Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)

Program

Educational Leadership

Date of Award

12-2004

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Russell F. West

Committee Members

Jasmine R. Renner, Nancy Dishner, Rhona Cummings

Abstract

The purpose of this study will be to identify important factors that should be considered by faculty members at selected public institutions of higher education as they plan, design, develop, implement, and evaluate Internet-based courses, in order to make the courses responsive to the needs of students with disabilities. In addition, the study will explore perceptions of students with disabilities in terms of Internet-based courses offered at their institutions. A total of 17 faculty developers/teachers and 7 students with disabilities were interviewed. Qualitative methodology was used to analyze the data.

The significance of this study lies within the legal and ethical obligations of public educational institutions. The growing population of students with disabilities identifies an area in which institutions must become familiar and be able to provide reasonable accommodations.

Findings from this research indicate that: (1) students with disabilities are not enrolling in Internet courses in the same proportion as students without disabilities; (2) with few exceptions, students with disabilities need the same skills, abilities, and knowledge as other students to be successful in an online course; (3) certain appealing characteristics of online classes are consistent in the perceptions of faculty and the students with disabilities; and (4) audio components are the most commonly desired or requested item for enhancing the accommodations for students with disabilities.

Several conclusions were determined from the interviews: (1) faculty awareness of students with disabilities needs to be addressed and increased; (2) faculty taking online courses are better able to understand the students' perspectives; (3) a student's personality is the determining factor in their success of an online course; (4) concerns with RODP problems should be investigated; and (5) certification of online courses should be advocated and required by administration.

The results of this study will allow universities to better understand the needs of their students with disabilities, and the support and resources faculty will need to better accommodate those students in Internet courses.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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