, in a composition class, students may be required to complete a grammar diagnostic by the end of the term.
In an online class, for example, a reading assignment may already be available in regular text (e.g., as a file) and as an audio file (e.g., MP3).
This automatically gives all students the flexibility of reading or hearing the information, saving it for use with assistive learning software like Zoom Text, reviewing the file as often as needed, and converting it into study notes.
This is especially helpful for students who may require additional time to complete assignments.
In a personal interview, Nancy Dimitri, a retired federal government employee who is hearing impaired, shared that she enjoyed the UDL options computer-based training gave her during her employment.
Although every student should carefully weigh the benefits and considerations of online learning, web-based courses can offer disabled students some additional perks, most notably the convenience and flexibility to accommodate individual needs. According to a recent study conducted by the Disability and Information Technologies (Dis-IT) Research Alliance, 49 million Americans (or 16% of the overall population) identify themselves as disabled; the most commonly reported disabilities included learning disabilities (42% of respondents), mobility impairments (23%), ADD or ADHD (20%), psychological or psychiatric conditions (16%), and health- and medical-related impairments (15%). The number of Americans with little or no previous employment who filed disability claims has risen nearly 30% over the last decade, while the number of disability claimants who have held steady careers rose 44% during the same period.Likewise, other daily incidental costs like food and clothing may be reduced; tax deductions may be available that can offset the cost of any needed home accommodations.In addition to the convenience, online learning offers students with disabilities some benefits in terms of flexibility that may not be as readily available in a F2F delivery format.She mentioned the class contained captions and a test that allowed her to measure her progress.She added that she also enjoyed the "ability to print out what was taught and said online." Prior to this, disabled employees had to rely on reading handbooks and the kindness of others for learning.