2003 Conference Proceedings

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Janice Philpot, M.Ed., C.A.S.
Assistant Professor,
Director, Balfour Urban Scholars Program
Lesley University
29 Everett Street
White Hall #5
Cambridge, MA 02138-2790
Phone: (617) 349-8410 or 1-800-999-1959 ext 8410
Fax: (617) 349-8169
Email: jphilpot@mail.lesley.edu

The movement continues in post secondary educational environments to promote, develop, and offer courses in online formats (e.g. enhanced, hybrid). As this trend continues it is important to consider how the evolution and transformation of these courses occur. Faculty and instructors are faced with the responsibility and challenge of transforming courses formerly offered in a face-to-face format into online formats. This task oftentimes requires faculty and instructors to learn and apply various technologies. In the push to develop online courses, accommodations for students with disabilities are often overlooked. This is not so much from lack of interest, but lack of resources and awareness offered to faculty and instructors. It is necessary to inform, educate and instruct faculty and instructors in how to use the tools, strategies and principals of assitive technology in the transformation of face-to face courses into online formats. A conscious awareness by faculty of assitive technology during the initial design and transformation of courses will enrich and continue the movement of accessibility for individuals with disabilities in post secondary education and enrich education for all learners.

A research project entitled "Online Course Accommodations and Supports for Students with Disabilities" was conducted in the spring 2002 through the Center for Academic Technology , Faculty Fellowship Program (http://www.lesley.edu/academic centers/cat/index.html) at Lesley University. Applied research was conducted during the faculty fellowship to identify strategies and methodologies in which faculty and instructors can use to modify courses and accommodate post secondary individuals with disabilities enrolled in online formats.

The goals of the research project were:

The overall objectives of the research project were:

The following research methodology was used and outcomes developed:

Interviews were conducted with faculty and instructors across the schools and divisions at Lesley University to determine the current information available and utilized in addressing individuals with disabilities in online formats.

The results of the research produced vital demographic data indicating, school/division affiliation, faculty and instructor's position, primary computer platform, number of courses taught in online formats, number of students with disabilities enrolled in online formats, and accommodations currently utilized by faculty and instructors.

This type of demographic data was necessary because of the following reasons:

In addition, recommendations emerged such as establishing a statement and standard for the role of technology, application of universal design theory and "smart" classrooms . Also, the research produced a series of potential accommodations such as flexibility and peer evaluation that may be useful in varies domains (e.g. lectures, group participation).

Based on this research a series of next steps towards the goal of implementing techniques and methods to integrate assitive technology in online formats and provide accommodations for individuals with disabilities enrolled in online formats was developed. These steps and accommodations will be presented to assist faculty and instructors in beginning and/or continuing the practical application of applying assitive technology into online formats. Participants will leave the session with techniques for immediate implementation in addition to an understanding of how to create a similar study/research agenda at their home institution.

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