Date of Award:

Spring 2017

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Special Education and Rehabilitation

Department name when degree awarded

Disability Disciplines

Advisor/Chair:

Julie Smart

Abstract

The availability of online college and university courses have continued to grow, offering opportunities for education to students that may find attending in a regular classroom difficult, if not impossible. The number of students with disabilities enrolling in online courses is also growing. However, because of the mode of delivery (via computer/internet), blind and low vision college and university students can find it difficult to participate fully in an online course if it is not designed with accessibility in mind. Education is directly related to blind and low vision individuals becoming fully employed and independent. Blind and low vision college and university students who have previously taken an online course and used assistive technology devices to access the computer are aware of the issues of accessibility to online courses. The current study began by asking a group of blind and low-vision students to answer seven open-ended questions regarding their experiences accessing online courses at their college or university. The group responses generated 25 survey items and participants were asked to rate each item. Survey items were evaluated and participants were given the opportunity to re-rate their answers based on the group’s responses. The final results were evaluated and ranked in importance according to participant responses. Results were discussed along with the implications, limitations, and recommendations for future research.

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