DSSFocus Study

This project was completed in 2001.

The overall objective of the DSSFocus study was to obtain an overview of experiences of the personnel who provide services to students with disabilities on college and university campuses across Canada. Specific goals included finding out about:

  1. institutional arrangements for computer related accommodations for students with disabilities on campus;
  2. institutional and external factors that help or hinder access to computer and/or adaptive computer technologies for students with disabilities; and
  3. what could be done to improve the working lives of personnel providing services with disabilities when it comes to computer related accommodations.

The difference between this study and our previous research is that the focus here was on individuals who provide services to students with disabilities at the postsecondary level. Our previous work was focused on the needs and concerns of the students themselves. Only by examining both perspectives can we get a clear understanding of the issues.

Findings

Key findings in the following areas are highlighted:

  • characteristics of these professionals;
  • their wish lists;
  • current state of campus information and instructional technologies for students with disabilities at junior/community colleges and universities;
  • important factors in meeting the computer related needs of students; and
  • the presence and technology needs of postsecondary faculty and staff with disabilities.

The results point to the necessity for better integration of adaptive computer technologies with general use computer labs on campus; to improved learning opportunities for everyone involved, including disability service providers, students, and faculty; and to the need to ensure adequate technical support for adaptive computer technologies on campus.