[Athen] FW: Understanding disabled students experiences of technology and e-learning at university

Ron Stewart ron at ahead.org
Thu Feb 11 10:23:53 PST 2010

Interesting project in the UK.

Ron Stewart

-----Original Message-----
From: Discussion list for disabled students and their support staff.
[mailto:DIS-FORUM at JISCMAIL.AC.UK] On Behalf Of Seale J.K.
Sent: Thursday, February 11, 2010 1:07 PM
Subject: Understanding disabled students experiences of technology and
e-learning at university

Dear Colleagues

We are writing to remind you about the outcomes of JISC funded project
called LEXDIS which used participatory methods to explore disabled students
use and experiences of technologies and e-learning at university.

The key findings of the project were that although many disabled students
are skilled and confident users of technologies, they can find themselves
having to make sophisticated and complex decisions about how they use
technologies to support their learning. Several factors influence this
decision-making, most notably the timeliness of support. In making these
decisions, disabled learners frequently find themselves conducting a
cost-benefit analysis, and sometimes have to negotiate unenviable

One key outcome of the project is a website, which several of the student
participants helped to design and develop, which uses information about the
strategies disabled students employ when using technologies, drawn from the
student stories and case studies, to provide advice and guidance to
lecturers and others working in higher education. This can be viewed at:

Six key recommendations were drawn out from the results from the LEXDIS that
can inform the practice of lecturers, support staff and learning
technologists within Higher Education Institutions. The majority of these
recommendations are based around recognition of where difficulties lie for
disabled students:

1.Improve and increase the availability of desktop personalisation across
institutional networks: so that students can log in with their own colour,
font and accessibility options.
2.Increase the level of provision for online material
3.Raise awareness and understanding for all those staff concerned with
implementing and using Virtual Learning Environments regarding accessibility
issues caused by cross- course differences and inconsistencies
4.Increase the level of awareness for the use of alternative formats:
5.Be prepared to recognise the digital literacy skills that many disabled
students have
6.Design and develop learning opportunities and support systems that
recognise the significant factors that influence disabled students use of
technology, notably time:

Full project reports on the participatory methods used to capture and
represent the voices of disabled students and the results obtained can be
found at: http://www.lexdis.org/project/reports

We would be happy to talk with you further about the implications of the
findings from the project for future policy, practice or research.

If you would like a hard copy of the report(s) please feel free to contact
Jane Seale at: J.K.Seale at soton.ac.uk

Yours sincerely

Dr Jane Seale, EA Draffan and Mike Wald

Jane K Seale Phd, 02380 594784. J.K.Seale at soton.ac.uk
Director of Research Degrees, School of Education
Head of Social Justice & Inclusion Research Centre
Convenor of TLRP Digital Inclusion Forum:
Co-director of National centre for Research Methods:
* Subscribe to the monthly Research Methods Ebulletin
Co-editor of new Routledge book:
http://preview.tinyurl.com/mqewo4 "Understanding and promoting access for
with learning
difficulties: seeing the opportunities and challenges of risk".

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