Opening up Education Through Academic Support for Students with Disabilities

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Date
2019-09
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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)
Abstract

Open Distance Learning (ODL) universities are required to make policy provisions for students with disabilities (SwDs) to have full benefit of open access to higher education. Despite access to further education being a Constitutional imperative in South Africa, some programmes offered in ODL institutions are structured in a manner that disregard SwDs. This paper explores the experiences of ODL academic staff on dealing with the learning needs of SwDs. The qualitative study was conducted using in-depth and telephonic interviews. The results gathered indicate non-disability sensitive learning material and environments as hindering academic accessibility for SwDs. The ODL nature of learning requires the technological environment to be accessible, but, on the contrary, the study revealed that SwDs are unable to fully learn online due to technological barriers. The paper goes further to recommend inclusive approaches that can be employed to open education for SwDs. // Paper ID 222

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Open and Distance Learning (ODL),Higher Education,Disabilities,Student Support Services
Country
South Africa
Region
Africa
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