Learning Technologies and Students with Disabilities in Postsecondary Education

Status: Completed Projects
Year: 1999
This Project was completed in 1999

This nation-wide, grant funded bilingual research is the largest empirically-based study of its kind in Canada. The research was divided into three phases: focus groups, telephone interviews, and a mailed questionnaire. More than 800 individuals participated, most of them postsecondary students with various disabilities.

The goal of our focus groups was to get a sense of some of the broad notions and issues regarding computer technologies and postsecondary students with disabilities. Focus groups included students with disabilities as well as disability service providers.

Structured telephone interviews were used to explore some of the issues in greater depth. Interviews were carried out with students with disabilities as well as with postsecondary disability service providers from all provinces and territories. They came from colleges, universities, and distance education institutions. We gathered data on such issues as: training, advantages and disadvantages of using computer technologies, and the types of technologies available for students with specific disabilities on campus.

The goal in our questionnaire phase was to conduct a cross-Canada study of the views of students with disabilities about computer, information and adaptive computer technologies. This involved distribution of questionnaires in both English and French at over 200 college and university campuses. Questionnaires were provided in a variety of alternate formats. We received over 700 responses from across the country. Some issues addressed included: types of computer and adaptive technologies students currently use or wish they were using, the degree of computer access available at school, and views about current government programs and manufacturers who provide equipment.

To inform students and others about what technologies are currently available we complied a resource booklet about computer and adaptive computer technologies mentioned by the research participants.