The Transition Online: A Mixed-Methods Study of the Impact of COVID-19 on Students with Disabilities in Higher Education
Journal titleInternational Journal of Higher Education
Publication Begin page13
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AbstractFollowing the World Health Organization’s announcement of the global pandemic because of the Coronavirus Disease 2019, most Canadian universities transitioned to offering their courses exclusively online. One group affected by this transition was students with disabilities. Previous research has shown that the university experience for students with disabilities differs from those of their non-disabled peers. However, their unique needs are often not taken into consideration. As a result, students can become marginalized and alienated from the online classroom. In partnership with Student Accessibility Services, this research revealed the impact of the transition to online learning because of the pandemic for university students with disabilities. Students registered with Student Accessibility Services completed a survey about the effects of online learning during a pandemic on the students’ lives, education, and instructional and accommodation. It was clear from the results that online education during COVID-19 affected all aspects of the students’ lives, particularly to their mental health. This research provided a much-needed opportunity for students with disabilities to share the factors influencing their educational experience and identified recommendations instructors should consider when developing online courses to increase accessibility and improve engagement.
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