Distance education initiatives and their early 21st century role in the lives of people with disabilities

N. William Myhill, Deepti Samant, David Klein, Shelley Kaplan, María Verónica Reina, Peter Blanck

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter


Technological advancement has broadened educational, employment and training opportunities for students and adults with disabilities via distance education. Distance education is a prized tool of K-12 and higher education, and for vocational training and research. Advancing knowledge of accessible technology and universal design concepts have coincided with the distance education movement, and with a federal mandate for accessible technology under Section 508 of the amended Rehabilitation Act. However, studies of website accessibility and universal applications designed to deliver online learning question whether these tools permit equal and effective participation by people with varying disabilities. Other studies of accessible virtual knowledge communities suggest needed improvements to advance the inclusion of people with disabilities in online collaborative research and training initiatives. This chapter explores the implications of the growing distance education movement for people with disabilities. First, we review the breadth of distance learning initiatives and their benefits and challenges for learners with disabilities. Second, we discuss applicable learning theory and practice, and the relevant mandates of U.S. disability laws. Third, we evaluate likely compliance on distance learning activities with disability law and propose best practices to support distance education programs for equal access and opportunity in employment, education, and other areas by the widest number and variety of people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDistance Education
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages40
ISBN (Print)9781617610431
StatePublished - Apr 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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