Expectations for success: Auditing opportunities for students with print disabilities to fully engage in online learning environments in higher education

Keywords: online learning, equitable access, print disability, inclusion, connectiveness

Abstract

The rapid digitalisation of learning has had demonstrable impacts on access to education for students with a print disability. In higher education contexts, learning management systems (LMS) have become the predominant method for distributing content. This conceptual article addresses how students with print disabilities such as vision impairment, blindness, dyslexia, and visual fatigue experience their education through online engagement. Using Redmond et al.’s (2018) online engagement framework for higher education, the authors analyse the cognitive, social, emotional, behavioural, and collaborative needs and expectations of these learners. This article provides a contemporary picture of the barriers students with print disabilities currently encounter and the possibilities for access available through the use of accessible and assistive technologies. Recommendations for equitable access, including a range of actionable strategies, are provided to assist teacher educators, higher education providers, higher education disability support advisors, and LMS designers.

Implications for practice or policy:

  • Barriers to equitable engagement in education experienced by students with print disabilities can be overcome by utilising the detailed recommendations in the audit tool developed by the authors.
  • Higher education providers should consider the recommendations in this article to ensure they meet legislative requirements for inclusion and that students with print disabilities achieve social, academic, and emotional connectiveness in their education.

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Published
2021-04-10
How to Cite
Cain, M., & Fanshawe, M. (2021). Expectations for success: Auditing opportunities for students with print disabilities to fully engage in online learning environments in higher education. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 37(3), 137-151. https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.6449